Articles Posted in Criminal Defense

Forty seven year old Michael Helms from San Pablo and forty five year old Larry Hernandez from El Sobrante were arrested Tuesday when Detectives saw them taking a catalytic converter from a truck in Marin County. Helms and Hernandez were arrested last week in Sonoma County on possession of stolen property charges and were being watched by detectives from the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Property Crimes Investigation unit.

Mr. Helms and Mr. Hernandez are suspected of stealing at least three vehicles, breaking into a truck and stealing tools, along with stealing catalytic converters. Detectives conducing the surveillance of both men followed them from Rhonert Park to a park and ride lot in Novato where they observed Mr. Hernandez saw the catalytic converter off of a pick up truck in the lot.

Police officers approached both suspects who fled but were apprehended about a mile from the park and ride lot. Mr. Helms was arrested on charges of grand theft, conspiracy, possession of a controlled substance, possession of burglary tools, and driving on a suspended license. Mr. Hernandez was arrested for grand theft, conspiracy and possession of burglary tools. Both men were booked into the Marin County Jail.

Possession of a controlled substance can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the drug, the quantity possessed and the suspects prior criminal record. Grand theft is also a wobbler offense punishable by up to three years in state prison as a felony and by up to one year in the county jail as a misdemeanor.
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The Petaluma Police Department reported that officers with Sonoma County’s Avoid the 13 DUI Task Force arrested 80 people on suspicion of driving under the influence from the time they began their special enforcement efforts on December 17 through the Christmas weekend. Also, the CHP indicated that the, the holiday weekend crackdown on drunk driving netted six arrests.

Among those six drunk drivers arrested was 19 year old
Jaime Hernandez of Cloverdale. Mr. Hernandez was stopped around 4:20 p.m. last Saturday on northbound Highway 101 after he was observed swerving several times into the next lane. Mr. Hernandez was driving with his 4 children and was booked into the Sonoma County Jail on charges of felony child endangerment, drunken driving and driving without a license.

Having a minor under 14 years of age is an enhancement to a DUI charge pursuant to California Vehicle Code section 23572. However, the Sonoma County District Attorney could elect to charge Mr. Hernandez for the Child Endangerment charges on which he was booked. Conviction for felony child endangerment could result in a state prison sentence and mandatory attendance at a parenting class. An enhancement under section 23572 could result in additional jail time as part of any sentence for a DUI conviction.
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The CHP will have up to 80 percent of all available uniformed officers out in force for their maximum DUI enforcement period over the upcoming New Year’s holiday weekend.

In Solano County police officers with the Avoid the Solano 10 campaign will be targeting the “Worst of the Worst” DUI offenders and drivers who disobey court or Department of Motor Vehicles orders not to drive without a valid license. Officers will be going to court to monitor defendants as they leave the Solano County Superior Courthouse to make sure they do not drive without a valid license. Anyone caught driving without a valid license will face additional criminal charges, a possible violation of probation, fines, and possible jail time.

Driving with a license that has been suspended due to a DUI arrest is a misdemeanor carrying a minimum jail sentence of 10 days and a $1,000.00 fine. Punishment increases for multiple offenders and anyone convicted of a violation of California Vehicle Code section 14601.2 will be required by the DMV to install an ignition interlock device on any vehicle they own or operate.
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The Oakland Police Department announced this week that they have received a grant ffrom the California Office of Traffic Safety that will fund their pursuit of drunk drivers for the next year. Oakland police Lt. Sharon Williams said that the yearlong anti-DUI program received a grant of $240,000.

The Oakland Police will be using their new DUI funds to conduct driver’s license and drunk driving checkpoints, DUI warrant sweeps and driving under the influence saturation patrols during periods of high incidence drunken driving. Police Officers will also be conducing court stings, where they will follow DUI drivers with suspended licenses out of the courtroom and stop them if they are seen driving away from the courthouse.

In California a first offense DUI is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail. Further, a first time convicted drunk driver will have to attend a DUI program varying in length from three to nine months and may have their driving privilege suspended for 6 months or restricted for up to ten months depending on their blood alcohol level.

Also, Alameda County is one of four pilot counties in California that require the installation of an ignition interlock device for all DUI convictions including first offenses.
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Eliseo Hernandez, 43, was arrested on Friday evening after crashing his SUV on northbound highway 101 in Novato. Novao Police Officers said that Hernandez crashed after cutting off another vehicle and losing control.

Mr. Hernandez suffered minor injuries in the rollover and was treated at Marin General Hospital for head cuts. After receiving treatment at Marin General he was booked into the Marin County Jail on suspicion of drunk driving and driving with a suspended license.

