Law Office of Lance Dacre

For a free confidential consultation with an experienced American canyon criminal defense lawyer, please call attorney Lance Dacre at (707) 534-1854.

California Prohibits Holding Cell Phone While Driving

Posted on | January 6, 2017 | No Comments

Cell Phone While Driving

Effective Sunday, January 1, 2017, it is against the law for motorists in California to hold a cell phone while on the road. The law is far-reaching, banning the holding of a cell phone for any purpose, from talking to texting to checking a map. Drivers may use cell phones when behind the wheel only if the phones are mounted on the dashboard of the car and are set up for hands-free operation. Motorists may also use factory installed phone systems.

The law is not the first limitation on the use of cell phones by drivers in California—the first such law was on the books 10 years ago. Prior laws, however, dealt specifically with talking, texting or using the internet while driving—the new statute seeks to prevent any use of a phone that may distract a driver from the road—playing music, taking pictures or using social media.

California officials say the increase in motor vehicle accidents caused by distracted drivers was the major incentive behind the new law. A study conducted before the 2006 law likened talking on a cell phone while driving to driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Contact the Law Office of Lance Dacre

With offices in American Canyon, the Law Office of Lance Dacre brings more than 12 years of criminal defense experience to people charged with a crime, including actions involving medical marijuana. We take a no-nonsense approach, always telling you what you need to hear, even if it’s not what you want to hear. Because we want you to make intelligent and informed decisions, we will keep you apprised of all developments in your case, as well as your options moving forward. To set up a free initial consultation, contact us by e-mail or call our office at 707-534-1854.

California Addresses All Aspects of “Driving Under the Influence”

Posted on | December 15, 2016 | No Comments

Driving-Under-Influence

When most people think of a DUI, they associate it only with drinking and driving. But California officials are out to educate the public and to enforce a broader interpretation of the law. A new campaign, recently launched by the California Office of Traffic Safety, focuses on what is known as DUI-D—driving while under the influence of drugs.

Officials say it’s not just the availability of medical marijuana that motivated the OTS to take action. Studies show that, over the past decade, the use of prescription and over-the-counter medications, especially those that can impair driving ability, has skyrocketed. Representative pharmaceutical products include painkillers, allergy medication, anti-anxiety drugs, sleep aids and muscle relaxers. And officials stress that, whether you have a prescription or not, it’s still against the law to drive if you are impaired by medication.

Now that the Adult Use of Marijuana Act has legalized the use of weed for personal use for persons 21 and older, officials say their concerns have escalated. They point to the increasingly larger doses of THC in marijuana, which slows down reaction times and causes drivers to be less cognizant of their surroundings.

Official provide these recommendations if you are taking any prescription or over-the-counter medications:

  • Read the label—if it recommends that you don’t drive, don’t get behind the wheel
  • Don’t combine alcohol and any drug, including marijuana
  • If you aren’t certain if you are feeling any effects from medication, don’t drive

Contact the Law Office of Lance Dacre

With offices in American Canyon, the Law Office of Lance Dacre brings more than 12 years of criminal defense experience to people charged with a crime, including actions involving medical marijuana. We take a no-nonsense approach, always telling you what you need to hear, even if it’s not what you want to hear. Because we want you to make intelligent and informed decisions, we will keep you apprised of all developments in your case, as well as your options moving forward. To set up a free initial consultation, contact us by e-mail or call our office at 707-534-1854.

Drunk Driver Who Killed Boy Seeks to Withdraw Plea

Posted on | August 30, 2016 | No Comments

New-Maryland-Law-Seeks-to-Reduce-Number-of-Drunk-Driving-AccidentsA former high school basketball coach, sentenced to 12 years in prison after entering a no-contest plea in a manslaughter prosecution, has filed a request with the court to withdraw the plea, citing new evidence. Loren LeBeau, who coached at Central High in Los Angeles, entered the plea and was sentenced in 2013. He has been serving time for three years.

According to LeBeau’s attorney, a video introduced by the attorney for the family of the 7-year-old boy contains evidence that would make it impossible to convict him of vehicular manslaughter. LeBeau admitted that he had been drinking before the accident, which occurred shortly after 9 p.m., on July 25, 2012. Witnesses say that the victim, Donovan Maldonado, was legally in a crosswalk on Shepherd Avenue, walking with his father and younger sister, when LeBeau hit him and dragged him more than 250 yards.

LeBeau’s counsel alleges that a video introduced at the civil trial, settled for $1.15 million, makes it clear that no driver, drunk or not, could have seen the boy. Because LeBeau could not have been charged with manslaughter, he claims, LeBeau could not plead guilty to manslaughter. LeBeau’s attorney says the videotape was not available to defense counsel at the time LeBeau entered his plea. Lawyers for the Maldonado family say, however, that the video is not new evidence and that LeBeau’s attorneys had the evidence before he entered his plea.

