Practice Areas

Criminal Defense

Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

California has two primary DUI laws for adult drivers: Vehicle Code 23152(a), which makes it illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol, and Vehicle Code 23152(b), which makes it illegal to drive with a BAC of .08% or greater. Most people arrested for DUI in California get charged with both of these sections.

Driving under the influence of drugs is typically in Vehicle Code 23152(f)or subsection (g) (Drug/Alcohol Combo).

The penalties for driving under the influence (DUI) vary depending on a variety of factors:

  1. whether you have prior DUIs on your record, and
  2. whether there was a collision or if anyone is injured as a result of your driving under the influence.
  3. your blood alcohol content

Most DUI cases are prosecuted as misdemeanors. But the offense may be charged as a felony if someone is injured or you have four (4) or more prior DUIs on your record. Some convictions carry jail time for California DUIs. In many cases, defendants can continue driving as long as they have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed.

California DUIs are “priorable” offenses. This means that the consequences of a DUI conviction get more serious with each successive drunk driving conviction that takes place within a ten-year period.

This ten-year timeframe is otherwise known as a “washout” or “lookback” period and also includes (1) California “wet reckless” convictions, and (2) out-of-state convictions that, if committed in California, would constitute a DUI.

Please note that once you are arrested for any California drunk driving offense, you only have ten days to request a DMV hearing from the California Department of Motor Vehicles.  This request postpones your license suspension until the resolution of the administrative per se hearing and may even result in your license suspension being set aside.

If you hire a us within that ten-day period, we can request the hearing for you and represent you at the hearing.

Suspended License

There are 4 typical ways a Defendant can be charged with Driving with a Suspended License. It is also important to know that a conviction of these sections will stay on your record and can be charged as an aggravating prior(harsher punishment) if you are charged with a new violation of these sections within five years of a prior conviction.

1. California Vehicle Code Section 14601.2(a) – Driving While Privilege Suspended Due to DUI.

This statute applies to a Defendant if a driver:

  1. drove on a suspended/revoked license, and
  2. received a license suspension because of a DUI conviction.

In these situations, a driver will receive the following punishment:

  • informal probation for up to one year,
  • a county jail sentence of 10 days to six months,
  • a maximum fine of $1,000, and/or
  • installation of a certified ignition interlock device (IID).

2. California Vehicle Code Section 14601.3(a) – Driving While Privilege Suspended -Habitual Offender.

This statute applies to a Defendant if a driver:

  1. drove on a suspended license, and
  2. received a license suspension for being a habitual traffic offender.

In these situations, a driver will receive the following punishment:

  • informal probation for up to one year,
  • custody in county jail for up to 30 days, and/or
  • a maximum fine of $1,000.

3. California Vehicle Code Section 14601.5(a) – Driving While Privilege Suspended Due to Chemical Test Refusal or High BAC.

This statute applies to a Defendant if a driver:

  1. drove on a suspended license, and
  2. received a license revocation for refusing to submit to a chemical test or drove with an unlawful BAC.

In these situations, a driver will receive the following punishment:

  • informal probation for up to one year,
  • custody in county jail for up to six months, and/or
  • a maximum fine of $1,000.

4. California Vehicle Code Section 14601.1(a) – Driving While Privilege Suspended

This is a catch-all statute that punishes a driver if he:

  1. drove on a suspended/revoked license, and
  2. received a license suspension for any reason not previously mentioned.

In these situations, a driver will receive the following punishment:

  • informal probation for up to one year,
  • custody in county jail for up to six months, and/or
  • a maximum fine of $1,000.

In rare cases, Vehicle Code Section 14601.1(a) can be charged as or reduced to an infraction. 

Domestic Violence

California domestic violence laws make it a crime to harm, or threaten to harm, an intimate partner. Common charges include Penal Code 243(e)(1) “domestic battery” and Penal Code 273.5, “inflicting corporal injury on an intimate partner.”

Penal Code 243(e)(1) – Domestic Battery

Penal Code 243(e)(1) – California’s domestic battery law — makes it a misdemeanor to inflict force or violence on an intimate partner. Unlike Penal Code 273.5, this California domestic violence law does not require a visible injury.

In these situations, a Defendant will receive the following punishment:

  • informal probation for up to three years,
  • a jail sentence of up to one (1) year in county jail.
  • a maximum fine of $2,000, and/or
  • a certain amount of community service
  • a 52-week Alternatives to Violence course
  • a restraining order protecting the victim
  • a loss of firearm rights.

Penal Code 273.5(a) – Corporal Injury to Spouse or Domestic Partner

Penal Code 273.5 makes it illegal to inflict a “corporal injury” that results in even a slight physical injury to an intimate partner.

PC 273.5 is a felony but is also a wobbler. A “wobbler” is a crime that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on: the circumstances of the offense, the seriousness of the alleged victim’s injuries (if any), and the defendant’s criminal record (if any).

