Differences Between a Felony, Misdemeanor and Infraction in the California Court System

In this article, I will discuss what are some of the differences between a Felony case, a Misdemeanor case, and an Infraction in the California court system. First, every crime in California (regardless of whether it is a drug crime, property crime, sex crime, traffic crime, violent crime, or an alcohol crime) will be charged as either a Felony, a Misdemeanor, or an Infraction.

Infractions

An Infraction is the least serious of the three types of cases as there is no potential for the accused to be incarcerated. In other words, even if you lose the case, the worst thing that could happen would not require that you spend time in either the county jail or state prison. The typical penalty for an infraction (other than the inconvenience of having to contest one) is a fine. However, some infractions are more serious than others because they can involve a much larger fine. In addition, some infractions can result in other penalties that you may find to be more important than a fine, such as having your driver’s license suspended or revoked by either the court judge or the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Hiring an attorney to represent you for an infraction might sound to the uneducated like overkill, but an effective attorney could mean the difference between you losing your license and paying hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars versus paying a much-reduced fine and keeping your license. If the officer who cited you for the infraction made errors in his investigative procedure, an effective attorney may even be able to get your case dismissed.

Misdemeanors

A Misdemeanor is more serious than an Infraction because a misdemeanor does involve the potential for the accused to be incarcerated. In addition to the fines and other potential penalties discussed above, being found guilty of a misdemeanor may require you to spend up to a maximum of six months to one year in the County Jail for each count alleged. In addition, misdemeanors are considered crimes and will create a criminal record for anyone who is found guilty. Having a criminal record can seriously impact your ability to apply for schools, get a job, or obtain loans.

Because the stakes are higher than an infraction, if you are accused of a misdemeanor, you will have the right to a trial by jury. An effective attorney will know what factors can change the outcome of a jury trial and make a difference between being found “NOT GUILTY” versus being sentenced to the County Jail. An effective attorney will also know the law as it applies to your case, and be able to identify weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case to obtain a favorable outcome.

Felonies

A Felony is the most serious type of crime, and range in seriousness from some charges that may be reduced to misdemeanors to other charges that are punishable by death. Some serious or violent felonies in California are considered “Strike Felonies,” and may result in the accused being sentenced to life in prison and not be eligible for parole for at least 25 years. Felonies are typically punishable by serving a term in a California State Prison, which are thought by many to be a much less-pleasant place to serve one’s sentence than the County Jail.

Felonies are much more complex than misdemeanors for a number of reasons. One example is that a felony case requires that the prosecutor prove “probable cause” of the accused’s guilt before the case can proceed to a jury trial. If the prosecution cannot convince the judge that there is “probable cause” that you committed the crime(s) alleged, the judge will dismiss your felony case. On the other hand, much of what is said and brought into evidence at the “probable cause” hearing may be admissible as evidence at your jury trial. Thus, being represented by an effective attorney at an early stage of your felony case will make a difference. An effective attorney will know what legal defenses and trial strategies to bring into play at your “probable cause” hearing and what to hold back and apply at your jury trial. An effective attorney will also know the most effective methods to attain a favorable outcome, by negotiating a desirable settlement with the prosecution or securing the strongest possible defenses at your trial.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/5648272

California Court Records Lookup

Court records in California are actually some of the most accessible records that you can find in the entire United States. This is fortunate, but if you want to find the various court dockets, case information and reliable sentencing details, you need to be sure you know where to look and what information you’re going to receive. This tutorial is going to show you exactly how to find the online court records you require from the Californian courts system.

There are currently two ways you can locate someone’s court listings from the Internet. You can either click onto the state-run courts websites and find their “search” facility to find the records you need, or you can use a commercial service which charges a small fee to locate the information you require. Both of these methods work very well, except you will generally find a series of lesser quality results from the manual state-run lookup. Needless to say, I’m going to show you both methods to give you the best choice.