Contact the Law Office of Lance Dacre

With offices in American Canyon, the Law Office of Lance Dacre brings more than 12 years of criminal defense experience to people charged with a crime, including actions involving medical marijuana. We take a no-nonsense approach, always telling you what you need to hear, even if it’s not what you want to hear. Because we want you to make intelligent and informed decisions, we will keep you apprised of all developments in your case, as well as your options moving forward. To set up a free initial consultation, contact us by e-mail or call our office at 707-534-1854.

Defending against a Charge of Resisting Arrest

Posted on | May 1, 2016 | No Comments

In California, you can be charged with and prosecuted for resisting arrest even if you weren’t the target of police. The criminal statute commonly referred to as “resisting arrest” also criminalizes any activity that interferes with or obstructs a law enforcement officer attempting to make an arrest, or any action that delays any arrest. It’s important to understand, too, that resisting arrest is not limited to physical attempts to flee or to deny access to a suspect. You can also be charged with resisting arrest if you provide false information to an officer attempting to make an arrest.

If you have been charged with resisting arrest, what are your best strategies for mounting a defense or obtaining an acquittal? First, let’s look at what the state must prove to obtain a guilty verdict:

  • There must have been a law enforcement officer or an EMT who was lawfully attempting to do his/her job
  • There must be willful resistance, obstruction or delaying tactics that actually prevented the officer or EMT from performing his or her job
  • You must have known that the person was an officer or EMT (you can also be found guilty if it can be shown that you should reasonably have known, based on the circumstances)

Defending a Charge of Resisting Arrest

There are a number of approaches your attorney can take to challenge a charge of resisting arrest:

  • Was the Officer/EMT Lawfully Performing His or Her Duties?—This is typically the first line of defense. Did the police officer have a warrant? In the absence of a warrant, did the officer have probable cause to attempt to make an arrest? Did your actions constitute a violation of the law? For example, if you were discourteous with a police officer, but did not use “fighting words,” you cannot be charged with resisting arrest or with being disorderly.
  • Were your actions reasonable?—Was the officer using excessive force in the attempt to detain you? Were you reasonably in fear for your personal safety? Might your actions reasonably be construed to be in self-defense?
  • Did you know that the person was a law enforcement officer? Were you ever shown a badge? If the person was undercover, did you have reason to know that he/she was a police officer? Did the officer ever identify himself/herself as a law enforcement officer?

Contact Us

Located in American Canyon, the Law Office of Lance Dacre offers more than 12 years of criminal defense experience to people charged with drug crimes, including possession or sale of prescription drugs. We take a no-nonsense approach, always telling you what you need to hear, even if it’s not what you want to hear. Because we want you to make intelligent and informed decisions, we will keep you apprised of all developments in your case, as well as your options moving forward. To set up a free initial consultation, contact us by e-mail or call our office at 707-534-1854.

What to Know If You Are Arrested

Posted on | April 1, 2016 | No Comments

When you are detained or arrested by law enforcement officers, it’s critical that you know your rights. Even though police officers should read you your Miranda rights when taking you into custody, you want to know ahead of time what is happening and what your rights are.

What is an Arrest?

There’s a difference between being arrested and being detained. A police officer may detain you—keep you from leaving the scene for a short period of time—for questioning. However, the officer must notify you if you are placed under arrest. Until such point, you are free to leave the scene. It’s best to simply ask the police officer, “Am I under arrest?” If the officer says no, you are free to leave. Once you are placed under arrest, though, you are in the legal custody of the officer and cannot leave the scene.

What Are Your Rights When Arrested?

Your constitutional rights, set forth in the Miranda opinion of the U.S. Supreme Court, are as follows:

  • You have the right to remain silent
  • You have the right to have a lawyer present anytime you are questioned
  • You have the right to have a lawyer appointed for you, if you cannot afford one

You cannot be questioned until you have been given your Miranda rights. Even then, you cannot be questioned without a lawyer present unless you voluntarily give up your rights. If you change your mind in the middle of an interrogation, the questioning must stop until your lawyer is present.

Contact the Law Office of Lance Dacre

At the Law Office of Lance Dacre, in American Canyon, California, we provide more than 12 years of practice experience to people charged with misdemeanors or felonies. We take a no-nonsense approach, always telling you what you need to hear, even if it’s not what you want to hear. Because we want you to make intelligent and informed decisions, we will keep you apprised of all developments in your case, as well as your options moving forward. To set up a free initial consultation, contact us by e-mail or call our office at 707-534-1854.