Possible penalties for a first offense include:

  • from one (1) year in county jail to up to four (4) years in California state prison
  • formal or informal probation for up to 3 years
  • a maximum fine of $2,000, and/or
  • a certain amount of community service
  • a 52-week Alternatives to Violence course
  • a restraining order protecting the victim
  • a loss of firearm rights.

There are many other severe consequences to a Domestic Violence conviction including, payment to the victim, immigration consequences, and many others.

If you have been charged under California’s domestic violence laws, we invite you to contact us for a free consultation.

Cannabis Grows & Sales

It is legal for anyone 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of cannabis, 6 plants and 4 grams of concentrate.

Any person in unlawful possession of cannabis over these amounts can be charged with a variety of violations of Health & Safety Code including § 11357 (possession), § 11358 (cultivation), § 11359 (possession with intent to sell), and § 11360 (transportation or offer to sell). These can be charged as infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies with punishment of up to three years in prison.

Under Proposition 64, it is still a crime to do any of the following:

  • Operate a cannabis business without a license
  • Possess more cannabis than the legal limits above
  • Grow more cannabis than the legal limits above
  • Consume cannabis in public (similar to alcohol)
  • Consume cannabis while driving
  • Drive with an open container of cannabis
  • Drive while impaired
  • Give cannabis to minors (under 21)
  • Possess cannabis as a minor for recreational use (under 21)

Asset seizure and forfeiture proceedings sometimes also attach to criminal proceedings. There is a very limited time to responding to an asset forfeiture notice and the sooner you hire an attorney, the better your chances will be of being able to keep your property or assets!

With extensive experience both prosecuting and defending cannabis related charges, we can make sure you get the absolute best defense possible.

Drug Possession & Sales

There are several statutes in which a person can be charged relating to drug/narcotic possession and sales. Some can be charged as misdemeanors, some felonies, but most non-sales charges are generally eligible for Pre-Trial Diversion.

If a Defendant is eligible for Pre-Trial Diversion, there charges are dismissed outright. To be eligible for Pre-Trial Diversion the following must be met:

  • no Felony convictions within 5 years of the arrest,
  • no sales related drug charges
  • no additional violent charges

The offenses that allow a defendant to participate in Penal Code 1000 pretrial diversion are:

  • Health & Safety Code 11350 HS – possession of a controlled substance,
  • Health & Safety Code 11357 – unlawful possession of cannabis,
  • Health & Safety Code 11364 — possession of drug paraphernalia,
  • Health & Safety Code 11365 — aiding or abetting the use of an unlawful controlled substance,
  • Health & Safety Code 11375(b)(2) – unlawful possession of certain prescription sedatives,
  • Health & Safety Code 11377 HS – possession of methamphetamines for personal use,
  • Health & Safety Code 11550 HS – being under the influence of a controlled substance,
  • Vehicle Code 23222 (b) – possessing an open container of Cannabis in a motor vehicle,
  • Health and Safety Code 11358 – unlawful cultivation of Cannabis for personal use,
  • Health and Safety Code 11368 – possessing or using a forged prescription to obtain drugs for personal use,
  • Penal Code 653f(d) – soliciting someone to commit a crime to facilitate the defendant’s personal use of narcotics,
  • Penal Code 381 — possession of toxic substances for “huffing,”
  • Penal Code 647 (f) — lewd conduct related to being under the influence of a controlled substance, and
  • Business and Professions Code 4060 — possession of a controlled substance. Penal Code 1000 (a)(2).

You can feel confident with us by your side. We have handled thousands of drug related cases including cases involving:

  • California Health and Safety Code 11364 – Possession of instrument used for smoking or ingesting
  • California Health and Safety Code 11377 – Possession of Methamphetamine
  • California Health and Safety Code 11350 – Possession of Cocaine or Heroin
  • California Health and Safety Code 11550 – Under the influence of a controlled substance
  • California Health and Safety Code 11378 – Possession of Methamphetamine with the intent to sell
  • California Health and Safety Code 11351 – Possession of a controlled substance with the intent to sell
  • California Penal Code 4573 – Bringing Drugs into Jail or Prison
  • California Business and professions Code 4060 – Possession of a Prescription Medication

Firearm & Assault Weapon Law

There are over 1700 firearm related crimes that a person in California must know and abide by. However, the overwhelming technical nature of firearms make it difficult to do so. It is so difficult, most law enforcement officers, judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and even license firearm dealers get it wrong all the time.

Mr. Agil picks up the slack where most fail. As a former Federally License Firearms Manufacturer and Dealer, he was previously retained by other defense attorneys to consult on their clients cases and was even retained as a Firearms expert. Furthermore, while employed at the District Attorney’s Office as a Prosecutor, he was routinely recognized as the “Office Firearm Expert” by seasoned prosecutors and Criminal investigators alike and was asked to prepare a webinar to teach prosecutors around the state.