The first method to locate Californian court listings is to use the various online websites that are operated by the state. We’re fortunate in California because this state has a large number of government agencies which have integrated their online presence seamlessly with their actual real presence. In simple terms, this means that you can now search the court records in California by first looking at this site:

California Courts Website (allows you to find out court records for CA)

This search should bring up the main court website for your county, where you’ll then be able to browse through the various records stored in that site with their in-built search facility. Although this is generally free, the fact is that it takes a long time and the records you receive can be unreliable & ineffective.

If you want to be able to locate the information you require in the fastest way possible, you should use what’s known as a “professional” courts lookup website. These types of sites are privately run ventures, but are the most effective, popular and reliable to locate the likes of court records. To use them, you basically need to log onto one of these sites (there are a few really good ones), type the name and state of who you want to look up, and then it will bring up all the information you need. For a small fee (typically $25), the site will show you the entire background report for the person you want – allowing you to quickly find out their court records, and other important information.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/5002548

Muthambi tells MPs she objected to Hlaudi getting top SABC job

Communications Minister Faith Muthambi says she recently objected to an SABC board recommendation to appoint Hlaudi Motsoeneng as permanent chief operating officer as it would have been in contempt of court.
Muthambi tells MPs she objected to Hlaudi getting top SABC jobMuthambi told a Parliamentary inquiry into the SABC crisis on Wednesday that while she initially supported Motsoeneng’s appointment in 2014, she backtracked after the courts clarified that the public protector’s recommendations were binding.

“Nobody mentioned that recently in the meeting in October 2016 I refused to appoint Motsoeneng as acting chief operating officer because it would have been in contempt of court following the [Supreme Court of Appeal] ruling,” said Muthambi.

Motsoeneng was appointed in 2014, despite a damning report by the public protector that he had fabricated a matric qualification, purged those he disagreed with and irregularly increased his salary from R1.5m to R2.4m in one year. The public protector recommended that he be disciplined. The recruitment process, including interviews, was not complied with and the position never advertised.

The DA approached the courts to challenge Motsoeneng’s appointment, and in 2015 the matter ended up in the Supreme Court of Appeal, which ruled that the public protector’s reports could not be rejected for irrational reasons.

Meanwhile, the Constitutional Court ruled in the Nkandla matter earlier in 2016 that the public protector’s findings were binding.

“By the time the matter was further clarified by the Constitutional Court ruling, I had urged the SABC to comply [with the public protector’s report],” said Muthambi.

She said that when Motsoeneng was appointed in 2014, “there was justification”.

“At that time I must say there was justification to appoint him, this person had been acting for three years,” she said.

Motsoeneng was recently re-appointed group executive of corporate affairs, the post he held before becoming chief operating officer.

He lost his job as SABC chief operating officer in September after the Supreme Court of Appeal dismissed his application for leave to appeal against a ruling by the High Court in Cape Town, setting aside his permanent appointment.

The SABC then announced that it had re-appointed him to his previous post of group executive for corporate affairs. This precipitated the resignation of two board members in Parliament in October.

On Monday, the High Court in Cape Town ruled that Motsoeneng was not entitled to occupy any position at SABC until the public protector’s 2014 report was set aside or new disciplinary processes against him were finalised.

The court said the initial disciplinary hearing that cleared Motsoeneng of any wrongdoing was “wholly inadequate”.

Asked to explain her relationship with Motsoeneng, Muthambi said she had a “professional relationship” with the former chief operating officer.

She said the current crisis at the SABC existed before her time.

“The governance failure of SABC should be a collective responsibility, I inherited a dysfunctional board. I am not exonerating myself, problems at SABC did not start when I was there they have been there and I am happy with this process [inquiry]. Board failing to exercise its fiduciary duty, that’s not my competence that’s why we are here,” said Muthambi.

Asked if she would recommend that Mbulaheni Maguvhe, the last remaining board member, continue serving on the SABC board, she said: “It would be unfair to comment this person [Maguvhe] was appointed by the same Parliament I think at the end of the day I do not appoint board members and I think it’s for this house to take a decision.”

