Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Finding the Best DUI Attorneys

Many people have experienced driving under the influence by having a few drinks at a party and getting into the car to head home thinking that they’re perfectly capable of getting there. When you're stopped by a police officer on the road and under the influence of alcohol, it doesn't matter if you're still perfectly fine to drive, once the cop knows you've had a few, you're in trouble.

When trouble peeks around the corner you need to find the best DUI attorney you can to avoid a hefty fine or jail time, but it's not as easy as looking a firm up online! Here are some helpful tips.

1.       Don't take the lawyer's claim for their competence - any lawyer or attorney can make that claim. They've studied the law, of course they're competent! Competently doesn't always mean they are specialized, and that's what you want.

2.      Check the attorneys record & references.  The first place to start is the State Bar of California. There you can enter in the name of any attorney and find out how long they have been practicing, and if they have any negative marks on their record.  Another place to look is  Avvo is a main source online for people looking for reviews of attorneys.

3.      Make sure that the attorney you're looking to hire has the knowledge of the methods police officers use to test for drunk driving. You want them to understand every step and procedure, not just the basics! You also want to make sure they're familiar with devices that some police officers use in the field as your defense could depend on it.

4.      Any DUI attorney you seek should be familiar with the testing performed by the laboratories to determine your blood alcohol content (a measure of how 'drunk' you are). Otherwise, they're not the right attorney.

5.      In the end, just remember that NO attorney can promise you a specific result.  A criminal lawyer might tell you that they know exactly how the case is going to go the first time you two meet but that is impossible. What a good DUI attorney will be able to do however, is tell you on what they think your most likely outcome will be, and how they plan on getting that to happen. 

Sometimes we get into unwanted and unwarranted trouble so if you've been accused of driving under the influence (DUI or DWI) it might be time to look into hiring a DUI attorney for your defense. The attorneys at Netzah & Shem-Tov  will promise that they'll fight for you until all options have been exhausted. 

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you on your DUI or DWI 818-995-4200.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

A Guide to Finding a Good Criminal Lawyer

Finding a good criminal lawyer is imperative, no matter how innocent you may be. While it may be easy to plead your case in day-to-day life, the law is not so flexible . . . and it's far more complicated.  No matter how well you might be able to reason your story and show your innocence in a situation where a criminal charge is leveled against you, it might not matter. The lawyer will be able to do far more than you in a court of law, and you will be better off if you remain quiet and allow the attorney to represent you.

Get a Criminal Lawyer
Don't go alone. Find yourself a criminal lawyer who can teach you some of the language that is used in court, but remember that their livelihood is dependent on arguing in a way that cannot be refuted. They know the words and how to use them far better than you might. A good lawyer might save you from time in jail or heavy fines. From a black mark on your record or house arrest, they want to win the case, and they want to win it for you.
While you need their help, they can't do it without your active presence. There's a process of give-and-take that happens in the courtroom, and you can't choke up in the middle of the court. You don't want to stammer; it makes it look like you're lying! Any criminal lawyer needs you to be calm, consistent and as much at peace with yourself as you can be.

Finding One
If only it were as easy as picking a name out of a hat, but it isn't. Your reputation, your future and your life are at stake! You don't want to risk everything you have by going for the first name that pops in front of your name. You need to be smart about it.

Make sure that the lawyer you find actually cares about your case. You don't want a lawyer who's just going through the motions; you want them as invested in proving your innocence as you are! If a lawyer is concerned - and a good criminal lawyer will be - then they'll take the time to learn about you, to dig under the surface and see who you are as a person. As their client, you need to trust your lawyer in every way and throughout every step of the process.
Reputation Is Important
Don't be afraid to judge a lawyer on their reputation. There are countless law firms out there which produce solid lawyers ready to defend your rights in a court of law and make sure you are treated the way you deserve. Make sure to look within your state as you don't want to find the perfect lawyer only to discover they're far away. Also, a lawyer in your state will know the federal laws involved in helping you prove your innocence in court. There are countless sites out there to check up on attorneys.  The first place to start is the State Bar of California. There you can enter in the attorney and find out how long they have been practicing, and if they have any negative marks on their record.  Another place to look is  Avvo is a main source for people looking for reviews of attorneys.
In the end, just remember that NO attorney can promise you a specific result.  The attorneys at  Netzah & Shem-Tov however, can promise that they'll fight for you until all options have been exhausted. Contact them today to learn more about representation on your criminal law case 818-995-4200.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Out of State DUI Convictions.