There are numerous statutes that are often charged against a defendant and often have specific technicalities that can alter the entire disposition of the case. 

These statutes include:

  • PC 30605(a) – Possession of Assault Weapon
  • PC 32310(a) – Possession of High Capacity Magazine
  • PC 29180 – Possession of Unserialized Firearm (Ghost Gun)
  • PC 32625(a) – Possession of a Machine Gun
  • PC 32900(a) – Possession of Multi-burst Trigger Activator
  • PC 33410(a) – Possession of Silencer
  • PC 246.3(a) – Negligent Discharge of a Firearm
  • PC 417(a)(2)(A) – Exhibiting a Concealable Firearm in Public
  • PC 417.4 – Brandishing a Replica Firearm
  • PC 20170(a) – Exhibiting a Replica Firearm in Public
  • PC 23920 – Possession of Firearm with Identification Information Removed
  • PC 25100 – Criminal Storage of a Firearm
  • PC 25135 – Keeping a Firearm in a Home where a Prohibited Person Resides
  • PC 25400(a) – Having a Concealed Firearm in a Vehicle
  • PC 25400(a)(2) – Carrying a Concealed Firearm on one’s Person
  • PC 25850(a) – Carrying a Loaded Firearm on One’s Person or in a Vehicle
  • PC 29800(a)(1) – Possession of a Firearm by a Felon
  • PC 30305(a)(1) – Possession of Ammunition by a Prohibited Person

Making sure you have the right attorney to defend you in a firearm related case can make all the difference. Potential consequences can include loss of firearm rights for life. The Law Office of Ibrahim “Abe” Agil has precisely the knowledge and experience you need to make sure you your highly technical firearm case is in good hands.

Violent Crimes

In California, certain acts are specifically designated as violent felonies. These crimes include murder, armed robbery, kidnapping, sexual molestation of a child, and gang extortion. But crimes such as sexual battery and drive-by shootings (if no one is killed or injured) are not violent felonies under the statue. The violent felony statutory enhancement has significant implications.

California Penal code section 667.5, subdivision (c) lists 23 categories of crimes that are considered a violent felony in the state. Some of these categories include a broad range of crimes, so the actual number of violent felonies far exceeds 23. The “violent felony” enhancement is important not only for the stiff punishment these crimes carry but also because 1) each conviction for a violent felony counts as a strike under the three strikes law and 2) Proposition 57 (2017) gives felons serving time in prison an opportunity to be considered for early parole release if they are not serving time for a violent felony.

Under Penal Code section 667.5(c), the following crimes are violent felonies: Murder, attempted murder, and voluntary manslaughter; mayhem; forced sex acts or sex acts with a minor or a dependent person; all felonies punishable by death or life in prison; most felonies that result in great bodily injury to a victim; robbery; arson; malicious detonation of destructive devices or explosives with intent or that causes the death, mayhem, or great bodily injury to another; assault with intent to commit a forced sex act on another or a sex act on a minor; assault with a firearm on a peace officer or firefighter; kidnapping; extortion or criminal threats done for the benefit of a street gang; carjacking; first degree burglary when another person (other than accomplice) was present; possession, use, or production of weapons of mass destruction.

Being convicted of a violent felony has serious and lasting consequences. However, some crimes are “Wobblers” and can be charged as misdemeanors while other crimes against people can only be charged as a misdemeanor. Some of the most common Violent charges include:

  • PC 245(a)(1); (2); or (3) – Assault with a deadly weapon / Firearm
  • PC 242 Simple Battery

The assistance of a former prosecutor retained as your skilled criminal defense attorney can make an important difference when facing a potential conviction for a violent felony. A crime designated as a violent felony is often only a matter of the circumstances under which the crime occurred. The prosecution will almost always charge to the maximum possible degree; it is your criminal defense attorney who will argue for a charge and/or conviction that does not carry the violent felony designation.

Financial Crimes / Fraud

White Collar crimes vary in their scope and complexity, and can be as simple as adding a zero to a check or as complex as fake investments. If you’ve been accused of committing a financial crime, chances are your situation is likely to be different from the next financial charge victim and requires the attention of a criminal defense attorney well-versed in financial crimes.

In complex White Collar cases, the best defense is an early defense – ideally, a defense should be asserted before formal charges are even filed in a court of law. By choosing an attorney experienced in financial crimes, you’ll be prepared to respond effectively to a subpoena or testimony before a grand jury. 

State Court Financial Crimes

The White Collar crimes most often prosecuted in state court are petty theft, grand theft, embezzlement, misuse of access cards, burglary, commercial burglary, robbery, and Welfare fraud.  The dividing line between petty theft and grand theft is $950.  When the value of the property stolen exceeds $950, it is considered grand theft.  Embezzlement occurs when the theft is alleged to have been by an employee or agent. Burglary and commercial burglary are property crimes that occur when the defendant enters a residence or business with the intent to steal (or carry out some other crime) while inside. Robbery is when property is taken from another by force or fear.

