Domestic Violence and Criminal Threats

Domestic Violence and Criminal Threats

Help for People Accused of Domestic Violence

If you have been accused of domestic violence or criminal threats, you probably know that you could face serious consequences if convicted. Even a conviction for a misdemeanor domestic violence charge can have major repercussions. Conviction for a felony can be absolutely life-changing. You need to fight back to protect your reputation and your future.

My name is attorney J. David Markham. I am a certified criminal law specialist. Working out of my office in Lakeport, I serve people in that community, as well as Clearlake and the surrounding parts of Lake and Mendocino counties. I am a trial lawyer, ready to fight to see that your future is protected from the consequences of a domestic violence conviction.

Your Character is on Trial

One of the first strategies I employ in domestic violence cases is to have the charge or charges against you reduced. For example, if you were charged with a felony, I will ask for it to be reduced to a misdemeanor; if you were charged with a misdemeanor, I will ask for it to be reduced to disturbing the peace.

Domestic Violence and Criminal Threats

When the judge is considering whether or not to reduce the charges, your character will be examined. I may present character references to the judge, educate the judge about your background and the nature of the charges, and do everything possible to help the judge understand that this is a matter best reduced.

Does the Alleged Victim Have a Say?

Many domestic violence charges are based on misunderstandings. Often, no violence took place at all. Unfortunately, even if the victim asks that charges not be pressed, the prosecutor may still press them. The victim doesn’t necessarily have a say. Some allegations may be made in the context of a divorce, where one spouse is acting out of spite.

However, the victim’s statement will play a role. Witness statements may also play a role. The backgrounds of everyone involved may play a role. I will bring in an investigator when necessary to ensure that I am in possession of all the facts necessary to build a strong defense case for you.

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Examples of How I Defend Criminal Cases

 Criminal Cases

Jury Trial

On a routine traffic stop by law enforcement, the officer discovered a loaded rifle inside my client’s vehicle. The officer claimed the rifle was next to my client and when questioned about it, he took responsibility for it. He was charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of a loaded firearm in a prohibited place. He was also charged with 2 strikes and having served a prior prison term. He was facing a maximum sentence of 26 years to life. He was found not guilty on all counts by a jury after trial.

Motion for New Trial

My client was charged with possession of heroin for sale and several special allegations, including a prior strike. The case went to trial because the district attorney (DA) would not dismiss the strike. At trial, my client was found not guilty of the sales charge but he was convicted of the possession charge. It was later discovered that one of the jurors had pending charges against her that were not disclosed prior to trial. I filed a Motion for New Trial based on juror misconduct. The motion was granted. The DA later offered to dismiss the strike.

Motion to Dismiss for Delay in Prosecution

Law enforcement received a report of possible elder abuse. The case was investigated and filed more than 2 years later. Shortly thereafter, the victim and another witness passed away. However, the DA still refused to dismiss the case. They claimed they could prove the charges with other witnesses. I filed a Motion to Dismiss for Delay in Prosecution. The judge found the delay was unreasonable and prejudiced my client. He dismissed the case.

Motion to Suppress Evidence/Illegal Search

Officers stopped a vehicle occupied by my client after they received information that an occupant of that vehicle had discharged a firearm minutes earlier. My client was removed from the car and officers discovered methamphetamine in his possession. He was subsequently charged with felony possession of methamphetamine. I filed a Motion to Suppress Evidence asserting that the detention and search of my client were illegal. The judge agreed and dismissed the case.

Motion to Withdraw a Guilty Plea

My client pled guilty to a DUI after being represented by a public defender. My client later discovered that he had not received the bargain he believed he was supposed to have received. I filed a motion to withdraw his guilty plea, which was vehemently opposed by the DA. The motion was granted by the judge.

Pre-Trial Investigation

My client was pulled over in a vehicle that had been reported as carjacked. He was charged with several felonies, including carjacking and special allegations. He was facing more than 10 years in prison. After results of an investigation were presented to the District Attorney, the case was dismissed before trial.