Out of State DUI Convictions.
 If you were charged with a DUI in another state within the last ten years, your chances of having your recent California DUI charged only as a first conviction depend on the specific laws of the other state.

In order for your first conviction to count as a prior in the state of California, the state that first arrested you must classify a DUI with all the same elements as a California DUI. For example, you can only be convicted of a DUI in California if you were operating your vehicle. In other words, you have to have actually been driving your car. In some states, however, you need only to be in control of your vehicle, meaning your car doesn't even have to be running. You just have to be inside the vehicle and have possession of the keys required to operate it.
Differences like these could save you from the more severe consequences of a second conviction. If you think the California DMV may be wrongfully charging your first conviction as a prior, contact a lawyer to evaluate your unique situation. You may be able to challenge this charge by filing a Writ of Mandamus--a move that could spare you the major headache of a second conviction.

Let the skilled attorneys at Netzah & Shem-Tov take a look at your case and help you determine your best options. Even if a second conviction cannot be avoided, we will fight tirelessly to ensure your judgment is as light as possible.

- Raviv Netzah, esq
Netzah & Shem-Tov

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Is Chapter 7 Right for You?

Is Chapter 7 Right for You?

It is not uncommon for a new client to come into my office and tell me, “I need to file for a Chapter 7.” My first question to such a statement is always “Why?” The response varies, but has a common theme: “Because I can’t pay my bills.”

Not being able to pay your bills is, of course, a factor in making the difficult decision of filing for bankruptcy. Once making that decision, however, the next decision is whether to file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 (other chapters also exist, but they are not relevant to most consumers). While this decision may be made for you -- based on, for example, the amount of debt you have -- often you will qualify for both chapters. In that case, you must decide which will be more beneficial to you.

The major and most basic difference between these two varieties of bankruptcy protection available to most consumers is that, in a Chapter 7, you effectively “raise your hands and quit,” informing your creditors that you simply have nothing left. If you do not own a house or other property, and your income is just enough to make ends meet but not enough to save each month, then a Chapter 7 will probably be the right choice for you.

In a Chapter 13, on the other hand, you essentially tell your creditors that, while you do have some limited means to pay, you cannot pay all of them everything you owe. In filing a bankruptcy under Chapter 13, you propose a payment Plan, under which you promise to pay a certain amount each month to the Chapter 13 Trustee (assigned by the court and an employee of the Department of Justice), who then will distribute these funds to creditors. You will do so for 3 to 5 years and each of your creditors will get a portion of its debt paid off. At the conclusion of the Plan, any remaining
debts are wiped out.

So which chapter is right for you? While you should not decide the answer to this questions without speaking to a qualified bankruptcy attorney, the simple answer is that if you have no assets and
little income, you would probably end up in a Chapter 7. On the other hand, if you have assets, or your income is above the qualifying maximum income for a Chapter 7, a Chapter 13 may be right for

- Shalem Shem-Tov, esq
Netzah & Shem-Tov

Friday, July 20, 2012

Chapter 11 and Relief from Stay: Special Rules for Single Asset Real Estate Debtor

As discussed in a previous post, the automatic stay prevents creditors from pursuing a debtor for payment or from foreclosing on a debtor's property.

However, the automatic stay is not full proof.  Creditors may file a motion with the bankruptcy court for relief from the automatic stay.  If the motion is granted, the stay will not longer apply to that particular creditor and as such the creditor may resume collection efforts against the debtor, including foreclosure.
In a Chapter 11 case, if the debtor's only asset is a single piece of real property, there are special rules which apply.  This type of Chapter 11 case is terms a Single Asset Real Estate case.

One of the special rules in these types of cases is that, within 90 days of the filing of the case, the debtor must either propose a Plan of reorganization (that is, propose how it will handle its debts) or begin paying its secured creditors at least the interest owed to them.  If the debtor fails to do so within the 90 days, the secured creditor (the mortgage company, for example) has a right to relief from stay.  These rules are provided in 11 USC §362(d)(3).