The most common type of Fraud is IHSS or In Home Support Services Fraud.

Types of IHSS fraud include:

  • Overbilling or incorrect billing for services. This can include up-coding, unbundling, or other duplicative billing schemes.
  • Off-label promotion and marketing of drugs and medical devices.
  • Billing for services not provided or services that were not medically necessary, including prescribing unnecessary medications.
  • Fraudulent risk-adjustment data supplied to health care.
  • Acceptance or offering of kickbacks or bribes of any kind, including illegal referrals, in violation of the Anti-Kickback Statute and Stark Law.
  • False pricing and cost reports, including false certifications.
  • Falsifying claims or diagnoses.
  • Reimbursement when a beneficiary is not eligible for reimbursement.
  • Billing for “ghost patients,” or claims made for a patient that either does not exist or who never received the service or item billed for.
  • Retention of overpayments.
  • Hospital and other medical provider fraud. Hospitals, hospice centers, outpatient facilities and other health care providers are required to submit cost reports and other documents in order to be eligible for receipt of Medicare/Medicaid funds. Falsification of those documents and false statements in support of these submitted materials often provide the basis for False Claim Act liability.

In each of these cases, early intervention by an experienced criminal defense attorney is vital to an excellent outcome.  It may even be possible to avoid criminal charges entirely by making the victim whole.

Federal White Collar Crimes

Some types of fraud, such as Medicare or Medicaid fraud, must be prosecuted in Federal court. Federal financial crime charges can involve complex procedures and trials, and can result in serious penalties. The key to an effective defense in these types of cases is exploiting the opportunity to investigate the charges and evaluate the evidence against you as early as possible. Most of the work in a financial crimes case occurs long before trial. If you suspect you’re the subject of a financial crime investigation, contact a criminal defense attorney today.

Property Crimes

Property crimes can refer to two different categories of criminal offenses including theft-related violation and non theft-related violations.

The non theft-related violations typically include:

  • Vandalism
  • Trespass
  • Arson

Theft-related property crimes commonly include:

  • Larceny
  • Burglary
  • Robbery
  • Auto theft
  • Other forms of theft

There are many different types of property crimes including:

Some of the common Theft related charges are:

  • Burglary – PC 459, 460, and 461
  • Grand Theft – PC 487
  • Petty Theft – PC 484
  • Felony Petty Theft with Prior Convictions – PC 666
  • Commercial Burglary – PC 459
  • Possession of Burglary Tools – PC 466
  • Receiving Stolen Property – PC 496


Vandalism is defined under section 594(a) of the California Penal Code as follows: Every person who maliciously commits any of the following acts with respect to any real or personal property not his or her own is guilty of vandalism:

(1) Defaces with graffiti or other inscribed material.
(2) Damages.
(3) Destroys.

Vandalism can be charged either as a misdemeanor or a felony, usually depending on the dollar amount of damage that is caused. If the property damage is $950 or more, the case can be filed as a felony and is punishable by up to three years in state prison. If the property damage is less than $950, it will usually be filed as a misdemeanor and is punishable by up to one year in the county jail. However, there are other factors that can cause a vandalism case to be filed as a felony. To get more information, please contact our office.

Under California law, there is a mandatory one year driver’s license suspension of anyone who is convicted of vandalism. This suspension also applies in cases where a person pleads guilty to vandalism in a negotiated plea.


Arson is defined under section 451 of the California Penal Code as follows: A person is guilty of arson when he or she willfully and maliciously sets fire to or burns or causes to be burned or who aids, counsels, or procures the burning of, any structure, forest land, or property.

Arson is classified as a serious and violent felony (strike) offense that is punishable by commitment in state prison. The punishment for arson varies depending on a variety of factors, including the circumstances surrounding the alleged violation. To get details about your case, contact our office and schedule a free and confidential consultation with a felony attorney.


Trespass is codified under section 602 of the California Penal Code. Trespass to land is a misdemeanor offense punishable by a maximum sentence of 180 days in the county jail.

Environmental Crimes

Federal Environmental Crimes

The United States Environmental Protection Agency Criminal Investigation Division (EPA CID) Special Agents are fully authorized law enforcement officers empowered to enforce our nation’s environmental laws as well as any other federal law. The EPA states that an environmental crime is generally “a negligent, knowing or willful violation of federal environmental law.”

According to the EPA, some of the most common environmental crimes include, but are not limited to:

  •       Illegal disposal of hazardous waste;
  •       Export of hazardous waste without the permission of the receiving country;
  •       Illegal discharge of pollutants to a water of the United States;
  •       The removal and disposal of regulated asbestos-containing materials in a manner inconsistent with the law and regulations;
  •       Illegal importation of certain restricted or regulated chemicals into the United States;
  •       Tampering with a drinking water supply;
  •       Mail fraud/Wire fraud;
  •       Conspiracy; and
  •       Money laundering relating to environmental criminal activities.

