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Arson is the willful and malicious setting fire to, burning, or causes to be burned, or aiding, counseling, or procuring the burning of any structure, forest land, or property (California Penal Code 451). Aggravated arson occurs when the person sets fire to, burns, or causes to be burned, or aids, counsels, or procures the burning of any residence, structure, forest land, or property under specified circumstances, such as acting with intent to cause injury.

Assault And Battery

Assault and Battery is when one person tries or physically strikes a person and/or acts in a threatening manner, placing an individual in fear of immediate harm. More serious assaults or batteries occur when an individual tries or does cause severe injury (Great Bodily Injury- GBI) with a deadly weapon.(California Penal Code Section 240/242-243)

Assault with a deadly weapon  (California Penal Code Section 245(A) This offense involves the personal use of a dangerous or deadly weapon while attacking or striking another individual. Typically the threat of physical injury is an “assault” and unlawful offensive touching is considered to be a “battery”. This offense can be charged as a “Strike Offense” if the assault caused Great Bodily Injury (GBI) to the Victim.


Bribery is the offer of something of value in exchange for influence on another individual, employee or official. Money is paid in exchange for favors/favorable treatment to avoid governmental intervention. (California Penal Code Section 92-100).


Burglary is the entering into a listed places with intent to commit grand or petit larceny or any felony. (California Penal Code Section 459). Burglary in the “first degree” is the burglary of an inhabited dwelling house, a vessel that is inhabited and designed for habitation, a floating home, a trailer coach, or the inhabited portion of any other building. All other kinds of burglary are “second degree” burglary.(ie.Auto Burglary)

Car Jacking

Car jacking is the commandeering of a motor vehicle through the assault and/or physical injury upon a person while the vehicle is occupied. This crime requires the vehicle to be taken against the will of the driver and by means of force or fear. (California Penal Code Section 215). Typically the car jackers are armed and the driver is forced out of the vehicle with the threat or issuance of bodily injury or death.

Check Fraud

Check fraud is the fraudulent use of an individual’s check or checking account in order to steal money from the victim’s account. (California Penal Code Section 470). The crime typically involves the utilization of another persons personal financial information (i.e., note, cashier’s check or personal check) in order to obtain funds from that person’s account. This includes stealing checks from an individual’s mailbox or business and attempting to negotiate the forged documents from the victim’s account.

Child Abuse

Child abuse requires cruelty upon a child, which could include physical or mental abuse. Neglect and failure to care for a child will also result in charges being filed. In most instances, teachers, medical workers and social workers are required by law to report acts of child abuse to authorities. (California Penal Code Section 269-273.75).

Child Pornography

Both State and Federal Law make it a crime to be in possession of, distribute, send, prepare, publish, or sell child pornography to exploit a minor. Recently Child Pornography Laws have been utilized to punish pedophiles and offenders using computer technology and the Internet to commit their crimes. The government files these charges in an attempt to confiscate obscene images of children engaging in sexual conduct. There are many constitutional defenses to these crimes and an attorney can assist you in the protection of your civil rights. (California Penal Code Section 311.1(a)-311.4).

Child Sexual Abuse

Aggravated sexual assault includes rape, sodomy, oral copulation, sexual penetration upon a minor under the age of fourteen (14). (California Penal Code Section 269).

Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence (DV) occurs when acts of physical harm are inflicted by one family member on another member of the same household.

A Domestic Violence Charge (California Penal Code Section 273.5) requires the infliction of corporal injury to the other spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend or family member (cohabitant). This offense is a “wobbler” and can be charged as a Felony or Misdemeanor. The charging decesion depends on the degree of  physical injury and alleged abuse. Lesser-included offenses include Penal Code Section 243(E) (battery on a domestic spouse or co-habitant) and (California Penal Code Section 415 (1) (disturbing the peace – fighting in public).

Battery charge- California Penal Code 243(E). This code section requires unlawful touching of a spouse/co-habitant or family member without the specific requirement of an actual injury. Most individuals charged with domestic violence (California Penal Code Section 273.5) will be charged with both of these code sections alternatively. This is so that the prosecutor can wait for evidence (i.e., pictures, medical records) to see if they can prove the case or need to amend the charges. There are a multitude of consequences for these violations, including but not limited to; jail time, criminal restraining orders, fines, community service, anger management classes, domestic violence shelter fees, domestic violence counseling, as well as parenting classes. Furthermore, a conviction for domestic violence and/or a finding of domestic violence in the Criminal court, can result in termination or suspension of child custody/visitation for that parent in civil court.

