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Law Offices of Matthew C. Bishop, Inc.
Serving Napa, Marin and Solano Counties

Napa California Criminal Defense Law Blog

How do I know if I should sue?

When faced with a legal issue in California, an attorney will encourage a consultation, either by phone or in-person, not to convince you that you should sue but to ascertain the nature of the dispute and the strength of your position. To do so, the attorney must obtain necessary facts and evaluate whether it would be prudent and in your best interests to litigate the issue. If your case does not involve a criminal complaint against you, then you are most likely facing an issue that will be handled in a division of the civil courts.

Civil litigation is the process of resolving legal disputes between individuals in a court of law. The person who commences the lawsuit is called the plaintiff. The person sued is called the defendant. However, litigation is not always the best way to resolve disagreements. For example, if you and another person enter into a contract and the other person does not perfectly perform under the contract, you might wonder whether you should sue. There are various ways of resolving disputes before going to court. Some people underestimate the power of simply sending a letter in order to encourage compliance or obtain compensation after they have been wronged.

The difference between a felony and a misdemeanor

If you have been charged with a crime in California, you may be confused about the wording that was used in your case. Many people do not know what various legal terms mean, and one of the most misunderstood is the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor. We at the Law Offices of Matthew C. Bishop can not only represent your rights in a court of law, but can also educate you on the exact charges of which you are being accused.

According to Findlaw, prison terms and fines will be greater for a felony charge than for a misdemeanor. That is because this group of crimes is considered to be the most serious category. Arson, rape, murder, kidnapping and burglary are all considered felonies, but the punishment that is dealt will still be affected by many factors, such as whether a weapon was used and intent can be proven. 

When circumstances and behavior patterns lead to a DUI arrest

Driving under the influence of alcohol can be dangerous, and the penalties for a conviction can have a significant impact on a person's life. If you are facing drunk driving charges, you might be feeling somewhat intimidated by the process.

If involved in a traffic stop, it could be beneficial to have an understanding of your rights and how to protect them. However, this may not be common knowledge, potentially leaving you to wonder how best to proceed.

Can your field sobriety test be used in court?

As a California resident facing DUI charges, you'll want to understand everything you can about DUI laws so you may successfully protect yourself. We at the Law Offices of Matthew C. Bishop, INC, work to provide you with information you can use that will help you defend your position in court.

If you failed a field sobriety test, you may be feeling concerned. After all, doesn't that "prove" that you were drinking at the time of driving? Fortunately for you, field sobriety tests aren't a reliable measure of whether or not a person has consumed alcohol. There are many cases in which you could have other health issues that can contribute to failing a field sobriety test. For example, people with migraines or weight troubles may have issues when it comes to balancing.

How can DUI convictions negatively impact your life?

California residents like you who are facing DUI accusations will need strong representation. At the Law Offices of Matthew C. Bishop, Inc., we provide you with information that's crucial to your understanding of how dire this situation could be, and exactly why you need that representation.

The first thing to understand about DUI charges is that they can be either felonies or misdemeanors. Misdemeanors can still have an impact on your life, if you're convicted. You will likely need to pay fines, and you may be required to serve small amounts of jail time, participate in community service, or take rehabilitation courses. They can be an inconvenient stumbling block in your life at best, and a reason for being shunned in your community at worst.

New laws to regulate marijuana

With legalized recreational marijuana the new law of the land, California has put new regulations into place in an effort to prevent driving while high. Becoming familiar with these rules could prevent Californians from inadvertently breaking the law.

As Courthouse News Service reports, Governor Brown has signed a number of bills into law regarding marijuana transportation and other preventative measures. One such regulation requires drivers to follow the same rules when driving with pot in the car as they would with alcohol: namely, if it is in the car's cabin it must be in a sealed container, and if the seal has been broken, a driver must put the pot in the trunk of the car before hitting the road. 

Wow your friends with fun wine bottle facts

You live in wine country. You enjoy rounding out your evening with a glass or two. You have your favorites. There is that deep red that you serve with your famous steak, and that sweet white you serve with dessert. You know that wine-making has a rich history. This history is full of traditions. Some of these traditions serve a purpose. Other traditions are merely cosmetic.

You want to have a gathering at your home. You want to be able to charm your guests with a little fun wine knowledge. You don’t need to get out the history books and memorize the processes of fermentation.

California crash may be due to drunk driving

A 58-year-old man is facing serious charges following a car accident police believe may have been caused by intoxication. California Highway Patrol arrested the man on Aug. 6 after the accident that injured two people, including the driver. He now stands charged with drunk driving but was released for treatment at a local hospital. 

According to the police report, around 2:00 p.m., the man did not accurately navigate a turn on Highway 154. This caused his car to strike the curb and overturn down a hill. Both he and his passenger, a 50-year-old woman, were rushed to local hospitals with injuries described as major. The man is said to have suffered internal injuries, and his passenger suffered head trauma. 

New table saw safety measures could affect product liability

Product liability issues relating to table saw injuries could rise as products designed to prevent injury become more prevalent. In California, according to California Civil Jury Instructions 1203, among the essential elements of a strict liability action (pdf) for harm by a product is whether the injury caused by a product's design was foreseeable or the result of intended use. As technologies are proven to be easily implemented without an unduly burdensome cost, it may be argued that failure to implement certain safety standards in their designs could open manufacturers to liability for design defects because a table saw cannot perform safely as would be expected by a consumer if it is likely to cause injury when used as intended. In other words, the absence of a safety component in a design could ultimately be considered a design defect. This is so because the benefits of a cheaper but more dangerous saw may not outweigh the risk of danger in that design.

New developments in table saw safety are highlighting what appears to be a very common and unnecessary injury from table saws: amputations. In fact, according to National Public Radio, about 11 amputations occur every single day in the United States and many thousands more report to emergency rooms with injuries. According to reports, it appears that the number of daily amputations between 2006 and 2015 has stayed relatively even, which indicates to some that "[t]he industry's efforts to date have failed to reduce serious injuries." Congress has avoided appropriating funds for the purpose of authorizing the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to implement a rule designed to address safety standards for "blade-contact injuries on table saws." Lobbyists who oppose the proposed rules have spent thousands toward their efforts to defeat it. Some say that implementing proposed safety standards would financially overburden the industry.

What is the legal BAC level in California?

California is serious about cracking down on drunk drivers. As stated in the California Driver Handbook, if you are an adult driver in California who is pulled over by a law enforcement officer on suspicion of driving under the influence and your blood alcohol concentration is 0.08 percent or higher, you can be arrested. The officer also may take your driver’s license, give you an order of suspension and issue you a 30-day temporary license.

If you are a young person under 21 years of age, however, California has zero tolerance for alcohol use while driving. If you are stopped by a law enforcement officer on suspicion of DUI, you will be given a preliminary alcohol screening. If your BAC registers 0.01 percent or higher, your driver’s license can be suspended for a year. If your BAC is 0.05 percent, the officer can require you to submit to a breath test or blood test. If at that point your BAC once again registers 0.05 percent or higher, the officer will arrest you and issue an order of suspension of your license.

Law Offices of
Matthew C. Bishop, Inc.

1810 Jefferson Street
Napa, CA 94559
Phone: 707-266-6952
Fax: 707-255-3612
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