The EPA also states that typical scenarios involve violations of the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, or Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).

State Environmental Crimes in California

The Environmental Circuit Prosecutor Project (ECPP), a cooperative project of the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) and the California District Attorneys Association (CDAA), was established under California Penal Code § 14309(a). The purposes of the ECPP under California Penal Code § 14309(b) include:

  •       Discouraging the commission of violations of environmental laws by demonstrating the effective response of the criminal justice system to these violations, including, but not limited to, assisting district attorneys, particularly in rural counties, in the prosecution of criminal violations of environmental laws and regulations, where a district attorney has requested assistance;
  •       Establishing model environmental crime prevention, enforcement, and prosecution techniques with statewide application for fair, uniform, and efficient implementation;
  •       Increasing the awareness and effectiveness of efforts to enforce environmental laws and to better integrate environmental prosecution into California’s established criminal justice system by providing on the job education and training to local peace officers and prosecutors and local and state environmental regulators; and
  •       Promoting, through uniform and effective prosecution and local assistance, the effective enforcement of environmental laws and regulations.

California Penal Code § 14309(d) also states that a district attorney may request the assistance of a circuit prosecutor from the ECPP for any of the following purposes:

  •       Assistance with the investigation and development of environmental cases;
  •       Consultation concerning whether an environmental case merits filing; or
  •       Litigation support, including, but not limited to, the actual prosecution of the case. A district attorney shall, as appropriate, deputize a circuit prosecutor to prosecute cases within his or her jurisdiction.

The Attorney General brings civil enforcement actions on behalf client agencies and prosecutes civil and criminal violations of environmental laws. However, you may also in certain situations be charged by the local District Attorney’s Office.

Sex Crimes

In California, a “sex crime” is any misdemeanor or felony of a sexual nature. It includes everything from forcible rape to grabbing your genitals in public to annoy someone. Common California sexual offenses we defend include (but are not limited to):

  • Child sexual abuse,
  • Date rape,
  • Failure to register as a sex offender,
  • Indecent exposure,
  • Lewd acts with a child / child molestation,
  • Lewd conduct,
  • Oral copulation by force,
  • Possession of child pornography,
  • Prostitution / solicitation,
  • Sexual assault,
  • Sexual Battery,
  • Soliciting a prostitute, and
  • Statutory Rape.

In addition to a jail or prison sentence, conviction of a California sex crime can require registration on the California Meagan’s Law website – often for life.

There are additional consequences if the conviction is for felony charges. Consequences of a felony conviction include:

  • The obligation to disclose the conviction on employment applications,
  • Ban on possessing a firearm, and
  • Difficulty or inability to get a California conviction expunged

Given the social stigma attached to sex crime charges, a conviction could wreak havoc on many aspects of one’s life. Professional and personal relationships, as well as educational pursuits, could be compromised by a successfully prosecuted sex crime charge.


A person may be charged with lewd conduct if they personally engage in such conduct or solicit another person to engage in it. A variety of offenses fall under the umbrella of lewd conduct. All instances of lewd conduct under Penal Code 647 will be charged as misdemeanors, meaning they carry a maximum penalty of one year in county jail. Depending on the circumstances of the case, a person convicted of lewd conduct may be required to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law. Improper sexual conduct in a public restroom or on a beach may be charged as lewd conduct.

  • Committing a lewd act on a child for purposes of sexual gratification, as specified in Penal Code § 288 PC, is a felony punishable by 3, 6 or 8 years in prison.
  • Indecent exposure of one’s genitals or breasts in public can result in a misdemeanor under Penal Code § 314 PC.
  • Intercourse or sex acts, including masturbation, may be prosecuted under Penal Code 647.
  • Soliciting lewd conduct may occur in the form of asking another to expose their genitals, buttocks or breasts in public for the purpose of one’s own sexual gratification.


Production, distribution, and possession of child pornography is prohibited per federal (18 U.S.C. §§ 2252, 2252A, 2256, 2260) and state law (California Penal Code § 311.11). If you are charged with a child pornography offense, the prosecution can charge you either with a felony or misdemeanor depending on the facts of your case. Factors that would cause the prosecution to charge a suspect with a felony include such things as: number of images in your possession, specific acts depicted in images, a prior conviction for the same offense, and status as a registered sex offender.

A misdemeanor results in up to one year in county jail and a fine up to $2,500, along with probation, community service, and lifetime registration as a sex offender. A felony can result in the same except imprisonment is at a state prison, not county jail. The latter is generally the minimum sentence that can be imposed. if aggravating circumstances are present, you could face up to 6 years in state prison. Aggravating circumstances include possessing more than 600 images with 10 or more images depicting prepubescent minors or minors under 12 years of age; and/or images of a minor under 18 years of age engaged in sexual sadism or sexual masochism.