Commission turns up the heat on margarine firms

The Competition Commission will today conduct a search and seizure operation at the premises of five companies involved in the manufacture and distribution of refined edible oils, baking fats and margarine in South Africa.
Commission turns up the heat on margarine firms
© tobi – 123RF.com
The companies are operating in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

The commission said it had reasonable grounds to suspect that Wilmar Continental Edible Oils and Fats (Pty) Ltd, DH Brothers Industries (Pty) Ltd t/a Willowton Oil and Cake Mills, FR Waring Holdings (Pty) Ltd, Africa Sun Oil Refineries (Pty) Ltd and Epic Foods (Pty) Ltd have engaged in cartel conduct, which includes price fixing in the market for the manufacture and distribution of refined edible oils.

The alleged conduct is believed to have started before 2007 and is still ongoing.

“The search and seizure operation is conducted as part of an ongoing investigation, which was initiated by the Commissioner.

“During the search, the Commission will seize documents, records and electronic data which will be analysed, together with other information gathered, to determine whether these companies have contravened the Competition Act,” the commission said.

The Commission has obtained search and seizure warrants from the High Courts in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, respectively, in terms of section 46 of the Competition Act.

The operation is being conducted with due regard to the rights of all the affected persons.

“Food and agro-processing is an important focus area for the Competition Commission, and we are determined to root out exploitation of consumers by cartels that are so prevalent in this sector.

“We have, in particular, been monitoring developments in the fats and oils markets and what we see is worrisome,” Commissioner of the Competition Commission, Tembinkosi Bonakele, said.

However you word it, Uber is a taxi company…

New technology has been disrupting traditional models of doing business for many years and legislation has struggled to keep up. It often falls to the courts to develop the law in this regard. Uber may have disrupted the taxi industry with their self-employment scheme, but they failed to have any effect on the UK Employment Tribunal.
However you word it, Uber is a taxi company… UK ruling saysIn the landmark judgment of Aslam & Farrar vs Uber, the UK Employment Tribunal ruled that Uber runs a transportation business and employs driver to that end.

Partnership agreement dismissed

The tribunal “pierced the contract veil” in a sense and submitted that Uber had gone through great lengths aided by the use of “twisted” legalese in their contracts and “fictions” in their documentation to uphold their incorrect assertion that they were only a technology company.

The claim was made against Uber by some of their drivers, who alleged a failure to pay minimum wages, failure to provide paid leave and detrimental treatment on whistleblowing grounds. It was brought in terms of the UK Employment Rights and Minimum Wage Acts. Their case was that in a number of different ways Uber instructs, controls and manages their drivers.

Uber denied that the claimants were at any material times “workers” entitled to the protection of these legislations. Uber had in place a “partner” agreement with its drivers which provided that the agreement was governed by the laws of the Netherlands. In the event of a dispute, the agreement provided that these should be referred to arbitration to the International Chamber of Commerce Arbitration.

In October 2015, Uber revised the terms of the “partner” agreement without consulting or discussing it with drivers. Drivers were informed when logging into the app and had to accept the new terms and conditions before they could receive new customers.

The new terms stipulated that the Uber driver agree that a contract existed between the Uber driver and the passenger (whoever that may be). The tribunal disregarded these contracts on the basis that they were signed based on the unequal bargaining position between the parties.

Some of the behaviours of which the tribunal were scathing include:

Most of the drivers were not English speaking and the tribunal found that the contracts contained “dense language couched in impenetrable prose”.
Uber contract documentation was designed to reflect that the passenger had contracted directly with the driver and yet the Uber driver was never allowed to know the identity of the passenger or the destination of the passenger, or even the fee to be paid by the passenger.

The driver never collects any fee from the passenger and the fee is paid to Uber. The tribunal held that the essential elements needed for a valid contract were not in place and the supposed contract between Uber driver and passenger were pure fiction, which bore no relationship to the real dealings and relationship between the parties; and

The contract stated that Uber works for the drivers and yet this was far from true, the fact was that Uber recruited the drivers to operate is transportation business.