Driving Under the Influence – DUI

Driving while under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs- makes it unlawful for one to operate a motor vehicle while the person’s ability to operate the vehicle is impaired; or the driver is driving with a blood alcohol level of .08% or greater. Typically an officer will stop a driver for committing a vehicle code violation or other traffic Infractions and then investigate the driver for drunk driving.

After an initial contact by the officer, the officer may have the individual step out of the vehicle and perform field coordination tests and/or roadside tests. These balancing tests include the line walk, finger dexterity test, modified position of attention, as well as reciting the alphabet. These tests help the officer determine the physical or cognitive abilities of the arrestee. If the officer believes that there is probable cause to arrest the individual for driving under the influence (DUI), then the arrestee is taken down to the police station to take a chemical test. Chemical testing pursuant to Title 17 of the California Code of Regulations include breath samples and/or a blood draws. Urine tests are also available but no longer used within the State of California. If you have been arrested for Drunk Driving, you must immedaitely contact the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) within Ten (10) days from the date of your arrest, to request an Administrative Per Se (APS) hearing to fight to save your license. Failure to do this will result in the denial of a hearing and the immedate suspension of your drivers license. Our DUI Lawyers can set this hearing for you, in an effort to save your license. We have succesfully handled thousands of California DMV hearings over the last Thirty-five (35) years. 

A DUI sentence can result in severe consequences including;  jail, fines, license suspension, car impoundment, installation of an ignition interlock device (IID), probation, as well as lengthy alcohol programs.( California Vehicle Code Sections (CVC) 23152(a), 23152(b),23152(c) 23152(d) 23152(f) 23153(a), and 23153(b). Please see our Driving Under the Influence (DUI) page for more information)

Drug Cases

It is a crime to possess or be under the influence of a controlled substance including; marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, molly, xanax etc. These criminal charges are distinguished by the type of drug possessed/or used and the amount. Possession of small amounts of narcotics typically result in a “simple possession” case and are now charged charged as misdemeanors pursuant to Propisition 47. When large amounts of drugs are found, this can result in charges being brought in Federal or State Court for possession with intent to sell, transportation or distribution. (California Health and Safety Code Section 11378-11379 and Health and Safety Code 11377(a) Simple Possession and-under the influence (Health and safety Code Section 11550).

When charged with a drug offense, one may be able to avoid a conviction by the completion of the Deferred Entry of Judgment (DEJ) Program, the Pretrial Diversion Program (PDP) or Proposition 36.(California Penal Code Section 1000.1). These drug programs allow for an individual to complete drug/ alcohol counseling and pay fines and fees, in order to avoid a criminal conviction. So long as an individual completes their drug program and stays crime and drug free during the probationary period (18 months to two (2) years) the charges will be dismissed.

Drunk in Public

Drunk in Public, also known as Public intoxication or (DIP) involves being drunk or incapacitated in public or disturbing the peace of another individual. An individual must be intoxicated to such a degree that they are no longer able to care for his or her own safety, and may be a danger to themselves or to others. The offense can also involve obstructing the free use of a sidewalk. (California Penal Code Section 647(f)). One can also be charged with disturbing the peace. (California Penal Code Section 415). Making loud noises in public (Penal Code Section 415(2)) fighting in public (California Penal Code Section 415(1) or offensive words (California Penal Code Section 415(3)). These offenses are typically brought when individuals are a hazard to public safety.


Extortion is the obtaining of property from another, with his consent …induced by a wrongful use of force or fear.( California Penal Code Section 518) Fear, for purposes of extortion may be induced by a threat, either to accuse the individual threatened of any crime; or, to expose, or impute to him any deformity, disgrace or crime. (California Penal Code Section 519). Also, every person who, with intent to extort any money or other property from another, sends or delivers to any person any letter or other writing, whether subscribed or not, expressing or implying, or adapted to imply, any threat such as is specified in Section 519, is punishable in the same manner as if such money or property were actually obtained by means of such threat. (California Penal Code Section 523). Demanding that the victim reveal the victim’s PIN code for the victim’s ATM card is extortion.

