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Do Police Need a Warrant to Make an Arrest in California?

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State and local police in California are required to follow not only California law in making arrests but also to respect your rights under the U.S. Constitution, which includes the Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures. An arrest is a seizure, and...
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Can I Be Arrested for Having Marijuana in the Car in California?

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It may be hard to believe now, but there was a time when news of celebrities being arrested for marijuana in Los Angeles was a regular thing. Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Eric Clapton and Neil Young were arrested during a jam session in Topanga Canyon in 1968 when the police...
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Can Your Google Searches Be Used Against You in Criminal Court?

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One of the most watched criminal trials of the decade occurred in the now-ancient time of 2011, when Casey Anthony stood trial for the murder of her child Caylee Anthony. A key piece of evidence presented by the prosecution against her was the testimony of a forensic specialist...
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2017 California Guidelines for Growing and Carrying Marijuana

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You’ve probably heard that, as of November 9 of last year, recreational marijuana is now legal in California. And yet you cannot yet go buy it in stores, and no dispensaries are legally allowed to sell it to you if you do not have a medical prescription. On top of that, marijuana...
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When Can Law Enforcement “Wiretap” a Person

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The concept of “wiretapping” has been in the news lately with claims that the former President “wiretapped” the sitting President. And any fan of gritty crime shows and movies like “The Wire,” “The Sopranos,” or “The Conversation” knows that wiretapping and other forms of...
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Can the Police Search My Home Without a Warrant?

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It’s rarely a good sign when the police come knocking at your door. But when the police come to your house looking for evidence of a crime, this can be an extremely dangerous situation, and how you respond can be critical to defending yourself or a family member from criminal...
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Can You Be Convicted of a Crime in CA if Someone Else Actually Committed It?

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One of the biggest misconceptions that people have about the criminal law is that they can only be convicted of the crime if they themselves took the actions which constituted the crime. Thus, a person might think that if he merely took some seemingly legal action of telling a...
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Facing Assault Charges: Proving Self-Defense

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There are two sides to every story in an assault charge and figuring out who was the innocent victim and who was the criminally liable aggressor often comes down to a matter of which story to believe. At the same time, however, California law provides a valid self-defense to...
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What the Legalization of Marijuana Means for California Criminal Law

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On November 8, 2016 California voters took the historic step of legalizing the recreational use of small amounts of marijuana, effective immediately. The steady decriminalization of marijuana in California has come a long way over the past several decades. It may seem hard to...