As you can see, Chapter 11 cases are complex.  It is therefore extremely important for a debtor to have experienced Chapter 11 counsel.  An attorney that only handles Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases will likely not know these, and other special rules which apply to Chapter 11 cases.  An oversight of §362(d)(3) by an inexperienced attorney can be very costly to a debtor trying to reorganize his debts.

Shalem Shem-Tov
Netzah & Shem-Tov,

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Bankruptcy and the Automatic Stay

When a debtor files any type of bankruptcy, a “automatic stay” is created which prevents all creditors from pursuing the debtor.  That is, creditors cannot call or otherwise contact the debtor to ask for payment, they cannot sue the debtor (and any pending lawsuits are immediately halted), they cannot collect on a judgment and they cannot foreclose on any property of the debtor.  As the description implies, this “stay” of the creditors is automatic.  The filing of the bankruptcy case alone, and nothing else, creates the stay.  So, even if a creditor does not know of the bankruptcy filing, any action the creditor takes against a debtor can be cancelled.
For example, let us assume that there is a lawsuit pending against a debtor who has not yet filed for bankruptcy.  The debtor decides not to file an Answer in the lawsuit and therefore the creditor requests that a default be entered against the debtor.  Before the default is entered, however, the debtor files for bankruptcy.  The next day, before the debtor has a chance to inform either the creditor or the court in which the lawsuit is pending of the bankruptcy filing, the court enters the default against the debtor.  Sometime later, for whatever reason, the bankruptcy gets dismissed and the debtor now wants to file an Answer in the lawsuit.  Normally, once a default is entered, the debtor (or defendant) can no longer file an Answer.  However, in this case, since the bankruptcy was filed prior to the default being entered, the automatic stay prevented the default from being effective.  Although neither the court nor the creditor knew of the bankruptcy, the default must be set aside.
Some time ago, our office represented a client in this exact situation.  We filed a motion to set aside the default entered against our client after the client had filed for bankruptcy.  Although the creditor opposed our motion, the Judge recognized that due to the automatic stay being in effect on the date the default was entered, the default was ineffective.  We won the motion, and our client was able to file his Answer and defend the lawsuit.

Shalem Shem-Tov

Netzah & Shem-Tov,

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Origami Lawsuit

Swan by Akira Yoshizawa, the father of modern origami techniques.
Origami, the art of folding paper into various three-dimensional shapes, has been around for centuries. It started in Japan sometime in the 17th Century, and has developed into a modern art form.  Over the past several years the folding patters have gotten so complex that schematics, called crease patterns, are used as a blueprint for folding.
Recently, one artist — Sarah Morris — has taken some crease patters created by Origami artists — such as Robert J. Lang — and has created her own art from these patterns.  Lang, along with five other artists from Japan, Italy and Spain, have filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Morris.  Lang claims that the crease patterns are independent works of art protected by the Copyright Act, and thus any derivative works are also protected from copying.  While the Copyright Act does protect derivative works (a work of art which is based upon a prior work), the question here is whether the crease patters are protected by copyright laws in the first place.  If they are, Morris may have infringed on such rights.
The list of categories which are protected by the Copyright Act are provided in 17 USC §102, and includes pictorial and graphic works (§102(a)(5)).  It is important to note that copyright laws do not protect “any idea, procedure [or] process.”  (§102(b)).  So, are the crease patterns merely “procedures” for folding, or are they independent “pictorial or graphic works”?  One way to look at it is to see whether other types of blueprints are protected by copyright.  In fact, they are.  Architectural works are specifically listed as a category of protected work (§102(a)(8)).  However, these architectural works must be drawings or blueprints for the construction of a building.  Whatever the definition of a “building” is, it certainly does not cover folded pieced of paper.

Crease patterns on the left, Morris’s artwork on the right.
Lang and his fellow artists argue that the crease patterns are works of art and that the copyright laws protect these patterns as they do any other work of pictorial or graphic art.  Lang: “Crease patterns have a beauty and interest far beyond their role within origami. I have exhibited and sold my original crease patterns as standalone artworks for nearly a decade in venues ranging from commercial galleries to the Museum of Modern Art.” (Lang’s website.)
It will be interesting to see how this case develops and, if it goes to trial, how the court will rule on the applicability of the copyright laws to these crease patterns.

Shalem Shem-Tov

Netzah & Shem-Tov,