The Marin County District Attorney will review the case and make a charging determination. Mr. Hernandez could be charged with a misdemeanor suspended license violation and a misdemeanor or felony DUI depending on whether he has any prior convictions for drunk driving. A conviction on a first offense for driving under the influence can result in the punishment including fines, license suspension, probation and mandatory attendance at a first offender DUI program.
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Bruno Humberto Silvamieto, Cesar Antonio Rondon-Contreras, Ivan Alexander Vasquez-Aguilar and Luigi Renzo Dagnino-Arriaran were arrested on Tuesday, May 18, 2010, on suspicion that they stole wine from their employer.

San Rafael Police began a theft investigation after a wine distributor reported that approximately $30,000 worth of wine was missing from his warehouse in northern San Rafael. Some of the stolen wine showed up for sale on Craigslist and San Rafael Police officers set up a sting posing as buyers. Mr. Dagnino-Arriaran, a 33-year-old Novato resident, was arrested when he showed up to sell some wine to the undercover police officers.

Corte Madera residents Mr. Silvamieto, 19, and Mr. Vasquez-Aguilar, 30, and 44 year old Mr. Rondon-Contreras, all worked for the wine distributor according the the San Rafael Police Department. All there men were arrested in connection with the Marin County theft on May 18, 2010.

All four suspects were booked into the Marin County Jail on charges including embezzlement, conspiracy and receiving stolen property.
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26 year old Clinton Mark Dahms of Sonoma was arrested on Monday after driving his van through front yards and hitting a house in a Novato neighborhood.

Novato Police Officers said that Mr. Dahms drove his 1994 Pontiac through multiple lawns hitting shrubs, a tree, a parked car and retaining wall before smashing into a home on Rowland Blvd. Mr. Dahms ran from his Pontiac Van after hitting the parked car an pushing it into the residence.

It took three Novato Police officers to arrest Mr. Dahms after he ran through another home. He apparently did not cooperate with the officers and was booked into the Marin County Jail on a charge of resisting arrest. He was also booked for DUI, hit and run, being under the influence of a controlled substance, battery on a police officer and trespassing.

The case will now be reviewed by the Marin County District Attorney’s Office for a formal charging determination. The charges for which Mr. Dahm’s was arrested are mix of misdemeanors and felonies and if convicted he could be placed on probation with county jail time or he could be sent to the California Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections, prison. Being under the influence of a controlled substance in violation of Health and Safety Code section 11550(a) carries a minimum sentence of 90 days in jail. If convicted in this case Mr. Dahms may be required to attend a driving under the influence program, make restitution for the damages he caused, and attend drug treatment.
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A former Marin resident, Thomas John Clagett, 27, was arraigned in the Marin County Superior Court on Monday. Mr. Clagett has been charged with robbing a bank in Novato in 2007.

He was extradited to Marin County from Ohio last week after the FBI arrested him at his father’s home.

Bank robbery is a “strike” offense and is charged under Penal Code section 211. Being defined as both a serious and violent offense a conviction for a robbery carries a presumptive state prison sentence of up to 5 years.

Mr. Clagett will be back in the Marin County Courthouse on Thursday to enter a plea.
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A Daly City man and woman were arraigned in the Marin County Superior Court on Monday on a charge of possession of cocaine for sale. Marco Larrios, 32, and Carmen Roxana Gonzalez, 27 were arrested on April 15, 2010, in Ignacio. A third person, Wilfredo Umanzor, 24, of San Francisco, was also arrested and has been charged with being a lookout for Mr. Larrios and Ms. Gonzalez.

A plea hearing for all three suspects is pending and they remain in the Marin county jail with Federal Immigration holds.

Possession of cocaine for sale is a felony under the California Health and Safety Code and carries a maximum sentence of 4 years in state prison. Depending on a person’s criminal history, the facts surrounding her arrest and the amount of drugs possessed, it may be possible to have a drug sales charge reduced to a simple possession charge.

An experienced San Rafael criminal defense attorney will review the legality of the arrest and may run a motion to suppress evidence based on an illegal search or seizure in violation of the suspect’s rights under the 4th amendment to the United States Constitution. If a motion to suppress is granted the drug charges would likely be dismissed.
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A 46-year-old Woodacre woman was arrested for driving under the influence on Sunday night in San Anselmo.

San Anselmo Police officers got a call around 6:30 p.m. concerning a car being driven erratically. They located the suspected vehicle near the intersection of Red Hill and Sir Francis Drake and effectuated a traffic stop.

The driver was found to have an alleged blood-alcohol level three times the legal limit of .08 percent. She was booked into the Marin County Jail on suspicion of DUI and child endangerment as police officers found a 6-year-old boy in the car with her.

The suspect could be charged with an enhancement, specific to driving under the influence, for having a minor under the age of 14 in the car with her at the time of her arrest. However, the Marin County DA could also elect to charge her with a separate offense for child endangerment which could carry a county jail sentence of up to one year and result her her attending parenting classes if she is convicted.
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