The drivers did not market themselves to the world in general. Uber then submitted that if there was an employment agreement, the drivers do not have it with Uber London, but with the company with whom they contracted, which was Uber BV which was a Dutch company. The tribunal lifted the veil on the operations and found that for all purposes the Uber London company was the point of contact for the Uber drivers. It was found that Uber London recruits, instructs, controls, disciplines and if it deems appropriate dismisses drivers.

Working hours determination

The tribunal also looked at working hours and concluded that the period the Uber drivers travel from home to their agreed operating area, are not to be regarded as working hours.

The calculation of working hours will start when the Uber driver arrives for work to his area and switches on his application waiting for instruction, until the end of the day when he switches off the application. In terms of the way Uber operated, they required the drivers to be on standby “waiting time” to be available to service any bookings made. This was regarded as the start of working hours by the tribunal.

Will Uber appeal?

We will find out in due course whether Uber will appeal this decision. Whatever happens, Uber will have to accept that they are a taxi company which uses technology and not just a technology company that provides transport.

Their competitive edge was obtained in part from circumventing laws to which their competitors had to comply with. They will have to respect the labour laws of the country in which they operate. That is until they can get their driverless taxi model properly off the ground.

California Free Police Reports Available Online

Having many instances of felonies currently filed at the moment, it is significant to undergo primary provisions than be apologetic as result. Doing California Police Reports Records is an imperative action towards ensuring that your existing duo, newly met friends or house help for your offspring is without any form of uncalled for illegal history. Even so, built-in among the files are the illicit convictions namely convict documents, unlawful court information, law enforcement data, sex lawbreakers and many others.

In this locality, all illegal files derived from the courts and law implementing entities are surrendered to California Department of Justice or DOJ. This is the critical stride based on the fact that businesses employing fresh applicants will have to check the unlawful history of potential worker through the DOJ itself. In addition, these accounts are requisite as well for procurement of licenses, credentials, international adoptions or VISA/Immigration.

The methods are practically straightforward. What you require is the consented claim form to go on with fingerprinting. The hiring department will next have to fill in essential information so that data are right not to mention you have to supply your own details too previous to fingerprint commencement. Subsequently, you are asked to go to a Live Scan location to have your fingerprint done. Only take a legal photo ID with you as well as correct payments for the deal. The processing time takes typically three days once the application is received.

Accessibility of these files is restricted by laws of the region to official police reasons and authorized claim establishments. On the other hand, a revision to have it gained by members of the public to possess a duplicate of their own file is allotted in order to have their credentials perfect and whole. To request for this, you are ordered to send your fingerprint copy and recompense $25 handling fee to DOJ. For those existing outside California, call your most nearby law enforcement office.

Fortunately through the arrival of Cyber World, you have the chance of availing your desired account in the quickest time. There are myriad file acquisition services on the Web today that put on the table specific and steady services. There are two sorts to date: no cost service and with charge. In matters pertaining getting the most out of your money, the second option is the superlative selection. Gratis ones will still shell out fitting data but they not pledge eminence and effectiveness of outcome.

Various locations set out distinct specifications of control to getting hold of its Police Reports. In 1968, the California Legislature ratified the California Public records Act (CPRA) where it was pronounced that the residents had the privilege to enter information relating to the routine activities of each individual. At present, the Internet can give out these documentations. Through the use of handy way of obtaining particulars in the Internet, scrupulous rules and regulations and executive processes are discarded.

Online California Police Reports

Found in the west coast of the United States, the state of California is occupied by over 37 million people, making it without question the most populated state in the country. The California Police Reports that are documented in this state are perhaps among the largest in the US. However, even though the wide collection of criminal data is virtually undeniable, the federal and state governments has made it relatively easy for the general public to gain access to such information.

Just like in any other state, there are certain procedures and requirements that applicants must adhere to in order for their requests to be processed accordingly. In the golden state, the California Department of Justice is the government agency tasked with the appropriate housing and distribution of all criminal accounts. All data that are being stored in this agency’s main repository mostly comes from the state’s courts and law enforcement agencies, which can later be access for future reference.

