Redwood City Criminal Defense Attorney

Frequently Asked Questions

All FAQs

What is the difference between possession and possession with intent to sell?

If law enforcement finds any illegal drugs or controlled substances on your person, in your vehicle, or in your place of residence, they may charge you with drug possession. This is usually considered a misdemeanor, meaning that, if convicted, you could spend up to one year in jail and pay a fine of up to $1,000. However, many prosecutors will try to elevate the possession charge to possession with intent to sell, which becomes a felony. If convicted, you could spend two to four years in prison, pay a fine of up to $20,000, and experience long-term restrictions on employment and housing opportunities.

What is a controlled substance?

A controlled substance is any narcotic governed by law. For instance, cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, LSD, and PCP are all controlled substances under California (and federal) law.

What is a misdemeanor?

A misdemeanor is a “lesser” criminal offense. Misdemeanors are usually punished less severely than felonies, but they still carry consequences nonetheless. For instance, offenses such as reckless driving, drug possession (in small amounts), most DUIs, simple assault, and trespassing are all considered misdemeanors.

What is a felony?

A felony is any crime that carries a possible sentence of imprisonment for more than one year. Felonies are considered to be more severe than misdemeanors, as they usually involve a greater amount of violence, a larger quantity of drugs, or other circumstances that endanger others.

What do I do if I'm arrested for a DUI?

First of all, try to remain calm. As soon as you are able to do so, contact a trusted DUI defense attorney who can help you understand your options. There are many legal strategies for addressing DUI charges, especially examining the circumstances of your arrest to determine if your rights were violated at any point or if the tests used to measure your blood-alcohol content (BAC) may have produced inaccurate or false results.

Can I be charged with a DUI involving marijuana?

Yes. While driving under the influence (DUI) offenses are typically associated with the use of alcohol, it is possible to be arrested by an officer who suspects that you have been driving while under the influence of marijuana or other controlled substances. However, testing for the presence of marijuana in your system has proven to be much more difficult than measuring blood-alcohol content. It’s imperative to contact a skilled DUI defense attorney as soon as possible so that you can have a fighting chance of achieving a successful outcome.

What is expungement, and how could it benefit me?

In the state of California, reducing a felony charge to a misdemeanor allows you to answer negatively to questions regarding prior convictions on various types of applications. It allows you to reclaim your right to a firearm, participate in jury duty, seek state licensure and apply for various forms of assistance. Expungement also makes it possible for you to overcome background checks associated with housing applications. Overall, expungement is an incredibly potent tool for restoring your civil rights.

What are "three-strikes" laws?

Beginning in the nineties, state governments enacted “three-strikes” laws in order to mandate long periods of imprisonment for persons convicted of a felony on three (or more) separate occasions. The underlying philosophy of these laws is that any person who commits more than two felonies can justifiably be considered incorrigible and chronically criminal, and that permanent imprisonment is then mandated for the safety of society. However, California has recently amended the “three-strikes” law to give more discretion to the judge whether to impose the automatic 25-to-life punishment. This has allowed many non-violent offenders (mostly those with felony drug convictions) to receive alternative forms of sentencing (like addiction treatment services) instead of spending decades behind bars.

How are charges against a minor handled?

When it comes to juvenile offenses, the prosecution must file a petition within 48 hours of the youth’s arrest. If indeed the petition is filed in a timely manner, the minor must be brought before the court before the end of the following court day. If your child has been arrested, he or she can be either released to you or detained in a juvenile detention facility (i.e., “juvenile hall”). While there is no juvenile right to bail, he or she does have the right to be rapidly bright before a judge to expedite the process.

What does it mean when an attorney is a Certified Criminal Law Specialist?

A California attorney who is certified by the State Bar as a Criminal Law specialist must have taken and passed an extensive written examination in criminal law, demonstrated a high level of experience with criminal defense cases, fulfilled ongoing education requirements and been favorably evaluated by other attorneys and judges familiar with his or her work. Just as you would not want your family doctor to perform the most sensitive open heart surgery, and might instead opt for a specialist, if your freedom, record and reputation are at stake, you might prefer to trust your future to a specialist Certified by the State Bar of California as a Criminal Law Specialist.

Jeffrey B. Hayden, Attorney at Law has dedicated his professional career to assisting Redwood City, San Jose and Palo Alto residents accused of a criminal offense.

For exceptional legal counsel, call (650) 368-5700 today to arrange a free consultation.