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About Los Angeles Criminal Law Center

Los Angeles Criminal Law Center is sponsored by The Rodriguez Law Group, a criminal defense firm serving Los Angeles, CA and the surrounding areas. The Rodriguez Law Group was founded by Ambrosio E. Rodriguez, a former prosecutor with over 18 years experience. During his time as a prosecutor, Mr. Rodriguez handled serious criminal matters including sex crimes and death penalty cases. The information on this site is intended to assist anyone going through the criminal justice process.


Hesperia Parents Arrested for Child Neglect, Endangerment

An Oak Hills High School student revealed that she and her siblings had been abused and neglected by their parents. An investigation revealed that the child, ages 10 to 14, were the victims of neglect and abuse.

The parents reportedly spent time producing rock cocaine at the family home, rather than concentrating on taking care of their children. The kids were routinely left home alone to fend for themselves while the parents traveled to Los Angeles to sell drugs.

A search of the family home uncovered rock cocaine, packing equipment, and scales, all of which indicate the sale of the controlled substance. Police also discovered that the family home lacked adequate food and hygiene supplies for the children. Warrants were issued for the parents’ arrest.

Police located and arrested the parents in Los Angeles outside of their children’s school. They were in possession of rock cocaine and cash at the time of the arrest. They face criminal charges for child endangerment and child neglect.

What is Child Endangerment?

Parents have to make sure that their kids aren’t put in situations that are potentially dangerous or harmful. Actions that endanger a child are considered acts of child abuse.

Child endangerment is defined in California Penal Code 273a PC. Parents are guilty of endangerment if they willfully cause or permit:

  1. A child to suffer unjustifiable pain or suffering under conditions likely to cause great bodily harm or death;
  2. The person or health of a child to be injured while having custody or care of that child; or
  3. The child to be placed in a situation where his or her person or health is endangered.

In other words, any parent or caretaker who allows a child to be put in a position that could reasonably cause them physical or mental harm can be guilty of child endangerment.

Child Neglect Under California Law

Parents in California also have an obligation to take care of their kids. This includes protecting their children and providing them with the things they need to be safe, happy, and healthy. Failing to provide for a child is considered neglect. Under California law, neglect is a form of child abuse.

Child neglect is defined in California Penal Code 270 PC. A parent or caretaker can be guilty of child neglect if they “willfully omit, without lawful excuse, to furnish necessary clothing, food, shelter…or medical care for [their] child.”

The Hesperia parents have been accused of failing to provide their children with food and a hygienic place to live. Under California law, this can be considered neglect.

Examples of Child Neglect and Child Endangerment

Child neglect and endangerment can take many shapes and forms. Examples of child neglect can include:

  • Failing to provide adequate food, water, or shelter for a child
  • Allowing a child to live in filth
  • Knowingly permitting a child to spend time with an abusive person
  • Employing unnecessarily cruel or unusual punishments
  • Chastizing, berating, or degrading a child verbally
  • Leaving a child alone for extended periods of time, and
  • Engaging in dangerous activities in a child’s home or with a child nearby.

Child endangerment can include almost any behavior that puts a child’s physical, emotional, or mental well being in danger.

Penalties for Child Neglect and Endangerment

Child neglect and child endangerment are both wobblers in California. This simply means that both crimes can be charged as misdemeanors or felonies. The charge will ultimately depend on the facts of each specific case.

Child Neglect

Child neglect is usually charged as a misdemeanor in California. Penalties for misdemeanor child neglect can include up to 12 months in a Los Angeles County jail, $2,000 in fines, and/or probation. Probation is commonly used to punish a parent for first-time offenses.

There are situations when a parent can be charged with felony child neglect. This may happen if a parent is repeatedly arrested for neglect or if they intentionally refuse to provide for their child. Penalties for felony child neglect can include 12 months plus one day in a California state prison and $2,000 in fines.

Child Endangerment

Child endangerment is charged as a misdemeanor unless there is evidence to show that a parent acted under circumstances likely to cause great bodily harm or death.

As a misdemeanor, child endangerment is punishable by 12 months in a Los Angeles County Jail, $1,000 in fines, and/or probation.

As a felony, child endangerment is punishable by up to 6 years in a California state prison and $10,000 in fines.

The parents in this particular case will also face criminal drug charges for the possession and sale of rock cocaine. Penalties imposed for drug convictions will be imposed in addition to those for child endangerment and abuse. As a result, the parents could face several years behind bars and lose their children in the process.

The parents should immediately seek the assistance of an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney. Hiring a lawyer will put them in the best position to secure the best possible outcome in their respective criminal cases.

A Burbank birthday celebration took an unexpected turn when a guest was shot and killed. According to reports, 21-year-old Christian Guevara got into a dispute with two men on the front lawn of a Burbank home around 2:30 in the morning. One of the men fired a gun during the struggle and shot Guevara in the stomach. Party guests did not call 911 but did transport him to a local hospital. He was transferred to a trauma center but ultimately died from the gunshot wound.

Two men, Robert Stout and Jose Valdivieso, both 19, were arrested in connection with the murder. Police claim that Stout confessed to pulling the trigger and killing Guevara. Valdivieso is believed to have been an accessory to the murder.

Murder vs. Accessory to Murder

How can two people be arrested for murder if only one person pulled the trigger? Both men may not be charged with murder. Instead, one will face murder charges, while the other will face charges for being an accessory to the murder.

Murder

Murder, as defined in Penal Code 187 PC, is the “unlawful killing of another person with malice aforethought.” Malice aforethought doesn’t mean that a murder has to be planned. Rather, it’s a state of mind that a defendant must have to be guilty of the crime.