Penal Code § 261 PC criminalizes forcible sexual intercourse with an unwilling participant that occurs by way of force, threats or violence or in the absence of consent. If a person cannot consent because they are mentally incapacitated, unconscious or intoxicated, it also considered rape.

  • Forcible rape occurs when intercourse is “accomplished against a person’s will by means of force, violence, violence, duress, menace or fear of immediate and unlawful bodily injury,” per Penal Code § 261(a)(2) PC
  • Rape by use of drugs is defined as intercourse that occurs when a person cannot resist or consent because of an intoxicating or anesthetic substance, under Penal Code § 261(a)(3).
  • Rape of an unconscious person covers a broader spectrum of offenses than it seems to imply. A person need not be physically unconscious for the perpetrator to be found guilty. If the victim is ‘unconscious of the nature of the act’ for any reason, the charge may apply. A victim may be asleep or physically unconscious. Alternatively, they may be physically alert but unaware of the sexual nature of an act, “due to the perpetrator’s fraudulent representation that the sexual penetration served a professional purpose when it served no purpose,” pursuant to Penal Code § 261(a)(4)(D) PC.
  • Rape by threat of harm occurs when the perpetrator threatens to kidnap, falsely imprison, inflict extreme pain/serious bodily injury or kill the victim or any other person in the immediate future, under Penal Code § 261(a)(6) PC.
  • Statutory rape is defined in Penal Code § 261.5(a) as unlawful sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 18 who is not the perpetrator’s spouse. It is a misdemeanor to engage in sexual intercourse with a minor when there is an age difference of no more than 3 years. If the minor is more than 3 years younger than the perpetrator, they will either be guilty of a felony or misdemeanor, with a sentence not to exceed 1 year in a county jail. Depending on the ages of those involved, a fine ranging from $2,000 to $25,000 may apply. The maximum fine of $25,000 applies in cases in which the minor was under the age of 16 and the adult was over the age of 21.
  • Forcible penetration with a foreign object, as outlined by Penal Code § 289, is a crime that involves three elements: (1) penetration of vagina or anus, however slight; (2) by using an unknown object (e.g., a finger, sex toy, or other object); (3) through the means of force. Generally, a defendant has been accused of placing an object into the vagina or rectum of another person against his or her will or without him or her having the mental capacity to provide legal consent. Violation of Penal Code § 289 is a felony and is punishable by three, six or eight years in state prison and fine of up to $10,000.


According to California Penal Code § 243.4, touching another person’s intimate parts against that person’s will is prohibited and can result in a charge of sexual battery. The statutory definition of “intimate part” refers to “sexual organ, anus, groin, or buttocks of any person, and the great of a female.” California Penal Code § 243.4(g)(1). Penalties for a conviction depend on the specific circumstances and whether or not it is classified as a misdemeanor or felony. A misdemeanor sexual battery carries a maximum county jail sentence of either 6 months or one year and a fine up to $2,000, or $3,000 if the victim was an employee. A felony sexual battery carries with it an imprisonment sentence in state prison of two, three, or four years and a maximum fine of $10,000.


Child molestation is always a crime in California. There are two specific laws, however, you should be aware of: (1) continuous sexual abuse; and (2) annoying or molesting a child.

According to California Penal Code § 288.5, continuous sexual abuse of a child occurs if (1) the child was 14 years old or younger at the time of the alleged abuse; and (2) the accused resided in the same home as the minor child and or had recurring access to the child and (3) engaged in three or more acts of substantial sexual conduct with the child or engaged in three or more acts of lewd or lascivious conduct as defined by Penal Code § 288(a) with the child (see the above on lewd conduct) and the three or more acts occurred over a period of time of not less than three months in duration.

It is a crime in California to annoy or molest a person who is under the age of 18 years. According to California Penal Code § 647.6 PC, physical contact is not necessary, words alone can lead to a conviction. The prosecution must prove the following (1) the defendant engaged in conduct that was directed at the child; (2) a normal person would have been disturbed — without hesitation — by the defendant’s conduct; (3) the defendant’s conduct was motivated by an abnormal sexual interest in the child; and (4) the child was under the age of 18 years. Absent aggravating factors, a conviction can result in one year in jail and a fine up to $5,000.


Under Penal Code 647(b) PC, it is illegal to accept payment in exchange for the completion of a sexual act. There are a number of offenses associated with prostitution. It is a misdemeanor under California Penal Code § 653.22(a) PC to loiter in a public area for the purpose of prostitution. At a maximum, loitering with this intent is punishable by up to one year in jail. It is likewise illegal for one to knowingly accept money that was earned from prostitution; this misdemeanor relates to the offense of pimping.

Pimping, as defined in Penal Code § 266h(a) PC, is a felony currently punishable by three, four or six years in a state prison. It occurs when someone solicits acts of prostitution on behalf of another and/or knowingly derives their livelihood in whole or in part from the proceeds of another person’s prostitution.


