October 2017 Newsletter
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California Supreme Court: Menacing Gestures Don't Qualify as Criminal Threats
In a recent court decision, the California Supreme Court unanimously ruled that menacing, nonverbal hand gestures do not qualify as a criminal threat under current California law.

Back in 2013, Mario Gonzalez, a Riverside County man, allegedly made threatening hand gestures toward an off-duty police officer and the officer's friends in an Indio restaurant. Gonzalez reportedly made a "JT" hand sign and then used his hands to simulate a gun pointed at the group of men. The "JT" hand sign is commonly known as a symbol of Jackson Terrace, a local gang. The officer and his friends stated that the hand gestures scared them, and the District Attorney later charged Gonzalez with five counts of making criminal threats under California Penal Code Section 422. A conviction for making a criminal threat can be either a misdemeanor or a felony under California law.

The offense of making a criminal threat involves threats of death or serious bodily injury made verbally, in writing, or by means of an electronic communication device. The high court ruled that the phrase "made verbally" does not include non-verbal hand gestures. Rather, the court's opinion stated that it was up to the California Legislature to amend the existing law to specifically include non-verbal hand gestures.

The California trial judge who initially heard the Gonzalez case dismissed the charges against the man. However, a state appeals court reinstated the charges after the California Attorney General's office filed an appeal of the trial judge's decision. The California Supreme Court ruled that the trial judge made the correct decision.

Contact the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry Today

At the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, we pride ourselves on keeping up with recent developments in criminal law so that we can better represent you in court. Whether you are facing charges of making a criminal threat or some other allegation, we are here to help you through the court process. We will assess your situation, educate you about your legal rights, and develop the strategy most appropriate for your case.  Reach us at the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry today by calling 1-866-902-6880 or visit our website to schedule an appointment to discuss your case.
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California DUI: Comparing Administrative and Criminal Proceedings  
There are two completely separate proceedings resulting from a DUI arrest. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) automatically starts administrative proceedings about whether a driver should lose his or her driver's license and for what length of time. The prosecutor decides what criminal charges will be filed. In a criminal case, the attorneys will negotiate an offer or the court will determine whether the driver committed a crime, as well as what penalties should be imposed. If a driver ends up in this situation, he or she needs to know what to expect from each of these two proceedings.

DMV Administrative Proceedings

After a DUI arrest, DMV administrative proceedings move very quickly. The arresting officer will keep the driver's California license and give the driver a temporary driver's license that is only valid for 30 days. In this situation, the driver has ten calendar days to contact the DMV and schedule an administrative DMV hearing. If the driver fails to contact the DMV to schedule a DMV hearing, then the DMV will suspend or revoke his or her driver's license 30 days following the DUI arrest. For a first DUI offense, the driver can lose his or her license for a period of four months or up to one year for a refusal allegation. For a second or subsequent DUI offense, the driver can lose his or her license for an even longer period of time, depending on many variables.

Criminal DUI Proceedings

After the a police officer arrests a driver on suspicion of DUI, the paperwork is provided to the prosecutor who must decide what charges will be formally made. The driver or person who is accused of a DUI is normally referred to as the defendant. A defendant can be guilty of DUI if he or she was driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher, or if he or she was driving unsafely after consuming an amount of alcohol and/or drugs which impairs that person's ability to operate a motor vehicle without the same care and caution of a sober individual.

The first court proceeding is called an arraignment. At the arraignment, the judge will read the charges against the defendant, go over the defendant's constitutional rights, and advise of the right to have a lawyer. The judge will ask the defendant to plead to the charges, which means that he or she will tell the judge that they are either guilty, or not guilty, or in certain instances which may also have civil consequences, nolo contendere, which means that the individual is not contesting the charges.

If the defendant pleads guilty or no contest to the criminal charges, the judge will sentence the defendant, determining what penalties the defendant should receive for the crime. If a person pleads not guilty, they can request pretrial conferences, schedule motions to suppress evidence, request additional discovery which the government will not readily turn over, subpoena documents and decide to have a trial to determine their guilt or innocence. The DUI case will either end up in a plea agreement, which is an agreement between the defendant and the state that resolves the case, or the case will proceed to trial. Penalties for a DUI conviction can include the following:
  • Incarceration
  • Fines and court fees
  • Probation
  • Driver's license suspension
  • Required alcohol education programs
  • Mandatory ignition interlock installation
Call DUI Lawyer Virginia L. Landry Today

If you or a loved one is arrested for DUI, there are often defenses available to help you have the charges reduced or to avoid a conviction. Our experienced California criminal defense lawyers will work quickly after an arrest to protect your rights in both the DMV administrative proceedings and the criminal court proceedings. We know how to raise the defenses needed to fight the DUI charges and clear your name. Call us today at 1-877-384-7833 (1-877-DUI-Queen) or visit us online at www.DUIQueen.com
A Note To Our Clients
  • To our current clients: Thank you for the opportunity to serve you during this difficult time.
  • To our future clients: We look forward to working with you in your time of need.
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Virginia Landry

Virginia L. Landry received her undergraduate degree from Northern Arizona University in 1982. She then went on to pursue her law degree from Western State University, graduating in 1988. The following year, Ms. Landry opened her own Law Office. As a nationally recognized Board Certified DUI Defense Attorney Specialist, Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney Virginia L. Landry, is able to practice law within all the California state courts and the Central District Court of the United States.


As a criminal defense lawyer with years of litigation and trial experience, Ms. Landry is fully prepared to handle criminal cases involving violent crimes, white collar crimes, theft crimes, sex crimes, juvenile crimes, drug crimes, weapons charges, and domestic violence. Attorney Landry has successfully represented clients facing a variety of complex misdemeanor and felony charges.

In addition to her current position as Regent for the National College for DUI Defense (NCDD), Virginia serves on the Board of Directors for the California DUI Lawyers Association  as its Secretary. Virginia is one of only a handful of attorneys across the nation who is Board Certified in DUI Defense. She has also received her  certificate of instruction , successfully training participants in DWI Detection and Standardized Field Sobriety Testing Student and Instructor courses.


Virginia Landry served on two committees and was on the Orange County Bar Association's Board of Directors for three years, is a past President and current member of the West Orange County Bar Association, is currently a Sustaining Member for the California Attorneys for Criminal Justice and is a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers serving as Co-Chair of the DUI / DWI Committee. Other local bar associations include the North Orange County Bar Association, The Newport Harbor Bar Association, the South Harbor Bar Association, the Western State University Alumni Association and the Northern Arizona University Alumni Association.