Having a direct affiliation to the Attorney General’s office, the California Department of Justice makes for an excellent source of police reports and other criminal history information, as it is comprised mostly of the state’s court system. All requests that go through the department are processed via a fingerprint-based search to make sure that the results are as accurate as possible. But as part of the procedure, all applicants must have their fingerprints taken as well.

Before the agency grants you access to its California police records, you must first download a Live Scan Form from their website. This will serve as your official request form, so make sure that you specify the type of application by marking the appropriate space that is labeled �Record Review�. After completing the form, you can then take it to your local law enforcement office and have your fingerprints taken. A $25 fee goes to the DOJ, while the fingerprinting fee varies between police and law enforcement agencies.

The type of documents the California Department of Justice is housing in its central repository includes misdemeanor and felony arrests, dispositions, convictions and detentions. As previously mentioned, these accounts are collected from the state’s courts and various law enforcement offices. These reports will stay in the system indefinitely, or until the subject of the report reaches a hundred years old. Access to third party accounts, on the other hand, is only granted to law enforcement officials and certified employers.

Luckily, because open criminal history accounts and police reports are accessible by the general public, commercial record providers and data search websites will most definitely make excellent search options. Given that such resource is relatively new and perhaps unconventional, government information services are sometimes impractical and inefficient with the rules and requirements they impose. In comparison, data search websites will only require a one-time membership fee in exchange for its services. Users and members can practically run criminal history searches anytime and anywhere without restrictions or delays.

Los Angeles Divorce: Los Angeles Child Custody Mediation

When parents separate or divorce in Los Angeles California and child custody is contested, the parties can attend child custody mediation in Los Angeles County to sort out their disagreements regarding child custody and visitation. Child custody mediation in Los Angeles County is a form of alternative dispute resolution that may be scheduled by appointment with the Los Angeles County Family Court Services mediation or Conciliation Courts.

In a contested child custody matter in Los Angeles, child custody mediation is required before the parties can have a litigated hearing in the Los Angeles family court. In other words, the parties must first attempt to sort out their child custody and visitation disagreements through child custody mediation in Los Angeles before a Los Angeles Superior Court judge or commissioner will hear the child custody dispute in a litigated hearing.

Typically in child custody mediation, both parents are asked to complete a child custody mediation information intake form. The intake form can help the Los Angeles mediator learn more about the child custody and visitation issues being disputed before meeting with the parents. The mediator may meet with the parents together or individually and will typically facilitate the discussion in attempts to help the parents resolve their disputes. In child custody mediation, the parties may resolve all, some, or none of the child custody issues being disputed.

In Los Angeles County mediation is confidential, which means the mediator will not report to the court what was discussed in mediation. Mediators may report to the court a signed mutual agreement which has been mutually accepted by both parties. Mediators may recommend a child custody evaluation or investigation or that an attorney be appointed to represent the child. Los Angeles County mediators are mandated reporters of child abuse, which means they are required to report suspicion of child abuse to Child Protective Services or CPS.

California Family Code section 3170-3173 describes the availability of child custody mediation and addresses child custody and visitation disputes involving modifications, domestic violence, adoptions, paternity, and stepparent and grandparent petitions. California Family Code section 3160-3165 describes the general provisions of child custody mediation and its purpose. However, since the specific details of child custody mediation and mediators may differ from county to county in California and can change over time, you may want to inquire with the Los Angeles Superior courthouse for more information. Further, you would be wise to consult a Los Angeles family law attorney, Los Angeles divorce attorney, or Los Angeles divorce lawyer to help you learn more about the local processes and local rules for child custody mediation and learn if child custody mediation is the right approach for your Los Angeles child custody situation.

Gps Tracking Takes A Draconian Turn Thanks To Us Court Decision

Imagine a society where law enforcement authorities have free reign in listening to people’s conversations, watching every move, and recording where and when a person goes to – without any knowledge they are being monitored and tracked at all. Sounds eerie, doesn’t it? Well, this draconic ‘Big Brother’ scenario might not be a remote possibility right now following a recent decision by the California Federal Court of Appeals to uphold unwarranted use of GPS tracking devices by federal agents on a drug conviction case.

