Criminal Defense Attorney

Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney in Murrieta, CA

Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney in Murrieta, CA

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In 2015, the FBI estimated that over 10,797,088 arrests were made nationwide. Out of the arrests made that year, an estimated 505,681 arrests were for violent crimes, and 1,463,213 arrests were for property crimes. Moreover, the largest category of arrests made was for drug abuse violations, which was estimated at 1,488,707. This offense was followed by larceny-theft and DUI arrests, which were estimated at 1,160,390 and 1,089,171, respectively.

These statistics indicate that every year millions of parents are separated from their children due to violations of law, and the most devastating fact is that the Bureau of Justice Statistics has estimated that as of December 31, 2016, over six million Americans were being held in adult corrections facilities. Unfortunately, battling the judicial system is a fight that many Americans have lost, which is why you should always obtain the services of an experienced criminal attorney if you have been charged with a crime.

Contact the criminal defense attorneys at Lapine Law today for skilled defense representation. From our office in Murrieta, CA, we serve clients throughout the area, including residents of Temecula, Winchester, and Lake Elsinore.

Drug Crimes

In 2018, California made the recreational use of marijuana legal. Moreover, the passage of Proposition 47 has now made the possession of most controlled substances a misdemeanor offense. However, an offender can still face a maximum sentence of up to a year in the county jail for possession of a controlled substance. Moreover, despite Proposition 47, some possession cases can still be charged as felonies depending on the amount of the controlled substance that was found in an offender's possession.

Possession of a Controlled Substance for Sale

Possession of a controlled substance for sale is still a felony offense under California law, and it is punishable by two, three, or four years in prison. However, it is important to note that the prosecution must prove that the controlled substance was indeed for sale. This is normally accomplished through the presence of the following items:

  • Large amounts of money
  • Baggies or other distribution containers
  • Scales

The absence of these items in an offender's possession can be used by a criminal attorney to argue that the controlled substance was for personal use only, which would be charged as a misdemeanor in most cases.

Assault & Battery

Often, the terms "assault" and "battery" are used interchangeably, but under California law, these crimes are separate and unique. Moreover, certain factors can enhance the type of charge(s) brought against an offender to aggravated assault or aggravated battery, which carry much harsher sentences.

California Assault Laws

For a person to commit assault, they must attempt to commit a violent injury on another person, and the offender must have the ability to actually carry this attempt out. Simple assault is a misdemeanor charge that is punishable by up to six months in the county jail, a fine of $1,000, or both.

Aggravated Assault

Certain circumstances can allow a prosecutor to charge an offender with the more serious crime of aggravated assault, but in order to be successful, the state attorney must demonstrate that there was an "aggravating circumstance," the most common of which would be the use of a deadly weapon in the attempt. The sentences imposed on an offender very greatly for aggravated assault depending on the circumstances surrounding the crime. If convicted, an offender could face one year in the county jail, two to four years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, or a combination of fines and prison.


The difference between battery and assault under California law is that battery involves physical contact with another person, whereas assault is an attempt to cause another person harm. For a person to commit battery, they must willfully and unlawfully use force or violence against another person. The broad nature of California's battery statute allows the crime to take many forms. In the case of simple battery, the offense is considered a misdemeanor, and if convicted, an offender could face up to six months in the county jail, a fine of up to $2,000, or both.

Aggravated Battery

Aggravated battery, however, is considered a very serious crime that, depending on the circumstances of the crime, can have long-term effects on an offender's future. Similar to aggravated assault, there is usually one or more aggravating factors that caused the offender to be charged with aggravated battery, such as inflicting serious bodily injury on the victim. If convicted, an offender could be sentenced to two to four years in prison or up to one year in the county jail.

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence, which is also referred to as "domestic battery" under California law, is a serious crime. Domestic battery can be a misdemeanor or felony offense depending on the circumstances of the crime. Misdemeanor domestic battery is punishable by up to a year in the county jail, a fine of $2,000, or both. Moreover, an individual convicted of domestic battery can also have a restraining order taken out by their spouse, lose their right to own a firearm, and be ordered to complete probation and a mandatory batterer's program.


Driving under the influence can take many forms in California depending on the age of the offender and the type of vehicle the offender was operating. The age, vehicle type, and blood alcohol content (BAC) levels needed to charge an individual with DUI are listed below:

  • Under 21 - BAC of .01% or higher
  • Age 21 and older driving a non-commercial vehicle - BAC of .08% or higher
  • Any driver operating a commercial vehicle - BAC of .04% or higher

First DUI in California

Just being charged with DUI can have a serious impact on an offender's life, but if convicted, a person would have to pay up to $1,000 in fines, complete a DUI program, and face up to six months in jail. The sentences imposed on an offender can vary based on factors such as the offender's BAC at the time of the arrest and whether or not anyone was injured during the commission of the crime.

