Under the U.S. Constitution, individuals have certain rights when charged with a crime. However, there are different Constitutional rights available for a defendant when he or she is a juvenile. While juveniles do not have all of the same rights as adults, they do have a number of protections that are provided through U.S. Supreme Court cases and state laws.
Here are a few examples of the constitutional due process rights that are afforded to juveniles:
- Probable cause: Officers must show probable when they search juveniles. Similar to adults, juveniles are protected from a search unless there is probable cause. However, when there is a quasi-parental relationship, such as between a teacher and student, the adult only needs reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing rather than probable cause. Read the rest »
A 56-year-old Newport Beach physician has been arrested and charged with tax evasion and embezzlement. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, he was charged with one felony count of embezzlement and eight felony counts of willful failure to file a tax. He also faces sentencing enhancements for aggravated white-collar crime and property loss. He is looking at 10 years in prison if convicted.
Officials say the man misappropriated $220,000 from a hospital charity account while working at Irvine Regional hospital before it closed in 2009. The staff voted to donate the charity funds to Hoag Hospital Foundation, but prosecutors say the Newport Beach man instead wrote checks from the account to himself and his own medical practice. He also has been charged with failing to file personal state income tax returns and business income tax returns for his practice. Read the rest »
A 44-year-old woman faces up to 20 years in federal prison after pleading guilty in a Santa Ana court to stealing over $500,000 from her Irvine employer. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, she pleaded guilty to one felony count of wire fraud. She was given a credit card for business purposes when she worked as an assistant to the president of Advanced Real Estate Services. She allegedly charged $196,781 on the card and cashed checks and conducted money transfers of $318,835 for personal purchases from 2008 to 2014. She is scheduled to be sentenced December 7, 2015.
Wire fraud is a federal offense that is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Wire fraud occurs when someone devises a scheme to obtain “money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, transmits or causes to be transmitted by means of wire, radio, or television communication in interstate or foreign commerce.” This includes theft and fraud through use of any “writings, signs, signals, pictures, or sounds.” Read the rest »
In 1993, a 16-year-old boy became the first Orange County juvenile to receive a sentence of life in prison without parole for contributing to a fatal carjacking. In 2012, a state law was passed that allowed inmates serving life without parole for crimes committed as juveniles to be resentenced. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, the now 39-year-old man was released the week of March 27, 2015 as a result of the new law.
There are a number of reasons why the Orange County man was able to take advantage of the new law. He was only 16 when he was sentenced to life without parole. During the carjacking that occurred in 1991, he was not the participant who killed the driver. One of his friends shot the victim. Under California law, all participants in a robbery are legally responsible for a death that results from the theft. It is unclear if the fact that he did not pull the trigger helped his case, but it could have. Furthermore, he took part in multiple work and education programs during his time in prison, which is a reflection of his maturity and growth. Read the rest »
A 35-year-old man was arrested on drug charges when police seized 16 pounds of marijuana from his vehicle. According to a Daily Pilot news report, the man was arrested by Costa Mesa police in the 3000 block of Capri Lane in Mesa Verde. Officials say the pulled the vehicle over, searched the car, and found the marijuana. The man was arrested on suspicion of possession of drugs with intent to sell. The passenger was not arrested. It is unclear what led to the initial traffic stop or if the driver has a record of similar offenses.
Marijuana crimes have changed significantly over the past few years in California, but there are still harsh penalties for possessing and selling marijuana without a prescription or license. For example, possessing 28.5 grams or less of marijuana in Orange County for personal use is punishable by a fine of $100. Possessing over 28.5 grams can result in misdemeanor charges punishable by six months in jail and a $500 fine. Read the rest »
Recent analysis of Orange County juvenile arrests shows that half as many teens and children are being arrested on suspicion of crimes compared to years past. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, there were 6,900 juvenile arrests made in 2013. That is a significant drop from the 14,000 arrests made each year in previous decades.
Arrests of juveniles have dropped statewide as well. There were approximately 97,000 juvenile arrests in California in 2013, which is nearly half the number of arrests from a few years ago While it is unclear what has led to the drop in arrests, it could be the result of a number of recent changes. Read the rest »
Prescription drugs are controlled substances. This means that they are illegal to possess without a valid prescription. It is also illegal to manufacture, sell or even transport these drugs under the United States Controlled Substances Act. You can face serious criminal penalties in Orange County for possessing drugs such as Codein, Vicodin, Soma, Xanax, Adderall, Ambien and OxyContin. In fact, simply possessing one of these controlled drugs without a prescription can result in penalties similar to possessing cocaine or heroin.
Simple possession of a controlled prescription drug is typically charged as a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in county jail and a fine of up to $1,000. However, those penalties can increase dramatically if you have a previous conviction on your record for a felony. In such cases, the penalties may increase to 16 months, two years or even three years in prison. Read the rest »
Children under the age of 18 typically do not face adult court proceedings. Instead, minors who are accused of breaking the law must appear in delinquency court. During the delinquency hearing, minors are read out the charges they face. It is at this time that the court will consider the age of the minor, the severity of the allegations and whether the minor has a criminal record to determine what actions should be taken.
As a result of the delinquency hearings, the court can order:
- The minor to live with his or her parents or guardians under court supervision.
- Probation with mandatory placement with a relative, foster home, group home or institution.
- Attendance at probation camp. Read the rest »
Under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, you have the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. This means that if you are arrested for drug possession in Orange County, it is important to look into how the drugs were found during the arrest. If they were wrongfully obtained, you may be able to have key components of the prosecution’s case thrown out.
Police in Orange County can legally search you or your property or person only if they have obtained a search warrant from a judge or the search qualifies as an exception to the warrant requirement under federal or California law. Therefore, officers cannot search you or your property for drugs in Orange County without a warrant unless: Read the rest »
A 28-year-old Anaheim man and a 24-year-old Westminster man face murder charges following the fatal shooting of another man in an Anaheim park. According to a news report in the Orange County Register, the men are schedule to appear in court on January 23, 2015. Officials believe the Westminster man drove the Anaheim man to the park where the passenger got out and shot the victim in the head. They then drove away before being apprehended later that night. The alleged shooter faces a maximum of 50 years to life in prison and the driver, who allegedly also had a gun, faces 26 years to life. They are being held on $1 million bail.
All criminal convictions can have life-changing consequences for the defendant and his or her family, but no charge carries as much gravity as murder. First-degree murder is punishable in Orange County by 25 years to life imprisonment in California state prison. When a murder is related to a hate crime or the death of a peace officer, a conviction can result in a life term without parole. In some cases, first-degree murder can be changed to capital murder with the potential of the death penalty. Read the rest »