Extortion criminalizes the making of threats that, in and of themselves, may not be illegal.( Philippine Export & Foreign Loan Guarantee Corp. v. Chuidian (1990) 218 Cal. App. 3d 1058, 1079, 267 Cal. Rptr. 457).


Forgery is the wrongful making or uttering of a false document with the intent to defraud. The making. or the attempt to use the forgery is the uttering. Forgery may be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor.

The crime of forgery (California Penal Code Section 470) includes:

(a) Every person who, with the intent to defraud, knowing that he or she has no authority to do so, signs the name of another person or of a fictitious person to any of the items listed in subdivision (d) is guilty of forgery.

(b) Every person who, with the intent to defraud, counterfeits or forges the seal or handwriting of another is guilty of forgery.

(c) Every person who, with the intent to defraud, alters, corrupts, or falsifies any record of any will, codicil, conveyance, or other instrument, the record of which is by law evidence, or any record of any judgment of a court or the return of any officer to any process of any court, is guilty of forgery.

(d) Every person who, with the intent to defraud, falsely makes, alters, forges, or counterfeits, utters, publishes, passes or attempts or offers to pass, as true and genuine, any of the following items, knowing the same to be false, altered, forged, or counterfeited, is guilty of forgery: any check, bond, bank bill, or note, cashier’s check, traveler’s check, money order, post note, draft, any controller’s warrant for the payment of money at the treasury, county order or warrant, or request for the payment of money, receipt for money or goods, bill of exchange, promissory note, order, or any assignment of any bond, writing obligatory, or other contract for money or other property, contract, due bill for payment of money or property, receipt for money or property, passage ticket, lottery ticket or share purporting to be issued under the California State Lottery Act of 1984, trading stamp, power of attorney, certificate of ownership or other document evidencing ownership of a vehicle or undocumented vessel, or any certificate of any share, right, or interest in the stock of any corporation or association, or the delivery of goods or chattels of any kind, or for the delivery of any instrument of writing, or acquittance, release or discharge of any debt, account, suit, action, demand, or any other thing, real or personal, or any transfer or assurance of money, certificate of shares of stock, goods, chattels, or other property whatever, or any letter of attorney, or other power to receive money, or to receive or transfer certificates of shares of stock or annuities, or to let, lease, dispose of, alien, or convey any goods, chattels, lands, or tenements, or other estate, real or personal, or falsifies the acknowledgment of any notary public, or any notary public who issues an acknowledgment knowing it to be false; or any matter described in subdivision (b).

Grand Theft

Theft  can be one of two degrees: Grand theft or Petty theft.

The theft is grand theft if: (1) The money, labor, or real or personal property taken is of a value exceeding $950, or if it is taken by a servant, agent, or employee and the aggregate value of what was taken is $950 or more in any consecutive 12-month period; or, (2) The property taken is a dog of a value exceeding $950; or (3) The property taken is a specified farm commodity or aquaculture product, or real estate converted by severance, of a value exceeding $100; (4) The property is taken from the person of another; or (5) The property taken is a firearm, specified animal, gold dust, mercury, or amalgam, of any value; or, (6) The property taken is an automobile.(California Penal Code Section 484/487) All other theft of $950 or less, is petty theft. (California Penal Code Section 484/488).

Hit and Run

There are several California statutes, which deal with the prohibition of leaving the scene of an accident without exchanging insurance information. The crime is more serious if there was an injury involved. (California Vehicle Code Section 20001 (a)

The crime of Hit & Run Causing Property Damage, involves a person leaving the scene of an accident which has  resulted in damage to any property including vehicles, and failing to exchange auto insurance information. (1) You are to immediately stop your vehicle at the nearest location and locate the owner of the property and obtain their insurance information as well as provide your information to them. The information provided must include license and registration as well as the address of the driver of the vehicle and the registered owner, or (2) leave a written notice giving your name, address and insurance information, for the owner of the property which was damaged. You should also leave  your statement as to how the accident occurred. This crime requires several elements to be proven, which makes it more difficult for a prosecutor to obtain a conviction. This code section is punishable by a County Jail Sentence of up to six (6) months and a $1000 fine or both. California Vehicle Code Section 20002(A).

