Santa Barbara Criminal Defense Attorney | Criminal Charges

Santa Barbara Criminal Lawyer

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Criminal Charges

There are many different crimes that may be charged. The following is a sampling, however, it should be noted that this list is not exhaustive:

• Arson • Assault
• Assault with a Deadly Weapon • Auto Burglary
• Battery • Battery on a Peace Officer
• Bribery • Burglary
• Carjacking • Child Abuse
• Child Endangerment • Child Pornography
• Criminal Threats • Disturbing the Peace
• Domestic Violence • Driving of a Suspended License
• Driving Without a License • Drug Crimes
• Drunk in Public • DUI
• DUI of Drugs • Elder Abuse
• Embezzlement • Expungement
• Extortion • Failure to Register as a Sex Offender
• False Imprisonment • Firearm Offenses
• Forgery • Fraud
• Grand Theft Auto • Hit and Run
• Indecent Exposure • Kidnapping
• Lewd Acts with a Minor • Mayhem
• Marijuana possession • Marijuana sale
• Murder • Nursing Home Abuse
• Probation Violation • Prostitution
• Rape • Receiving Stolen Property
• Resisting Arrest • Robbery
• Sexual Battery • Stalking
• Statutory Rape • Theft
• Three Strikes • Trespassing
• Vandalism • Vehicular Manslaughter
• Warrants  

Domestic Violence

While every category of crime carries its own challenges and nuances, domestic violence cases tend to be quite unusual in that often times the "victim" is not cooperating with the prosecution. Instead, the District Attorney's office conducts an independent evaluation of the facts as represented by the police report, and files charges accordingly.

Under California law, domestic violence is broadly construed to mean causing or attempting to cause bodily injury, and/or sexual assault against a spouse, a former spouse, a person you are dating, a person with whom you are living, a person with whom you used to live and/or a person with whom you had a child. Domestic violence can involve physical injury, or domestic violence can occur merely by threatening words.

The legal definition of an "intimate partner" for purposes of domestic violence includes husbands or wives, boyfriends or girlfriends, and same-sex partners. Therefore, any intimate partner, no matter the sex, can be a victim of domestic abuse. The law is very broad in terms of how the relationship giving rise to domestic violence is defined.

"Abuse" is likewise legally defined in very broad terms. Each of the following actions, among others, can lead to prosecution for domestic violence or intimate partner violence: hitting, slapping, punching, kicking, threatening with a weapon, threatening without a weapon, hitting with an object, hair pulling, burning, cutting, biting, stabbing and stalking. No matter how slight the physical touching was, the accused can still be prosecuted. Some types of domestic violence charges do not even require any physical touching, such as stalking.

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Drug Crimes

While drug charges vary greatly, the most important factors in determining the specific charges and the resulting punishment are:

  1. The type of drugs involved
  2. The quantity of drugs involved
  3. If the drugs were utilized for personal use or with the intent to distribute.
  4. The involvement (or lack thereof) of minors
  5. Your criminal record
  6. Any other crimes that may be associated with the underlying drug charges

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Sex Crimes

Sex crimes can be extremely serious, making it imperative that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. If convicted of a sex crime, you may spend time in jail or prison, where convicted sex offenders are generally viewed unfavorably by inmates convicted of other crimes. As a result, time spent in jail or prison is potentially much more dangerous than for other crimes.

Many sex crimes convictions make you ineligible for probation, and most sex crime convictions require registration as a sex offender pursuant to Penal Code Section 290. Sex offender registration may substantially limit where you can live and may also preclude you from visiting parks, schools, and other public areas. In addition, under California's version of Megan's Law, which is the penal code applicable to registered sex offenders, your name, address, and photograph are available to the public.

If convicted, you would need to register here:

As you can see, a sex crime conviction can be a life altering event. The following is a sampling of representative sex crimes:

  • Rape
  • Statutory rape
  • Lewd acts
  • Prostitution
  • Possession of child pornography
  • Sexual abuse
  • Sexual assault
  • Child sex crimes
  • Date rape
  • Spousal rape
  • Indecent exposure
  • Failure to register

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Theft Crimes

There are many types of theft crimes and the consequences can vary greatly depending upon the value of the alleged theft, your criminal history (or lack thereof), and a multitude of aggravating or mitigating circumstances.

While ignorance of the law is never a valid defense to a theft crime, an honest mistake of fact may be a defense, especially if the factual mistake appears to be reasonable in light of the circumstances. Below is a sampling of various theft crimes:

Auto Burglary: This involves breaking into a vehicle with the specific intent of stealing the vehicle.

Burglary: Entering a structure with the specific intent to commit a theft or any felony. This includes homes and businesses. If the structure is a home or "inhabited dwelling," you may be charged with residential burglary and you may be subject to a "strike" pursuant to California's Three Strikes Law.

Carjacking: The taking of a vehicle by force. Robbery of a vehicle.

Embezzlement: Stealing of property while you had physical possession. An example would be when a bank teller that was given permission to handle the bank's cash decides to steal.

Grand Theft: This involves the taking of property valued over $950.

Grand Theft Auto: This is automatically grand theft, even if the value of the vehicle is determined to be below $950.

Grand Theft of a Firearm: Stealing a firearm always constitutes grand theft, regardless of value. This conduct is always a felony.

Petty Theft: Stealing of property of value up to $950. While this is a misdemeanor, prior offenses may lead the prosecutor to file this as a felony.

Receiving Stolen Property: Purchasing or receiving property in which one knows has been stolen.

Robbery: Using violence or force to take property from another. This is a "strike" under California's Three Strikes Law.

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