Despite society’s tendency to assume the worst of someone accused of a sex crime, these allegations are not always as straightforward as portrayed by the prosecution or the media. This is why a high caliber attorney that is a former prosecutor like Mr. Agil is indispensable if you mean to protect your livelihood and your reputation from the ramifications of a sex crime conviction. A well-prepared defense strategy and an experienced defense lawyer combined can best help you challenge sex crime allegations.

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Juvenile Dependency (Child Protective Services)

If you are a parent and your child was removed from the home because of child abuse or neglect, this page is for you.  Keep in mind that juvenile dependency cases are very serious. They can change your life and your child’s life.

If you are the father of the child, a non-biological parent, the partner of the child’s biological parent, or in some other way believe you have or should have parental rights as to the child in the case, click for information on Rights of Fathers and Other Parents.

For more information, read Juvenile Dependency Court and You: A Guide for Parents This guide explains the dependency court process in California.

How Does A Case Start?

A child abuse and neglect case starts when someone reports a concern that:

    • You are abusing your child or not taking care of your child properly,
    • Someone else is abusing your child or not taking care of him or her properly and you are not protecting your child from that, or
  • Your child is in danger of being abused or not taken care of properly by you or someone else.

Reports that a child is being abused or neglected are usually made to the police or to social workers. When a child abuse and neglect report is made, the social worker or police officer is required to investigate. If a police officer gets notified first, he or she will usually turn it over to the social worker for investigation.

A social worker investigates by talking to you, your child, people who know you and your family, and by looking at where you live. The social worker can talk to your child at school without you being present. The social worker does not need a court order to talk to your child at school, as long as there is not a police officer present when the social worker talks to your child. After the social worker talks to your child at school, he or she has to tell you that s/he interviewed your child at school.

After investigating the social worker will do one of the following:

    • Not take any action. The social worker will do this if he does not find evidence of abuse or neglect that requires court involvement.
    • Offer you what are called voluntary services. These are free services that the social worker will help you connect to that are designed to help you learn how to parent your child more safely.
    • Leave your child in your care and file a petition with the court that asks to the court to open a case to protect your child.
  • Take your child from your care and file a paper with the court, called a petition, that asks the court to open a case to protect your child. The social worker must file the petition within two court days of removing your child. The social worker will take your child from you if he thinks the child is in immediate danger in your care. If the social worker takes your child from your care he can place the child with the other parent (if you are separated), with a relative, or in a foster home.

What To Do If Your Child Is Removed

One of the most important things to do when your child is removed is to give the social worker information on your family members. The placement options for your child will be:

    1. the other parent if you and your child’s other parent are not together,
    1. a relative, or
  1. a foster home or shelter.

To prevent your child from being placed with strangers, give your relatives’ information to the social worker. 

When your child is removed, you can also ask the social worker to set up frequent visits with your child. If it is appropriate to do so, you will be able see your child while you wait for your court date.

Attend the first court hearing. In most courts, this is called the detention hearing. If your child has been removed, this hearing must be held by the end of the day after the petition is filed. The social worker will tell you when and where the detention hearing is going to take place.

Keep in mind that even though your child is removed you still have the right to make educational decisions on behalf of your child. So, you should continue to participate in your child’s education and decisions regarding his education. The court can limit your right to make educational decisions based on your failure to respond to and participate in school meetings. You also retain your right to make health care decisions for your child and you have the right to attend doctors appointments.

The First Court Hearing

If your child has been removed, the first hearing must happen the day after the petition was filed. If your child was not removed, the first hearing must be held no later than 15 days after the petition is filed.

At the first hearing a few different things will happen. First, if you cannot afford a lawyer, the judge will appoint one for you. The judge will also appoint a lawyer for the other parent of your child if he or she shows up for the first court hearing. Most counties will also appoint an attorney for your child. 

Important: The attorney client relationship is a special one. First, your communications with your attorney are confidential, which means that the attorney cannot tell anyone else what you talk about unless you say it is okay. Your attorney talks to you about the law and how it applies to the facts of your case. And your attorney is your voice in court and presents your position to the judge. If there has been a break down in your relationship with your attorney and you do not feel like he or she is representing your interests, you can ask the judge to appoint a new attorney for you.

The social worker will be at the first hearing. He or she also has an attorney, often called the county counsel or agency attorney. Before the court hearing the social worker will provide all the attorneys and the judge with the petition and the written report that talks about the reasons the petition was filed. The petition has a list of things that are numbered, like A-1 or B-1. These are called allegations, and they summarize what the social worker thinks is going on with your and your children.

If your child has been removed, the first hearing is called the detention hearing and the judge will decide whether your child can go home right away. This is the first time the judge will be asked to make sure that your child is safe. If your child can’t go home right away, the judge will make orders about when and where you can visit your child.

The judge may also ask you some questions about whether your child may be a member of a Native American tribe. The questions about connections to a tribe are important because of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). If you have Indian ancestry or think you are a member of a tribe, please click here for more information on ICWA.

