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Law School Help: California Criminal – Burglary

In today’s post, I’m going to go over the California crime of Burglary. In this series of posts that I’ve, apparently, labeled “Law School Help,” I’m going to try and go over terms (e.g. common criminal offenses) that ordinary people might have heard and provide a basic description of the legal authority (e.g. the particular statute section), the elements involved, and any sentence that the offense in question might carry. In prior posts, I’ve gone over questions like “What is Consideration?” and “What is a Common Carrier?” If you’re a law school student and you’re reading this, hopefully this series of posts provides you more real-world or practical knowledge compared to the more abstract or theoretical concepts you’re learning about in the classroom. In California, the crime of burglary is defined in Section 459 of the Penal Code. Section 459 is a bit long, but it says the following: “Every person who enters any house, room, apartment, tenement, shop, warehouse, store, mill, barn, stable, outhouse or other building, tent, vessel, as defined in Section 21 of the Harbors and Navigation Code, floating home, as defined in subdivision (d) of Section 18075.55 of the Health and Safety Code, railroad car, locked or sealed cargo container, whether or not mounted on a vehicle, trailer coach, as defined in Section 635 of the Vehicle Code, any house car, as defined in Section 362 of the Vehicle Code, inhabited camper, as defined in Section 243 of the Vehicle Code, vehicle as defined by the Vehicle Code, when the doors are locked, aircraft as defined by Section 21012 of the Public Utilities Code, or...

California Statute of Limitations – Negligence

For a change of pace, I’m going to do a short post. (I can hear all of you now collectively going “Finally!”) The topic of today’s post is the statute of limitations for a negligence action in California. As a reminder, a statute of limitations is the time period within which a plaintiff has to file their civil suit seeking redress from the defendant. As a general rule of thumb, this proverbial clock starts to run when the last criteria that needs to be met in order to prove the lawsuit occurs. Phrased another way, if you need to prove 5 criteria in order to win your lawsuit, your statute of limitations clock doesn’t start to run until the 5th and final criteria occurs. In California, the negligence statute of limitations is 2 years under Section 335.1 of California’s Code of Civil Procedure. Section 335.1 states “Within two years: An action for assault, battery, or injury to, or for the death of, an individual caused by the wrongful act or neglect of another.” An example where this might apply would be a car accident where the plaintiff suffered injuries of some kind to their body. There are many exceptions to this two-year rule, however. For example, if your case involves asbestos exposure of some kind, the statute of limitations could be as short as one year under Section 340.2 of California’s Code of Civil Procedure. If you have a situation involving negligence in California, the best way to know what statute of limitations applies to you is to find a lawyer with whom you can discuss the details of...

New York Statute of Limitations – Negligence

In this post, I’m going to go over the statute of limitations under New York law for a negligence lawsuit. As a reminder, negligence is a type of tort for which a plaintiff can seek redress by filing a civil suit, often for money. In layman’s terms, negligence occurs when the defendant does something, but fails to exercise something called “ordinary care”. In my mind, a failure to exercise ordinary care is when the defendant fails to abide by the expectations people in society assume. For instance, when you’re driving a vehicle, pedestrians will assume that you’re paying attention, using your mirrors, etc. If you as the driver fail to exercise ordinary care — for instance, you’re not paying attention because you’re texting while driving — and cause an accident, you’ll likely be accused of negligence. If you’re a plaintiff suing for negligence, you generally have to prove at least these four criteria. : That defendant owed a duty to you, That defendant breached that duty to you by, for instance, failing to exercise ordinary care, You suffered injuries or damage of some kind, and Defendant’s breach of that duty to you was the proximate cause of the injuries or damage you suffered. These four criteria are, as I mentioned, not specific to one particular state. I learned the 4-criteria version of negligence in law school. Some lawyers learn the 3-criteria version which basically combines the injury and causation bulletpoints above into a single bulletpoint that states something like “defendant’s breach of duty proximately caused plaintiff’s injuries.” What’s powerful about negligence if you’re the plaintiff — or annoying, I...

Attorney Fee Agreements Not in English

In prior posts, I’ve gone over issues such as the presentation requirement when an attorney and client sign a fee agreement. On my Youtube channel, I’ve also gone over topics such as what a California contingency fee agreement has to have. In this post, I’m going to go over California’s requirements for a fee agreement when the agreement is negotiated in a language other than English. The relevant California statute is going to be section 1632 of the California Civil Code. If you read section 1632, you’ll quickly notice that it is not specific to attorney fee agreements, but discusses more broadly the question of when a written contract needs to be provided in a language that isn’t English. The relevant portion of section 1632 that applies to fee agreements between clients and attorneys is sub-section (b)(6), which provides: “Any person engaged in a trade or business who negotiates primarily in Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, Vietnamese, or Korean, orally or in writing, in the course of entering into any of the following, shall deliver to the other party to the contract or agreement and prior to the execution thereof, a translation of the contract or agreement in the language in which the contract or agreement was negotiated, that includes a translation of every term and condition in that contract or agreement: (6) A contract or agreement, containing a statement of fees or charges, entered into for the purpose of obtaining legal services, when the person who is engaged in business is currently licensed to practice law pursuant to Chapter 4 (commencing with Section 6000) of Division 3 of the Business...

Presentation Requirement When Signing an Attorney Engagement Agreement in California

If you didn’t know, I have a Youtube channel in addition to this blog that I, more or less, regularly post to. A while ago, I put out a video on the Youtube channel about contingency fee agreements used by attorneys in California. Here it is: Actually, to be technically correct, I put out two videos. The one I embedded above talks about contingency fee agreements in California cases generally (i.e. all cases except family law). The other video (linked here) talks about contingency fee agreements in family law cases because the question of ‘Can I use a contingency fee agreement in a family law case?’ often comes up. For background, a “fee agreement” is the contract you sign when you hire an attorney. These agreements are, of course, not specific to California. If you’re going to hire a lawyer in another US state, chances are that lawyer will want a fee agreement of some sort signed also. California, though, has numerous rules that fee agreements have to satisfy. I went over some of those rules in my videos (e.g. required contents of a fee agreement). In this post, though, I’m going to go over the rules relating to presentation. What “presentation” refers to is that a client needs to be given a copy of the fee agreement after it has been signed. Personally, I would have thought it blatantly obvious that a client needs to get a copy of their signed fee agreement, but it apparently isn’t that obvious because it’s addressed not only once, but twice in California’s statutes. The first is in section 6147(a) of the...