July 2015 Newsletter
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Angel Baseball Tickets Giveaway

Every month, Virginia is having a drawing to give away Angels "Diamond Club" Baseball Tickets.  Persons who send referrals to our office will be entered into the drawing as a token of our appreciation for expressing their confidence in us by referring new clients. 
 

Please congratulate Craig S. for winning this month's tickets!  

 

Watch the 1 minute video below for more information.

Preferred Client Personal Parking 


 

We have a Preferred Client personal parking space in front of our building for clients and potential clients who come to visit.

Driving While High - How California's Medical Marijuana Laws Affect DUI Arrests

Medical marijuana has helped thousands in California deal with conditions like chronic pain, nausea from chemotherapy, and a variety of other serious medical conditions. While the herb is a lifesaver for many people, Californians should still be aware that driving while high is a crime, regardless of whether or not marijuana is legal.


Simply because medical marijuana is allowed in California does not mean that impaired drivers get a free pass. Like medical marijuana, alcohol is a legal drug but it is still a crime to drive under its influence. In the same way, a driver who is impaired by marijuana will be arrested for a DUID - driving under the influence of drugs. There is no exception in California law for drivers who are impaired because of medical marijuana.


Unlike alcohol, there is no cutoff limit for the amount of THC that a driver can have in his or her blood while driving. Recent efforts to codify a legal limit have so far failed, mainly because it is nearly impossible to prove that a driver is or is not impaired based on THC levels.


Regardless of what type of drug the driver ingested, the state must still show that the substance impaired the driver, and not simply that the drug was in the driver's system at the time. Police officers and prosecutors have to rely on a driver's behavior and other evidence of impairment in order to prove that a driver was impaired.


While police officers around the state are trained to spot evidence of impairment or intoxication, this evidence is still subjective and often relies on the arresting officer's opinion. If an officer suspects that a person is driving under the influence of marijuana or another drug, blood and urine tests can be ordered to prove that a person had drugs in their system. However, even these tests cannot take into account a person's tolerance for a certain drug, or show when the drug was ingested. Instead, a prosecutor must often rely on a combination of the driver's statements or behavior, the police officer's opinions, and results of chemical tests.


Depending on the circumstances of a DUID arrest, proving impairment from medical marijuana can be an uphill battle for a prosecutor who is facing off against an experienced DUI/DUID defense attorney.  At the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, our attorneys represent people accused of driving under the influence every day, and will work to help you clear your name.


For more information about the DUIDs or the DUI process,  visit us here . To set up a free initial consultation with one of our attorneys, call 866.902.6880 today.

Felony, Misdemeanor or Infraction? How Prosecutors Decide to Charge You After an Arrest

Being arrested is a traumatic and difficult experience. After an arrest, you may be unsure of what is going to happen - will you be charged? What kinds of charges will you face? Who makes these decisions? Before you panic about your arrest, learn more about the process and what charges you may be facing.  

 

How Charges Get Filed

 

Usually, charges against a person are filed shortly after an arrest. Though the police are the ones who may first put you under arrest for a specific crime or violation, the police do not have the power to decide how you will be charged. An arresting officer will file a report listing the circumstances of the arrest and some suggested charges, but the arresting officer does not have the final say on whether or not you will face charges or what those charges will be.

 

Instead, the arrest report is sent to the district attorney's office. The prosecutor assigned to your case will review the arrest report, decide if you should be charged with a crime, and if so, what type of charges you will face. When a person is in custody and has been put under arrest, the prosecutor will usually have 48 hours (not counting weekends or holidays) to decide what type of charges are appropriate.

 

In some circumstances, especially with serious crimes, there may not be an arrest before charges are filed. Sometimes, a prosecutor will present possible charges to a grand jury, who will then decide if there is enough information to make an arrest. In these situations, an arrest may not be made for several months after a crime was committed.

 

Types of Charges

 

If the district attorney's office decides that you should be charged with a crime, the prosecutor has three options: Charge as an infraction, a misdemeanor, or a felony.  The difference between these types of charges is based on the type of punishment that each charge carries.

 

An infraction is the least serious charge. Infractions are only punishable with fines, and do not have the possibility of any jail time or probation. Infractions are generally given out for things like traffic offenses or minor drinking charges.

 

A misdemeanor is punishable by fines, probation, and a maximum jail sentence of up to one year. People charged with misdemeanors do not go to prison, and will instead serve their time in the county jail. In contrast, a felony charge is also punishable with fines and probation, but the maximum sentence is more than one year. In most cases, people who are incarcerated for serious or violent felonies serve their time in state prisons.

 

How Prosecutors Decide on Charges

 

The district attorney's office often has broad discretion on how a person will be charged. When considering the arrest report, the prosecutor has the option to decline to file charges, file the charges the officer suggests, or add or subtract charges to the arrest.

 

In some instances, a crime may qualify as either a misdemeanor or a felony. These types of charges are usually referred to as "wobblers," because the prosecutor has the choice to charge a person with either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the circumstances.

 

For example, after a fight a person is usually charged with assault and battery. This offense can be charged in a variety of ways, depending on the circumstances. The prosecutor will look at what happened during the fight, why the fight occurred, the criminal histories of the participants, and whether or not a weapon was used. If a person in the fight was simply defending themselves, the prosecutor may not file charges at all. If the fight was relatively minor, the person could be charged with a misdemeanor. If one of the people involved in the fight used a knife or a baseball bat, it is more likely that the person could be charged with felony assault or even attempted murder.

 

Early Intervention Can Reduce Charges

 

If you are arrested, or believe that you will be arrested soon, it is incredibly important to have your defense attorney speak with the prosecutor as soon as possible. Sometimes, your attorney can explain your side of the story to the prosecutor, and influence him or her to file lesser charges.

 

In addition, because prosecutors have a limited amount of time after an arrest to file charges, they will often overcharge a defendant. A skilled criminal defense attorney can negotiate these charges down to less serious offenses, which may reduce the penalties a person is facing after an arrest.

 

At the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, our attorneys will work with prosecutors, and will try to get your charges reduced if possible. While no one can guarantee that your charges will be reduced, having an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side may mean the difference between facing serious felony charges and dealing with a misdemeanor offense.

 

If you have questions about your case, or want to know if you will be facing a felony or misdemeanor charge, the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry is here to help. Visit us online, or set up a free initial consultation with one of our attorneys by calling 866.902.6880 today.

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. 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, the Northern Arizona University Alumni Association and the Warren J. Ferguson Inns of Court.