The crime of Hit & Run Causing Injury means; “The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to any person, other than himself or herself, or in the death of any person shall immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident…”(California Vehicle Code Section 20001 (a). Vehicle Code Section 20003, makes it a crime to fail to comply with the requirements of California Vehicle Code Section 20002, along with failure to render aid or assistance to another party that is injured.
Restitution may be ordered in Hit & Run cases. Please see People v. Carbahall (1995) Cal. 4th 1114 and People v. Phelps (1996) 41 Cal. App. 4Th 946.

Identity Theft

Identity theft is the use of another person’s identifying information whether personal or financial, in an attempt to steal their money. This includes illegally obtaining social security numbers, names, addresses, credit card numbers, etc,. that are often stolen online or from individuals mail. Identity theft has become a huge problem resulting in millions of dollars in losses every year. When an individuals’ identity has been stolen and the information utilized, the damage and/or harm to the victim can be wide-ranging and difficult to repai.(California Penal Code Section 528-539).

Indecent Exposure

The purposeful display of one’s genitals in a public place or in any place, for sexual gratification, where there are others to be offended or annoyed. Said crime can result in a sexual assault charge if the offender makes physical contact with the victim in any way. (California Penal Code Section 314). Conviction of a sex crime can also result in mandatory sex offender registration pursuant to California Penal Code Section 290.1.

Internet Crime

There are many other crimes that can be charged as a result of one’s unlawful use of the Internet. These crimes include but are not limited to; Identity Theft, Check Fraud, Child Pornography, or phishing a computer system without authorization. Utilizing the Internet to defraud or to interfere with another person’s financial accounts or other personal information can result in one being charged with an Internet crime.


Manslaughter is the unlawful killing of a human being without malice. (California Penal Code Section 192). There are three types of manslaughter: voluntary, involuntary, and vehicular.


Murder is the unlawful killing of a human being or a fetus with malice aforethought. (California Penal Code Section 187). Murder may be of the first or second degree.

Petty Theft

Theft can be one of two degrees: Grand Theft- Penal Code Section 484/487(c) or Petty Theft- Penal Code Section 484/488.

The theft is petty theft if: (1) The money, labor, or real or personal property taken is of a value of $950, or less. If the value of property stolen is less than $50.00 dollars, then it may be possible to have the charge reduced to Petty Theft as an “infraction” (California Penal Code Section 490.1.)

Providing Alcohol to a Minor

This crime occurs when an individual over the age of 21 unlawfully provides alcohol to a minor( Under 21). The crime can also be charged when the minor asks an adult to purchase alcohol for them or an adult provides alcohol at a party where minors are present. (Business and Professions Code Section 25658)

Public Intoxication

Public intoxication, also known as Drunk in Public (DIP) involves being drunk or incapacitated in public or disturbing the peace of another individual. An individual must be intoxicated to such a degree that they are no longer able to care for his or her own safety, and may be a danger to themselves or to others. The offense can also involve obstructing the free use of a sidewalk. (California Penal Code Section 647(f). One can also be charged with disturbing the peace.(California Penal Code Section 415). Making loud noises in public (California Penal Code Section 415(2)) fighting in public (Penal Code Section 415(1)) or offensive words (Penal Code Section 415(3)). These offenses are typically brought when individuals are a hazard to public safety.

Receiving /Possesion of Stolen Property

The crime of receiving stolen property occurs when an individual purchases, possesses or receives items, which have been stolen or unlawfully obtained by theft or extortion, and the individual had knowledge that the property was stolen. Knowledge of the theft is not required .(California Penal Code Section 496).


Robbery occurs when there is a felonious taking of personal property from a person and by the use of physical force or threats to the victim, in order to obtain money or personal property from them. The use of a deadly weapon will result in being charged with Armed Robbery.. In an  armed robbery, a victim must suffer injury or have the threat of harm placed upon them during the time of the confrontation. (California Penal Code Section 211-212).

Sex Crimes

These types of crimes can include child molestation, sexual battery or rape, forced oral copulation, digital penetration and other serious offenses. (California Penal Code Section 288(A) or California Penal Code Section 261). Substantial state prison sentences for each count or offense, can be run consecutive to one another. These consecutive sentences can result in a “life sentence”.