The Most Common Police Mistakes in DUI Investigations

Posted on | March 29, 2016 | No Comments

So you’ve been arrested and charged with drunk driving…you don’t want to just plead guilty and take your punishment. Why? Because police officers regularly make mistakes in DUI cases. Here are the most common:

The Officer Makes a Traffic Stop without Probable Cause

A police officer doesn’t have to suspect that you are drinking and driving, but the officer must have some reasonable basis for pulling you over. Any violation of the law will do—speeding, failing to obey traffic signals, even an equipment failure, such as a broken tail light. If you can show that there was no reasonable basis to pull you over, any evidence obtained in the traffic stop may be excluded at trial.

The Officer Did Not Properly Conduct the Field Sobriety Test

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has strict guidelines for conducting field sobriety tests. Such tests must take mitigating factors into consideration, such as medical conditions, fatigue, weather conditions or defects in pavement or roadway. Often, police officers will subjectively identify even the slightest misstep as an indication of intoxication.

The Officer Makes an Arrest without Probable Cause

Before you can be arrested for drinking and driving, the officer must have probable cause to believe that your blood alcohol content is in excess of the legal limit. This may be based on your failure of the field sobriety test, on your general conduct or on a breathalyzer test administered at the scene. However, if there is no reasonable basis to believe that you are drinking and driving, any evidence subsequently obtained may be thrown out.

The Officer Improperly Administers the Blood Alcohol Test

Under California law, a police officer must continually observe you for a minimum of 15 minutes before administering a blood alcohol content test. Far too often, this is not done. As a result, tests can be inaccurate—for example, you may burp, causing a higher level of alcohol to be in your mouth or on your breath.

Contact the Law Office of Lance Dacre

We offer more than 12 years of practice experience to people in American Canyon and the surrounding communities. We take a no-nonsense approach, always telling you what you need to hear, even if it’s not what you want to hear. Because we want you to make intelligent and informed decisions, we will keep you apprised of all developments in your case, as well as your options moving forward. To set up a free initial consultation, contact us by e-mail or call our office at 707-534-1854.

The Importance of Keeping a Criminal Conviction Off Your Record

Posted on | February 1, 2016 | No Comments

There are a number of good reasons that you want to try to remove a criminal conviction from your record—you may be denied access to credit or to educational opportunities. You may be denied the right to live in certain types of housing. Most importantly, though, you may face extreme difficulties finding gainful employment.

Not all employers run a criminal background check, but most private employers have the option to do so. There are specific occupations where a criminal background check is generally mandatory, including:

  • Lottery or casino jobs or occupations at off-track betting facilities
  • Child care or day care workers
  • Most public school jobs
  • Nurses and nurses aids
  • Most professions, including the practice of law, medicine, dentistry, ministry and accounting

When conducting a criminal background check, your employer will have access to any arrests for the last seven years and any convictions, regardless of when they happened. You can, however, prevent a prospective employer from seeing anything related to a prior conviction if you successfully expunge a conviction from your record.

In California, to be eligible for expunction of a misdemeanor or felony, you must successfully complete any ordered probation, and you must not be charged with any subsequent offense. There are also certain crimes in California for which expunction is not available, including most sex crimes.

Contact the Law Office of Lance Dacre

With offices in American Canyon, the Law Office of Lance Dacre brings more than 12 years of criminal defense experience to people charged with a crime, including actions involving medical marijuana. We take a no-nonsense approach, always telling you what you need to hear, even if it’s not what you want to hear. Because we want you to make intelligent and informed decisions, we will keep you apprised of all developments in your case, as well as your options moving forward. To set up a free initial consultation, contact us by e-mail or call our office at 707-534-1854.

Your Third DUI in California

Posted on | January 4, 2016 | No Comments

What to Expect if Convicted a Third Time for DUI in California

In California, as in all states, as a repeat offender you can expect significantly increased penalties on a DUI (driving under the influence) charge. If you are convicted a third time for drinking and driving, the penalties can include:

  • A jail term of four months to a year, although alternatives to a jail sentence may be possible under certain circumstances
  • The suspension of your driving privileges for as long as 10 years
  • Mandatory participation in an alcohol program, for a period of not less than 18 months
  • Fines of up to $2,500
  • Potential community service requirements

The best outcome with a third DUI involves dismissal of the charges. It’s not uncommon for police officers to violate your constitutional rights before or during a traffic stop. For example, they may pull you over without probable cause, or they may fail to advise you of your rights. In addition, field sobriety and blood alcohol tests may be improperly administered.