The judge will ask you about the child’s other parent, if that parent is not at the hearing. This means that the court will ask if there is a father or another person who qualifies as a parent to the child. The questions about the other parent are needed to find out who your child’s legal parents are. Click for information on Rights of Fathers and Other Parents to find out more about parentage and paternity in juvenile court.

If your child has been removed you have the right to argue against the removal (detention) of your child. The hearing where you argue against your child being removed will take place a few days after the first hearing. It is called the jurisdiction.

The Jurisdiction and Disposition Hearing

The jurisdiction hearing is the hearing that comes after the initial hearing, if your children were not removed, or after the detention hearing if your kids were removed. At the jurisdiction hearing the judge will decide whether the allegations in the petition are true. If the judge decides the allegations are true, the court will take authority over your child. This is called jurisdiction in the law; that is why the hearing is called the jurisdiction hearing.

At the jurisdiction hearing:

    • If the judge decides that any of the allegations are true and your child isn’t safe, then your child will become a dependent of the court – whether your child is living with you or not. That means your child is in the system. Being in the system does not necessarily mean that your child will live with someone else. It only means that the judge is allowed to make orders about your child’s care.
  • If the judge decides that none of the allegations are true, then the case will be dismissed and you’ll be finished with the system.

If your case is not dismissed, there is a disposition hearing after the jurisdiction hearing. Often the jurisdiction and disposition hearings are combined and handled at the same time.

Disposition is the part of the case where the judge will decide what you should do to make things better for your family and your child. This is called the reunification plan. It will include:

    • Decisions about where your child should live (this is called placement).
    • Should your child live with you or with someone else?
    • If your child does not live with you, whom should your child live with?
    • Decisions about when, where, and how you can visit with your child.
    • Decisions about what reunification services you need to make your child safe and able to live with you at home.
  • Decisions about what services your child needs to be safe and healthy.

If you disagree with the allegations in the petition, you have a right to a hearing to contest the allegations in the petition. That hearing will occur at a later date. If you do not dispute the allegations in the petition but you disagree with the reunification plan, you have a right to contest that.

Reunification Services

With certain exceptions, the court must offer you services to help you reunify with your child (get your child returned to your care). The social worker assigned to your case will come up with the reunification services, with your input. The judge will order you to complete all the reunification services. You should immediately begin participating in those services because you have to complete all of the reunification services to get your child back and you have a limited amount of time to do it. 

Most of the time, you will have a year to complete your requirements if you keep making progress. But if your child is under three years old, you will have only six months to show that you are committed to finishing up everything.

After the court orders you to participate in reunification services, your next court hearing is not for 6 months. During this six months you should be participating in the reunification services offered to you. If you make progress, your child could be returned to you prior to the next court date. It is important to keep in touch with your attorney and social worker to keep them up to date on your progress toward your reunification goals. If you believe that it is safe for your child to be returned to your home, your attorney can file paperwork asking the court to return your child.

If you do not participate in the services set forth in your reunification plan, the court can terminate your services. If your services are terminated that means that the goal for your case has changed from getting you back together with your child to finding a permanent home (that is not with you) for your child.

Review Hearings

During the time your child is in the system (whether your child is living with you or with someone else), the court will have a hearing every six months. These court hearings are dependency status review hearings, which in different courts can also be called status review hearings, periodic review hearings, or DSR hearings.

The purpose of each review hearing is pretty much the same: it is for the court to decide if you have been really working on your case plan and if it is safe for your child to be returned to your care or, when your child is living with you, if your case can be dismissed.

At six month review the court can:

  1. return your child to your care if he was removed from your care,
  2.  order that your child remain out of your care but give you another six months of services, or
  3. order that your child remain out of your care and stop offering you reunification services.

A Permanent Plan

Once the court terminates reunification services, your reunification time has ended and the court must make a permanent plan for your child. This is the plan that says whom your child will live with for the long term.

There are several things you should know if the court does not return your child and terminates your reunification.

  • First you can continue to visit with your child, unless the court finds that it is harming the child, even if your reunification services have been stopped.
  • Second, the court must select a permanent plan for your child. This plan can be adoption, legal guardianship, or continued placement in a foster care setting.
    • Adoption is always the first choice. This is when the court terminates your parental rights. That means you are no longer legally your child’s parent and have no legal rights or responsibilities to him or her.

    • Legal guardianship is the second choice: A legal guardian has all the legal rights and responsibilities that any parent would have taking care of a child. Your rights as a parent are not terminated but are on hold during the guardianship. Usually the court will dismiss your case from the system, but in some cases the court may continue to monitor your child. It may also grant you the right to visit your child under certain rules; and
    • A long term planned permanent living arrangement is the third choice: Long-term planned permanent living arrangement means that your child will continue to live with foster parents, either related to her or him or unrelated. The case stays in the system and the court will have a review hearing every six months.