Sexual Assault

These crimes involve a multitude of sexual acts and are perpetrated against victims by force or threats of violence. These crimes include but are not limited to rape, sodomy, forced oral copulation, penetration by a foreign object and can result in a severe state prison sentences. In some cases, a defendant can be looking at life in prison for sexual assaults against minors or children. Any conviction for an aggravated sex crime will result in mandatory registration as a sex offender pursuant to (California Penal Code Section 290).

Shop Lifting

The crime of shop lifting (Petty Theft) occurs when an individual takes the personal property of another (store/individual) with the intent to permanently deprive them of possession of the property.(California Penal Code Section 484/488) If the theft is over $950 .00, the crime may be charged as Grand Theft pursuant to (California Penal Code Sections 484/487.)

Suspended License

California Vehicle Code Sections (VC 14601.1(a), VC 14601.2(a), and VC 14601.5(A)) set out the crimes of “Driving on a Suspended License”. The crime of driving on a suspended license occurs when an individual “drives” a vehicle with “knowledge” of his or her license being suspended. The individual must have been advised either by mail and/or in person that the license was suspended in order for the “knowledge” element to be proven. The Department of Motor Vehicles will serve an order of suspension via first class or certified mail to advise licensee’s of the suspension. There are several different code sections related to these issues.

VC 14601.2(a) “Driving when privilege suspended or revoked for driving under the influence of alcoholic beverage or drug”. This is the most serious driving on a suspended license charge. This offense carries a minimum of 10 days in the county jail on a first offense and 30 days in the county jail on a second offense. This code section also requires a ignition interlock device ( I.I.D.) to be installed in your vehicle if you are convicted. VC 14601.5(a) This crime requires “Driving with knowledge of ‘Administration Per Se’ DMV suspension. This suspension is caused by a DUI arrest (see below.) VC 14601.1 (a) This code section is the catch all for driving on a suspended license when the suspension is caused by other issues license (i.e., failure to appear, failure to pay traffic tickets or failure to pay renewal fees).

See our DUI page for More information on California Suspended License Laws.


Theft is the crime of larceny, embezzlement, or taking under false pretenses. The essence of a theft is an unlawful taking, broken down by the method of the taking. (California Penal Code Sections 484-502.9).

Theft can be one of two degrees: grand theft or petty theft.

The theft is grand theft if: (1) The money, labor, or real or personal property taken is of a value exceeding $950 or if it is taken by a servant, agent, or employee and the aggregate value of what was taken is $950 or more in any consecutive 12-month period; or, (2) The property taken is a dog of a value exceeding $950; or (3) The property taken is a specified farm commodity or aquaculture product, or real estate converted by severance, of a value exceeding $100; (4) The property is taken from the person of another; or (5) The property taken is a firearm, specified animal, gold dust, mercury, or amalgam, of any value; or, (6) The property taken is an automobile. (California Penal Code Sections 484/487 and 484/488).

Robbery is theft from a person by use of force or fear


Vandalism is the unlawful destruction or damage to personal property caused by an individual. If the dollar amount of the damage caused is excessive, then the case can be charged as a felony. (California Penal Code Section 574(B)).



If you have been charged with a crime, or there is an arrest or bench warrant out for you, you want experienced representation. Schedule a free, confidential consultation with the experienced San Jose criminal defense lawyers at Roberts | Elliott Law Corp. by calling us at 1-408-275-9800, emailing us, or filling out our intake form on our Contact Us page. 

We practice in all Courts in Santa Clara County, the Bay Area and throughout the State of California. We have extensive experience in the defense of criminal cases including: Felony matters, Misdemeanos, California Penal Code violations, California Health & Safety Code violations, California Vehicle Code violations, Drug cases, Juvenile Cases, Vehicular Manslaughter, Domestic Violence,  Theft cases, Drug/Asset Forfeiture, OR, Supervised Own Recognizance Program (SORP) release from jail, plea bargains, and sentencing. From the preparation of relevant motions, such as motions to suppress, dismiss, and strike a prior conviction, to efficiently navigating through the discovery pretrial, trial and sentencing processes, we will take the steps necessary to effectively protect your constitutional rights and avoid jail.

This information provided is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. You should consult a Criminal Defense Lawyer for your specific criminal problem.