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Fresno Legal Issues Blog

What does an assault or battery charge mean for my future?

Violent crimes such as assault and battery come with serious penalties. If you find yourself charged with one of these crimes, you should challenge those charges since your future is at stake. A violent crime conviction creates an extremely negative impact on both your personal and professional lives.

How wrongful death compensation is calculated in personal injury

How much money can a family recover from a wrongful death claim? Measuring the value of a human life is ethically challenging, but it is absolutely necessary in today's personal injury legal system. In general, courts use a measure known as "valuation by human capital" to determine the appropriate amount of compensation. This is also known as the pecuniary loss rule.

When the courts work to determine the value of a human life in a wrongful death case, they employ a calculation that attempts to predict the amount of money that the victim could have provided for his or her family. Information that is integrated into the calculation can include income at the time of death and general predictions for life expectancy. Although some states include additional factors such as pain and suffering, loss of companionship and other civil elements, the majority of wrongful death claims focus on the objective, economic loss that the family will suffer because of the victim's death.

New attorney general decides to crack down on drug crime

The change in the political administration from Obama to Trump may have more legal consequences than most judicial experts imagined. News out of Washington shows that California residents and others throughout the country may be in store for a more aggressive approach to street crime, which could increase the number of criminal defense cases nationwide. Jeff Sessions, the nation's new attorney general, has given statements indicating that he will crack down on drug crime, assault, weapons crimes, and a variety of other violations with the transition in political administrations.

Of particular concern to Sessions are the drug crimes that he contends are plaguing our nation. Experts anticipate an increase in the number of attempted drug prosecutions in California and elsewhere. They also say that the average length of a drug crime sentence could grow, even as prosecutors decide that they want to pursue lower-level violators. This, of course, flies in the face of the ethos promoted by the previous administration, which had attempted to limit drug crime enforcement to promote social equality.

Reports: Reduced enforcement for white collar criminal defense

With the transition in political administrations, Americans can expect a major shift in the focus of law enforcement priorities, according to legal experts. Reports show that criminal defense for traffic penalties, weapons crimes, and "street" violations are more likely to be held in high importance during the coming years. The trade-off? Enforcement for white collar crime is anticipated to drastically reduce.

While some experts see this shift as necessary for big banks to reduce their costs of compliance - identifying money laundering from their perspective can be a challenge - others say the shifts may lead to significant issues, allowing violations to escalate unchecked. Further, more responsibility for enforcing laws against white collar crime and related violations could fall on the government, meaning a larger burden for taxpayers. This is a political matter that could easily turn into a criminal defense issue, according to initial reports.

3 types of dangerous driving behaviors that lead to crashes

One of the first questions people have after a car crash is, "Whose fault was it?" This isn't just a question asked out of curiosity; it is a question that must be answered in order to determine what, if any, remedies are available for injured parties.

Generally speaking, there are a few different types of behaviors that can tell people who was at fault for an accident.

California man mounts DUI defense in ninth case

A California man is facing his ninth DUI charge in the past six years after an incident in late January in which he allegedly smashed his vehicle into a high-voltage box in Placentia. The man, age 51, is among the estimated one-third of alleged drunk drivers that find themselves mounting multiple DUI defense efforts. He is accused of throwing liquor bottles from his vehicle in the aftermath of the collision, according to official reports.

Statistics show that Orange County is one of the most risky areas in the state for drunk driving, with about 85 percent of cases successfully convicted. About 19,000 drivers have been convicted of multiple DUIs in the area in the past 17 years, according to official records, though the area still struggles with repeat offenders. The driver in this case got his first drunk driving conviction when he was 47. His attorney said the man was accruing new drunk driving charges while others were pending, meaning that he had five open cases at the same time. So far, he has served a year in state prison because of the drunk driving convictions.

California highway worker killed in motor vehicle accident

A California highway worker was killed on Feb. 9 after he was struck by a vehicle while cleaning up debris on Highway 17. The man, age 54, was a 15-year employee of Graniterock, a Watsonville-based firm that contracted with Caltrans for cleanup and road maintenance. One other victim, a 34-year-old Graniterock worker, was harmed in the personal injury accident. Official reports show that the decedent and the injured victim were both hit by the same dump truck, driven by a 39-year-old man employed by Hildebrand & Sons out of Watsonville.

The injured victim was transported to the nearby Valley Medical Center, according to authorities. Investigators are still working to determine the cause of this personal injury motor vehicle accident; for instance, it is not yet clear whether the dump truck was equipped with backup lights and alarms. So far, no citations or arrests have been made, but the investigation continues into the matter.

Why have a DUI expunged?

You can, in some cases, have a DUI expunged. People often think that this means it's taken off of your record, as if it never happened. That's not always precisely true. It's just sealed, but law enforcement can still see it. For example, if police want proof that you had a prior conviction, they may still be able to use the record of that DUI.

So, why would you want to have it expunged? If it's still on your record in the eyes of the police, what purpose does it serve?

California woman dead after personal injury caused by tree fall

A 35-year-old California woman is dead after a 70-foot oak tree toppled through the roof of her home and crushed her. The personal injury incident occurred in the early morning hours on January 22, according to local authorities. Family members and friends of the woman say she had previously complained about the tree to her landlord, saying that she was concerned that it might fall over. Neighbors had also expressed concern that the tree was unsafe, but no action was taken by the landlord. The massive tree had a trunk that measured approximately 7 feet in diameter.

The woman's boyfriend was also involved in the incident; he was sleeping in the bed next to her when the tree fell into the home. Miraculously, he was unharmed in the accident. Investigators say the man was only inches away from being severely wounded, as well.

Driver mounts DUI defense against caffeine-related charges

A California man who was facing DUI charges because of driving under the influence of caffeine has been cleared of all allegations. The bizarre DUI defense case began with the man's arrest in August 2015, when he was pulled over by police officers who thought he was driving recklessly. The defendant was accused of erratic driving, and officers' sworn statements indicate that the driver was acting as though he was under the influence of a stimulant.

The problem? The defendant's drug tests all came back negative.

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