Multiple DUIS in California

Like many other states, enhanced sentences are imposed on offenders with one or multiple past DUI convictions. The severity of the sentence is normally determined by the number of past DUI convictions an offender has, assuming that there aren't any other aggravating circumstances, which would enhance the offender's sentence or additional charges. For example, if an offender is convicted of a second DUI within ten years of their first DUI conviction, the offender could face up to one year in jail, have their driver's license suspended for up to two years, and be forced to complete an 18-month DUI program. Moreover, the offender will have to pay heavy fines and possibly be placed on probation.

DMV Hearings

When a person is arrested for DUI, the offender will actually have two pending legal matters. A DUI charge is a criminal matter that is handled in a court of law, and a DMV hearing, which is an administrative matter that is conducted by the DMV to address the suspension of an offender's license. The DMV hearing is very different from arguing a case in a court of law, but the consequences of losing this hearing can have a serious impact on an individual's daily life. There are some things to keep in mind with respect to a DMV hearing.

  1. You have to request a DMV hearing within 10 days of your arrest. It is not automatically scheduled for you like a trial, and if you fail to request a hearing, your license will be automatically suspended on the 31st day after your arrest.
  2. You have the right to be represented by an attorney at your DUI hearing. However, you can only be represented by an attorney at your own expense. Unlike a criminal matter, an attorney will not be provided for you.

Often, the suspension of a person's license is the worst and most burdensome punishment imposed as a result of a DUI conviction, which is why hiring an experienced DUI and DMV hearing attorney is so important.

Sex Crimes

One of the cornerstones of our judicial system is that a person accused of a crime should be presumed innocent until proven guilty. Unfortunately, this principle is often reversed in present-day America, especially when an individual is accused of a sex-related offense. Due to this trend, an individual accused of a sex crime can lose their friends, family, and reputation in the blink of an eye.

Many crimes are encompassed in the term "sex crimes" including rape, lewd acts with a child, sexual battery, and indecent exposure to name a few. Sex crimes can vary in severity with some being misdemeanors and others being felonies. In addition to facing possible jail time or a prison sentence, most individuals convicted of a sex crime are forced to register as sex offenders.

Riverside Prostitution Lawyer

Over 5,000 people were arrested for sex offenses in 2017. This includes men and women arrested for prostitution. When an individual engages in lewd acts or intercourse with another person for compensation, both parties have engaged in the "act of prostitution". This offense is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, or both.

Solicitation Laws in California

Additionally, offering or asking someone to engage in lewd acts or intercourse in exchange for compensation, which is referred to as "solicitation of prostitution," is also a misdemeanor crime, and if convicted of solicitation, the possible sentences that could be imposed on an offender are identical to those imposed on an individual who actually engaged in an act of prostitution.

Violation of Probation

As of the end of 2014, over 200,000 adults were on probation in California. When given the choice between jail or prison time and probation, most people are more than willing to accept probation. However, successfully completing court-ordered probation can be a challenging task. The terms of an offender's probation vary based on the type of crime committed. These terms include things such as paying restitution, performing community service, and taking mandatory random drug tests. Failure to comply with any of the terms of an offender's probation can lead to a violation of probation (VOP).

Probation Revocation Hearings

When an offender has violated their probation, they will normally be arrested and must attend a probation revocation hearing. Although an offender still retains many of their rights at this hearing such as the right to an attorney, there are several differences between a probation revocation hearing and a normal criminal trial-the most important of which is that a judge presides over and decides the outcome of the hearing without a jury.

After the hearing, the judge will either reinstate the probation with its original terms, reinstate the probation with stricter terms, or send the offender to jail or prison. Due to the ramifications of this hearing, an offender should always employ the services of an experienced criminal law attorney to argue the merits of the offender's case, including the reasons why the offender should remain on probation as opposed to being sentenced to jail or prison time.


One mistake should not ruin a person's future. Crimes are committed for a host of different reasons such as immaturity, poor choices in friends, or maybe just a simple lapse in good judgment. Due to this, California law allows an offender to have their record expunged as long as the offender has either completed their probation or did not serve time in a California state prison.

If an offender is granted an expungement, the offender will, in most situations, not have to disclose their previous crimes to future employers. However, the expungement process is complex. So, you should always employ a criminal lawyer who will guide you through the expungement process and assist with the completion and submission of all the documentation required by the state to grant the expungement.

Being charged with a crime can feel overwhelming, and often, our clients feel like no one can help them. Andrei Lapine is an experienced criminal law attorney providing legal services in many facets of criminal law in southern California. Attorney Lapine has dedicated his career to helping individuals accused of a crime reach the best possible resolution to their cases.

Don't gamble with your future. Reach out to us at Lapine Law to find out how our criminal defense attorney can help you. We represent clients in Murrieta, California, and its neighboring cities. If you were charged with a crime in Temecula, Hemet, or Menifee, contact us today to set up a consultation.