Even though California law seems to require a minimum 120 day jail term if convicted on a third DUI, the presiding judge has some discretion with respect to sentencing. Some of the diversionary programs that repeat DUI offenders have participated in include:

  • A 30 month alcohol rehab program with a corresponding community service requirement
  • Requirement that the offender reside in a “residential sober living environment,” such as a halfway house, so that the offender can continue to work

  • House arrest
  • Contact the Law Office of Lance Dacre

With offices in American Canyon, the Law Office of Lance Dacre brings more than 12 years of criminal defense experience to people facing criminal prosecution. We take a straightforward approach, always keeping you fully informed of all developments in your case. We won’t mislead you about the seriousness of any charges against you, and will tell you what you need to hear, even if it’s not what you want to hear. Regardless of the nature of your charges, we will zealously defend you at all times. To set up a free initial consultation, contact us by e-mail or call our office at 707-534-1854.

What Constitutes Illegal Gambling?

Posted on | December 28, 2015 | No Comments

There was a time when gambling was illegal everywhere except Atlantic City and Las Vegas. Though all that has changed, with casinos, pari-mutuel betting tracks and poker rooms being legalized in many states, there are still certain types of gambling, or gaming, that are prohibited in every state.

Gambling Defined

Though the specifics can vary somewhat, gambling generally requires a bet or a wager on some uncertainty (gambling must be based on chance, not certainty). The bet must be made in order to win something, and the person making the bet must put something of value at risk. It’s important to understand that courts have consistently held that a person need not put up money for a bet—anything of value can serve as a wager. Furthermore, there is typically no required amount of value—if the item at risk has value, it’s gambling.

What Constitutes a “Game of Chance”

As a general rule, state statutes prohibit unlicensed events where something of value is wagered based on some element of chance. To the contrary, if the event is based on skill—shooting a puck through a small target or making a certain number of free throws—it is not chance and is legally permissible.

Of course, there are many games that involve both chance and skill. In those instances, courts will typically try to determine which is more critical to the success or failure of the bet—skill or chance. Furthermore, courts will typically look at the skill of an “average” player. Just because there are highly skilled poker players who will typically beat most other players does not make it a game of skill.

You Must Have a Chance of Winning

If there’s no chance of winning something, you are not gambling. But even the slightest chance…one in a billion…is still a chance.

Contact the Law Office of Lance Dacre

The Law Office of Lance Dacre, with offices in American Canyon, has aggressively protected the rights of criminal defendants for more than 12 years. We take a direct approach with our clients, giving you an honest assessment of the serious nature of the charges against you, as well as your likelihood of acquittal or a reduction of the charges. We provide a free initial consultation to every new client. To set up an appointment, contact us by e-mail or call our office at 707-534-1854.

What to Do If You Are Served with a Restraining Order in California

Posted on | December 7, 2015 | No Comments

How to Respond if You Are Served with a Restraining Order

Though the most common objective of a restraining order is to limit contact between the person served and others, typically a spouse or children, a restraining order can also require that the recipient fulfill other requirements, including payment of child or spousal support, payment of certain bills, compliance with custody and visitation orders, or even refrain from dissipating or destroying assets.

Step One: Read the Restraining Order

A restraining order has legal force of law. You must know what it says and you must comply. If you don’t, you can be held in contempt of court, and can face criminal penalties. At your contempt hearing, the court won’t care if you didn’t know what the order said (unless you were never served with the order).

Once you understand what the order requires, you must take action to comply. If the order says that you must move out of a marital home, you need to immediately make arrangements to live somewhere else. If you are prohibited from possessing a firearm or other weapon, you must take reasonable measures to remove the weapon from your possession.

Step Two: Hire an Attorney

You are entitled to legal counsel at any phase of the process. The earlier you retain counsel, the better, in most instances. You can attend the initial hearing on your own, but you will be at a distinct disadvantage, as you will be up against an experienced prosecutor in most instances. If you cannot hire an attorney before the hearing, you still need to attend. The judge will likely rule on the request, whether you are there or not.

Step Three: File an Answer with the Court

You may have an opportunity to speak at the hearing, but you are better served by filing a written response (an answer) to the request for a protective order. This allows you to tell your side of the story, and gives the judge additional information that may result in a modified protective order (particularly when there are minor children involved).

Contact Our Office

With offices in American Canyon, the Law Office of Lance Dacre brings more than 12 years of criminal defense experience to people charged with gang and gang-related crimes. We take a no-nonsense approach, always telling you what you need to hear, even if it’s not what you want to hear. Because we want you to make intelligent and informed decisions, we will keep you apprised of all developments in your case, as well as your options moving forward. To set up a free initial consultation, contact us by e-mail or call our office at 707-534-1854.

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