 Criminal Cases

Expert Witness Investigation

My client was involved in a DUI that resulted in the death of another person. After conducting an accident investigation, the trained law enforcement officer determined my client was traveling 57 m.p.h. in a 35 m.p.h. zone. My client was charged with gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. That charge carried a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. He was also charged with several other felonies and faced a maximum sentence of 12 years in prison. At my request one of the top accident investigators in the state conducted his own investigation and determined the officer made several errors in his calculations. My client was traveling just over 40 m.p.h. His reports were presented to the DA and the DA agreed errors were made by the investigating officer. He subsequently let my client plead to a lesser, related charge of Vehicular Manslaughter While Intoxicated, which carried a maximum penalty of 4 years in prison. The balance of the charges were dismissed.

Preliminary Hearing/Violation of Miranda

My client was contacted by a deputy sheriff at a casino. The deputy arrested him on an outstanding warrant. The deputy asked him how he arrived at the casino and my client stated he had arrived on a motorcycle in the parking lot. He identified the motorcycle, which turned out to be stolen. My client was charged with receiving stolen property as a felony. At the preliminary hearing, my client’s statement was kept out because the judge determined my client’s Miranda rights were violated. The felony charge was dismissed.

Preliminary Hearing

My client was contacted by officers. When asked who he was, my client provided the officers with his brother’s name and other identifying information. My client was charged with Unauthorized Use of Personal Identifying Information, a felony. At the preliminary hearing, the judge dismissed the felony because the prosecution failed to prove all the elements of the crime.

Preliminary Hearing/Plea Negotiations

My client, who had a prior conviction for being an active member of a criminal street gang, was involved in a group fight. He and four others were facing felony charges of Assault With Force Likely to Produce Great Bodily Injury and Being an Active Member of a Criminal Street Gang. My client was facing a maximum penalty in excess of 12 years in state prison. After preliminary hearing the gang allegation was dismissed because the judge found the DA failed to meet his burden of proof. My client was then facing a maximum penalty of 7 years in prison on the remaining charges. After investigation was conducted and those reports were given to the DA, the DA let my client admit a violation of probation in exchange for dismissal of the remaining charges. My client received time in the county jail for the violation of probation.

 Criminal Cases

Plea Negotiations/Sentencing

My client was on felony probation for a first degree burglary, a strike offense. While on probation he was charged with several felony crimes, including grand theft. Through plea negotiations, the DA agreed to dismiss the strike. At sentencing the judge indicated he was inclined to deny probation and send my client to prison because he committed the crime while on felony probation for a strike. After evidence was presented and argument, the judge changed his mind and gave my client another chance at probation.

Violation of Probation Sentencing

My client was on felony probation for theft-related charges. She admitted to violations of probation, for not reporting timely, not completing her work service, and not paying her fines. The probation office recommended her probation be permanently revoked and she be sent to prison based on her prior record and her unsuccessful performance on probation. The judge indicated that he was inclined to follow that recommendation and send my client to prison. In addition to my client, several witnesses testified at the sentencing hearing. After argument, the judge changed his mind, went against the probation recommendation, and gave my client another chance at probation.

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Driving Accident

Driving Accident

More than 2 million people were injured in auto accidents in 2010 according to a recent report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that 16 percent of all fatal auto crashes and 21 percent of all auto crashes causing injury were the result of distracted driving.

One of the most common types of distracted driving is texting and driving. Studies show that drivers who are typing, sending or reading texts are at a much higher risk of causing auto accidents.

If you or a family member has been injured in a motor vehicle accident that was caused by a distracted driver, I encourage you to contact me, attorney J. David Markham. I represent clients in all distracted driving claims, including those involving:

  • Texting and driving
  • Negligent use of a cell phone
  • Eating or drinking
  • Arguing with passengers
  • Grooming or applying makeup
  • Use of GPS and other electronic devices

I am committed to helping people who have been injured due to the negligence and wrongdoing of others. To schedule a free consultation, contact my law office in Lakeport, California.

Put My Experience To Work For You

I have more than a decade of experience in personal injury law. I have represented clients who have sustained a wide range of injuries, including back and neck injuries, broken bones, knee and shoulder injuries, head trauma and other serious injuries. I also have experience advocating on behalf of family members in wrongful death claims.

As a former prosecutor and a former insurance defense lawyer, I have considerable trial experience and strong negotiation skills. I take time to prepare cases for trial and negotiate with a firm resolve. I vigorously pursue maximum compensation on behalf of accident victims. As a client of my firm, you will have a strong advocate on your side.

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