Frequently asked questions

In California, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or a combination of drugs and alcohol is criminalized behavior addressed in Vehicle Code sections 23152(a) through (g), 23153, 23154, and other statutes.  While driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal, so are other related behaviors, such as refusing to complete a chemical test, and driving with any alcohol in your system if you are under 21 years of age or if on DUI probation.

There are a lot of technical and legal issues that can arise in a DUI or related case. Issues concerning the reliability and accuracy of a breath machine, breath test result or blood test can arise if the equipment is not properly maintained, if the police officer or technician does not properly administer a chemical test or maintain the machine, if the blood is not properly stored, or if the officer or blood drawer lacks proper training.  In some DUI cases, legal issues arise due to constitutional violations, lack of voluntariness, health issues, and more.

The minimum and maximum sentence for a DUI is dictated by statute but an accused’s actual sentence, if convicted, will depend upon the facts of the case, a person’s prior criminal record, the specific charge, the strength or weakness of the evidence and other factors.  The level of rapport your attorney has with the prosecutor and judge can also play a role.  Ultimately, in a Dui or any criminal case, an accused will either have their charges dismissed by motion, or lack of evidence, or the case will resolve with either a negotiated disposition (a plea deal) or a jury or court trial. A good DUI lawyer will know what constitutional and other legal issues apply, and ultimately whether a trial or plea is in the best interest for the client.  It is never recommended to show up to court without a lawyer and plead guilty. Even if you feel the prosecutor has a strong case, that does not mean a conviction is inevitable!

“I will carefully evaluate your DUI case and pursue every possible avenue of defense.” Ann Gottesman, Attorney at Law 

Despite some recent improvements in California law when it comes to drug crimes and the incarceration of non-violent drug offenders, many good people who contribute to their community will find themselves facing a drug charge for possessing a controlled substance or narcotic or possessing such drugs for sale.  Some of the most common drug charges filed in the Los Angeles Superior courts include Health and Safety Code sections 11350 (possessing a controlled substance), HS 11351 (possessing narcotics for sale), HS 11352 (transporting or selling a controlled substance), HS 11377 (possessing methamphetamine) and 11364 (possessing drug paraphernalia). 

Sometimes cops engage in sting operations where they pretend to be a buyer or seller of drugs. Officers actually pretend to participate in, or create the crime, and then they arrest the unfortunate person who engaged with the officer. Other times officers cut corners in the law and find drugs or paraphernalia by executing an illegal search and seizure.  This can arise when an officer lacks probable cause, doesn’t have a warrant or obtains information leading to the location of contraband by violating an accused’s constitutional rights.  Often times, an accused will be found with drugs for personal use but an officer will incorrectly assert that the drugs were possessed for sale due to the amount of drugs and/or the fact that the accused had a scale.  Cops sometimes fail to acknowledge that an addict will oftentimes purchase a larger amount of a controlled substance for personal use (so as to avoid the inconvenience and danger of buying drugs everyday) and will bring a scale to measure the weight of the drug to ensure he or she is not being cheated.  Having a scale and possessing a larger amount of a drug does not necessarily mean the drugs were purchased to sell.  A good lawyer will investigate possible defenses such as entrapment, unconstitutional search and seizure, wrong identity, etc….

Many people are not aware that in California many misdemeanors and felony convictions can be dismissed under Penal Code section 1203.4 after probation has ended.  Having to report old or recent criminal convictions can be devastating when you are searching for employment. While not all convictions can be dismissed, many can! If you successfully completed probation, did not serve a prison sentence (jail sentence one year or less is not the same as a prison sentence), you are not now currently on probation or charged with any other offense, and your charge is not listed as one of the exceptions in PC 1203.4, then chances are you are eligible to petition the court to withdraw your plea of guilty or no-contest, re-impose a not guilty plea, and dismiss your conviction.

If you completed probation with no violations, you may be eligible for what is called a “mandatory” grant of your Petition to Dismiss.  This means the judge has no discretion to deny your request, and he or she must dismiss your conviction. In other cases, a judge may have discretion, but a good lawyer may be able to persuade the judge that you are reformed, unlikely to re-offend and that the interests of justice would be served by dismissing your case. A dismissal under Penal Code section 1203.4 will not restore gun rights or necessarily impact your immigration status in the United States, but usually a dismissal of your conviction does have a positive effect on one’s career, job search, and reputation.

Most of the time, people arrested for theft related offense such as shoplifting, petty theft, grand theft, receiving stolen property and check fraud, are kind, conscientious people who made a terrible mistake or experienced a lack of judgement. Of course, sometimes police arrest the wrong person or witnesses mis-interpreted what they saw. While many theft offenses involving property valued at $950 or less is filed as a misdemeanor, a conviction for a misdemeanor theft crime can have devastating effects one one’s professional career.  This is because a theft related offense is considered a “crime of moral turpitude”. A person with a real estate license, nursing license, mortgage broker’s license, contractor’s license, etc., or someone who is applying for such a license is in danger of facing an administrative hearing where the Licensing Board will determine if the licensee can keep his or her license or if an applicant will be approved for such a license. Many times, depending upon the facts of the case, and the accused’s criminal history, a good attorney can convince the prosecutor or District Attorney to reduce the charge or dismiss it altogether with an offer of formal or informal diversion. The judge also has the power to offer certain types of diversion such as military or mental health diversion. After proposition 47 passed in 2014, many theft crimes, such as allthefts of another’s property worth $950 or less can now only be filed as a misdemeanor.

Since every case is so different, it is always wise to contact a good criminal defense lawyer to see what options may be available to you.  Attorney Ann Gottesman has successfully represented many clients facing theft charges and is happy to provide you with a free and confidential consultation.

Have You or a Loved One Been Charged of a Crime? Contact Ann For a Free Consultation.

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For the past twelve years I have helped over a thousand clients get through one of the darkest times in their life. Being criminally accused affects a person’s livelihood, reputation, family, and sometimes one’s freedom. I appreciate the kind words many of my clients felt comfortable posting publicly online. Please visit my Yelp, Google and AVVO pages to see what my previous clients thought about my service.

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Contact Pasadena Criminal & DUI Lawyer Ann Gottesman

Ann Gottesman has dedicated herself to providing personal attention and strong legal guidance to her clients. When your freedom, job, reputation and sanity are at stake, call Ann for a free and absolutely confidential consultation regarding your case at 626-710-4021.