There are two types of malice aforethought: express and implied. Express malice means that the defendant “unlawfully intended to kill” the other person. Implied malice means that the defendant intentionally committed an act that was dangerous while knowing that the consequences could be deadly.

Murder charges are broken down into two different categories: first and second degree.

First-degree murder is one of the most serious crimes a person can commit. A defendant can be charged with first-degree murder if the act is:

  • Willful, deliberate, and premeditated
  • A result of torture
  • Committed after lying in wait, or
  • Carried out with a destructive device or explosive.

Second-degree murder is a catch-all for all other intentional homicides.

Accessory to Murder

Just because you don’t pull the trigger doesn’t mean that you can’t face consequences for your involvement in an act of murder. Under Penal Code 31 PC, it is illegal to aid and abet a crime. You can be charged with aiding and abetting a murder if you “advise and encourage its commission.” In other words, aiding and abetting means that you know that someone intends to commit a crime and help by aiding, facilitating, promoting, encouraging, or instigating the offense.

In the Burbank murder case, one man pulled the trigger. The other man is believed to have encouraged the act of murder in some way. As a result, they can both be criminally liable.

Accessories Can Face the Same Penalties For Murder

Is it better to be an accessory to murder, rather than committing the murder itself? Not really. The person who commits a murder and the person who aids and abets that murder can face the same penalties. If the man who pulled trigger faces life behind bars, the man who instigated or encouraged the crime can also face life behind bars.

Why are the penalties the same? California law is designed to discourage anyone from participating in a crime, even in an advisory role.

Defending Murder Charges in Los Angeles

The two men have not been formally charged for their involvement in the Burbank murder. If they are, they will have the opportunity to defend themselves in court. The best thing they can do is hire experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys to handle their respective cases. Their attorneys will review the details of their cases and determine the most appropriate defenses.

Defenses that may be helpful in fighting murder charges include:

  • Lack of malice aforethought
  • Accident
  • Insanity
  • Mistaken identity
  • False accusation
  • Self-defense, or
  • Violation of Constitutional rights.

The stronger their defense arguments, the tougher it will be for the state to satisfy its burden of proof.

An up-and-coming rapper was recently arrested in Los Angeles on felony gun charges. According to reports, police received a tip that Blueface and a number of other rappers wearing expensive jewelry and showing off a lot of money in a dangerous part of town. Officers, believing that the rappers would be easy targets for robbery, responded to the tips. When they arrived on the scene, Blueface and others attempted to run away and get rid of the weapons they were holding at the time.

Blueface was stopped by police, who discovered that he was in possession of a loaded firearm. He was promptly arrested and is facing felony gun charges.

California Has Strict Gun Laws

The Second Amendment protects the right to bear arms. However, like other Constitutional Amendments, this right is not without limitations. Some federal and state laws limit the right to own and possess weapons. These laws are permissible if they are intended to protect the public and are not overly burdensome on gun owners.

Over the past few decades, California has implemented some of the strictest gun control laws in the country. These laws regulate:

  • Who can possess a firearm
  • When and where guns can be carried, and
  • How guns can be used.

Violations of these laws can carry harsh and severe consequences.

Gun Possession Laws in California

Who Can and Cannot Possess A Gun?

In California, guns and other firearms can be legally purchased by adults over the age of 21. However, there are limitations to who can purchase and possess a firearm. You may not buy a gun, even if you are over the age of 21, if you:

  • Have been convicted of a felony
  • Have been convicted of brandishing a weapon at least two times
  • Have certain misdemeanor convictions
  • Are addicted to certain drugs, including narcotics, or
  • Suffer from a mental illness.

Where Can Guns Be Legally Possessed?

If you are legally eligible to purchase and possess a gun, you may:

  • Keep it in your home or place of business, or
  • Transport it in a locked container.

You may also be able to carry a concealed firearm if you have a concealed weapons permit. This permit is only granted if you are of good moral character, have good cause for needing to conceal a weapon, and have completed mandatory training courses. Carrying a concealed weapon without a permit carries severe penalties.

Is It Ever Legal to Possess or Carry a Loaded Gun?

Yes. You can legally carry a loaded weapon if you have a concealed weapons permit. You may also possess a loaded firearm in the safety of your own home or place of business.

If you don’t have a concealed carry permit, you cannot possess a loaded gun in public. Under California Penal Code 25850 PC, it is illegal to “carry a loaded firearm on the person or in a vehicle while in any public place.”

How can police know if a firearm is loaded in violation of 25850 PC? State law grants officers the right to examine weapons carried in public or in vehicles in public. If you refuse to let an officer inspect your firearm, you can be arrested for violating the state’s prohibition on carrying a loaded gun in public.

Possession of a loaded weapon can be a misdemeanor or a felony.

Misdemeanor: You may be charged with a misdemeanor if this is your first offense and there are no aggravating factors involved in your case. As a misdemeanor, possession of a loaded gun in public is punishable by 12 months in a Los Angeles County Jail, fines, and probation.

Felony: You may be charged with a felony if you have prior misdemeanor or felony convictions or are not the gun’s registered owner. As a felony, possession of a loaded gun in public is punishable by between 16 months and 3 years in a California state prison, fines, and probation.

Once you are convicted of a crime it can be tough to restore your gun rights. Hiring an attorney can help to limit the consequences of your arrest. Call our criminal defense team today to learn more about how we can help you fight gun possession charges in Los Angeles.