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    Understanding the California Court Process

    Last updated 1 year ago

    An individual arrested for a crime can appear in city, county, state, or federal court. Furthermore, he or she may be charged with an infraction, misdemeanor, or felony. The sheer complexity of each of these combinations underscores the importance of hiring a criminal defense attorney to represent you in the event of any brushes with the law. Meanwhile, here is a basic overview of the criminal process in California state courts.

    Step 1: Arraignment
    While the process is set in motion with an arrest, the first process involving the court system is the arraignment. This is a formal hearing in front of a judge where the prosecutor will list the charges against you and ask you for an initial pleading. Your attorney can advise you on how to respond.

    Step 2: Pretrial Motions
    If you plead not guilty at the arraignment, your attorney will begin reviewing the facts and evidence in your case. He or she will motion to suppress certain evidence in order to ensure that the jury is not influenced by outside information. The success or failure of these motions can subsequently affect any plea agreement negotiations that may also be going on.

    Step 3: Trial
    After all motions have been decided, the judge will schedule a jury or bench trial. This can last anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days. The trial affords both sides the opportunity to present evidence and examine witnesses. Following the trial, the judge or jury will render a verdict and sentencing determination.

    Step 4: Appeal
    In the event that you are unhappy with the verdict or sentencing, your attorney may help you appeal the verdict to the next highest court. However, that process involves a great deal of research and motion writing, so speak with your counsel before filing any paperwork. 

    Northern California residents charged with state or federal crimes should look no further than the law office of Hinkle, Jachimowicz, Pointer & Emanuel to handle their defense case. Our attorneys have decades of experience and speak fluent Spanish and Vietnamese. Call our office today at (408) 916-1413 to learn how our trial team can better your situation.

    What Parents Should Know About Sex Crimes Among Teenagers

    Last updated 1 year ago

    Teenagers can face a sex crime charge for having consensual sex with an underage boyfriend or girlfriend or sending an inappropriate photo through text message. According to a 2010 USA Today report, juveniles commit more than one-third of sex crimes against other juveniles. While these statistics may seem high, it is important to note that a number of juvenile sex cases do not involve violent criminal acts.

    Juveniles Can Be Charged with Sex Crimes

    Like adults, juveniles can be charged with a range of sex crimes, including rape or child molestation. The severity of charges that a juvenile faces depends on the type of sexual activity, the age of the child involved, and the difference in age between the offender and the victim.

    Sex Crimes Carry Lifelong Consequences

    If a teenager is convicted of a sex crime, she is required to register as a sex offender for life under Megan’s Law. This registration will affect future employment prospects, housing options, and the ability to plan a family. Years after registering as a sex offender, a person can encounter problems becoming involved at her child’s school, like volunteering or coaching afterschool activities.

    Sexting Has Become Common Among Teens

    Sending sexually explicit text messages has become a problem among teenagers. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), approximately one in six teenagers between the ages of 12 and 17 who own a cell phone have either received or sent nude pictures via text message. In California, a teenager caught sexting can be expelled from school and may even face child pornography charges. Teenagers can be charged even if the original intent of the photo was for private purposes.

    If your teenager has been charged with a sex crime, the criminal defense attorneys of Hinkle, Jachimowicz, Pointer & Emanuel can help. Call (408) 916-1413 to reach a member of our San Jose office. Our attorneys will work to explore your teenager’s options and protect his or her rights.

    Understanding the Differences Between Homicide, Manslaughter, and Murder

    Last updated 1 year ago

    Though the terms “homicide” and “murder” are frequently used interchangeably, they do not necessarily refer to the same crime. Homicide is the legal term that describes taking the life of another human being, but not necessarily unlawfully. For example, homicide could involve the taking of another’s life in self-defense. An unlawful homicide, on the other hand, can be classified as either murder or manslaughter.

    First-Degree Murder

    For someone to be convicted of first-degree murder, the prosecution must prove that the killing was deliberate and premeditated or that it occurred during the course of a dangerous felony. Premeditated murder means that the defendant planned the crime ahead of time and made a conscious choice to take another’s life. However, a defendant can also be guilty of first-degree murder if he was committing a dangerous crime, such as armed robbery, that resulted in someone’s death.

    Second-Degree Murder

    If someone is committing a felony without specific intent to take another’s life, but accidently kills someone, this person can be charged with second-degree murder. Unlike many first-degree murder charges, second-degree murder charges do not involve a prior plan. However, both first- and second-degree murder charges are serious offenses that can result in substantial prison time.


    There are two main manslaughter charges: voluntary and involuntary. Voluntary manslaughter involves a situation in which the defendant was provoked and killed in the heat of passion. Involuntary manslaughter occurs when someone engages in behavior that shows a reckless disregard for another’s safety, and this disregard results in death. Involuntary manslaughter involves carelessness rather than purposeful killing, so it is treated as a less serious homicide charge than murder or voluntary manslaughter.   

    Whether you are facing your first criminal charge or you already have a prior criminal record, Hinkle, Jachimowicz, Pointer & Emanuel can help. We have more than 30 years of experience providing representation to San Jose residents. If you have been charged with murder, manslaughter, or any other serious criminal offense, contact us as at (408) 916-1413.

    California Laws: DUI with Injury

    Last updated 1 year ago

    If a driver is operating his vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol and a serious accident results, the intoxicated driver can be charged with a felony DUI. These accidents can involve injury to other drivers, passengers, or nearby pedestrians. The penalties for an accident involving an injured party range from 90 days to one year in county jail or 16 months to three years in prison.

    If more than one party is injured in an accident involving an intoxicated driver, the driver faces another year penalty for each additional injured party. However, in order for the driver to be charged with a felony DUI, the county attorney must prove that the driver was intoxicated at the time that he caused the injury. Additionally, a driver faces more serious felony charges if he caused an accident that resulted in death.

    With extensive experience representing San Jose residents charged with criminal DUI, Hinkle, Jachimowicz, Pointer & Emanuel can help protect your rights. Call (408) 916-1413 to speak with a San Jose DUI lawyer today.

    3 Steps to Take After Receiving a Speeding Ticket

    Last updated 1 year ago

    Receiving a speeding ticket in California can cause your insurance rates to increase, add points to your driving record, and result in significant fines. In addition, gaining four points on your California driving record in one year can result in the suspension of your driver’s license. Simply choosing to ignore your speeding ticket can cause a bench warrant to be issued for your arrest.

    Contact an Experienced Attorney

    The sooner you speak with an experienced traffic violation lawyer, the better your chances of successfully fighting your ticket. An attorney will be able to carefully examine the circumstances surrounding your ticket and sort out your driving record. After consulting with an attorney, you should have a better idea of how your case will progress.

    Request a Trial

    Your attorney can help you ask for a court trial by a judicial officer in the California court system. You can also request a trial by sending a form through mail. When you request a trial, you will need to ask the clerk for the date of your arraignment hearing. At this hearing, the judge will read your charges, explain your rights, and ask if you would like to plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest. If you plead not guilty, the judge will set a date for your future trial.

    Pay Bail

    If you ask for a trial, the judge may require you to pay the traffic fine as bail. Once you pay, the court will hold onto the payment unless you are found not guilty at your trial. Your traffic trial will likely take place before a judge as opposed to a jury. However, if you were charged with an infraction or a misdemeanor, you can request a jury trial.

    An attorney can help you decide if it would be best for your case to be heard in front of a judge or jury. Hinkle, Jachimowicz, Pointer & Emanuel has extensive experience representing San Jose residents with traffic violations. To schedule a consultation in our office, call us at (408) 916-1413.

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