The defendant in question was Juan Pineda-Moreno was convicted of drug trafficking after federal agents allegedly placed hidden GPS trackers on his Jeep even without an issued search warrant to do so. Pineda-Moreno appealed to the Federal Court but was rejected on grounds that the agents placed these GPS tracking devices when the vehicle was on public property.

Why should you, an ordinary law-abiding citizen, be concerned about developments from this seemingly isolated case? For one thing, this incident is a direct violation of the 4th Amendment of the US Constitution — the only firewall people have against warrantless use of GPS tracking devices by police, federal agents and other government authorities.

What this simply means for you is that the police cannot just go out and place any type of hidden tracker on your vehicle or property without a warrant or without you knowing about it. Imagine the implications it would have on you should law enforcement officials or private investigators have free access to your vehicles just because it was parked on public property. That would be a total invasion of your privacy, a thing that many people are trying to protect in a world where spy-like tools are available in the market – and at wholesale prices!

The only way to combat technology is to counter it with the same technology – through the use of GPS jammers. Whether the courts uphold the 4th Amendment or not in relation to the use of warrantless GPS tracking devices nothing can stop a person from ordering and buying a GPS tracker, throw it into your car, then track and record where you are going – all without your knowledge.

Although the purchase of GPS jammers is still restricted within the United States, anyone can order these devices from international wholesale suppliers and get them the next day. However, you should practice discretion if you should decide on importing a GPS jammer from one of these international wholesalers. It would be best to learn any stipulations or restrictions in your own locality – before making any decision to purchase.

In the meantime, civic rights groups continue their appeal on US courts to totally reject unwarranted use of GPS tracking devices by private parties and law enforcement agencies. They are very adamant in restricting use of GPS tracking devices by law enforcement authorities to track people only after obtaining a valid search warrant for a judge.

California Divorce: What Is Physical Custody?

Physical custody generally refers to where a child will live when parents divorce or separate. Physical custody is much different than legal custody, which has to do with the rights and responsibilities of the parents to their children. The parent with physical custody has the right to have his/her child live with him/her. If a child lives exclusively or primarily with one parent that parent is generally referred to as the custodial parent with sole physical custody or primary physical custody. The other parent would be considered the non-custodial parent and would typically have visitation rights to his/her child. If a child lives equally or close to half the time with each of his/her parents the parents will generally have joint physical custody. In some joint physical custody arrangements, a parent that has more time with the child may be denoted as having primary physical custody of his/her child while the other parent has secondary physical custody.

Joint Physical Custody
According to the California Family Code section 3004, “Joint physical custody” means that each of the parents shall have significant periods of physical custody. Joint physical custody shall be shared by the parents in such a way so as to assure a child of frequent and continuing contact with both parents, subject to Sections 3011 and 3020.”

Sole Physical Custody
According to the California Family Code section 3007, “Sole physical custody” means that a child shall reside with and be under the supervision of one parent, subject to the power of the court to order visitation.”

Primary Physical Custody
Primary physical custody is a term that is often used to denote the parent with whom a child spends or lives the great majority of time with. The term “primary physical custody” is often used in cases where parents are awarded joint physical custody and one parent has slightly more time than the other. However, in California, the term “primary physical custody” is not found in the family code and there is no statutory language to define its legal meaning. Nevertheless, the courts continue to denote one parent as having “primary physical custody” and the other “secondary physical custody,” which has created issues with its interpretation, particularly in “move-away cases” in which the parent with “primary physical custody” seeks permission from the court to relocate with his/her child.

Whether you have a custody order that defines how physical custody is awarded or if there is no order regarding physical custody of the children, physical custody is an important legal term that you should become familiar with. Having a general knowledge and awareness of common legal terms such as “physical custody,” “sole physical custody,” and “joint physical custody,” and with the help of an experienced family law attorney, you can have greater assurance that you are doing what is necessary to protect your parental rights, parental responsibilities, and your relationship with your children.