Law Office of Mark Rosenfeld - March - April 2020

MARKROSENFELD LAWOFFICEOF

MAR/APR 2020

310-424-3145 | MRDUILA.COM

YOU DON’T HAVE TO GO IT ALONE

WHAT HIRING AN ATTORNEY MEANS FOR YOUR CASE

When someone faces legal trouble in just about any form, hiring an attorney is the best next step. One of the single greatest benefits of hiring an attorney is the fact that you can sleep better at night. This is something I hear from clients all the time. They sleep better because they know they’re not alone in any legal dilemma. They don’t have to worry about what they’re going to do next because their attorney is handling all the details — they’re being helped by a professional who has done this hundreds, if not thousands, of times. I’ve worked with many clients who came to me stressed beyond belief, but once we started working together, that stress melted away. They felt better knowing someone was on their side, and they could sleep better, which is very important! Plus, you’re much more likely to get a better result when you’re working with someone who can help you navigate the legal system. People who try to go it alone can look over legal materials and other resources and never find the information they’re looking for. When you have an experienced team, the task becomes so much easier. In the context of criminal law, it can be a bad idea to go it alone. Judges won’t let you defend yourself without reading and signing a special document. Judges want you to know that you’ll be treated as if you had an experienced attorney by your side. They aren’t going to pull any punches. And then there’s the prosecution. It’s not uncommon for someone to defend themselves thinking they’ll get leniency for being inexperienced in law. The law and the courts are part of an adversarial system, and their job is to punish. The prosecution’s job is to find you guilty, and they’re going to do absolutely everything in their power to make that call. Defending yourself also means you won’t know what’s going on behind the scenes. You won’t know if the prosecution is working on giving you a harsher penalty or not. They could be setting up a trap with the goal of getting you to say something that destroys your case. It’s dangerous to go it alone.

And here’s another detail people often don’t realize: Going it alone can cost much more than hiring an attorney. When someone defends themselves, they take on a huge burden — including court costs and missed wages when they have to take time off work to deal with court appearances. And then there are the costs that come later if they are unable to fully defend themselves. Of course, one of the best reasons to hire an attorney is that they are extremely beneficial when it comes to getting the justice you deserve. Like I said, the prosecution is going to lay it on heavy; they’re going to do everything they can to punish you, and they may even be willing to use some scummy tactics to make it happen. Because of this, I always recommend to those who can’t afford a private attorney to accept a court-appointed public defender. This way you have, at a minimum, a buffer between you and the prosecution. I will say that having a private attorney is the better option. A private attorney can better handle your case. They have the time and resources to take care of things like administrative hearings and can spend much more time learning the facts and circumstances surrounding your legal issue. That extra time, combined with knowledge and experience equals better results for individuals.

–Mark Rosenfeld, Esq.

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THE FAMILY FEUD YOU WANT TO BE A PART OF SWITCH IT UP

Pokemon

As one of the most popular gaming consoles, the Nintendo Switch draws the attention of gamers and nongamers alike. It offers hundreds of games for people of all different ages and preferences. If you’re thinking about adding to your family’s game collection, take a look at these five family-friendly options everyone can enjoy.

The Pokemon franchise has lasted for over two decades and continues to be a source of entertainment for people

of all ages. With Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield, players can take on trainers, face gym leaders, or even play with other Pokemon trainers throughout the Galar region. Both games are capable of online connectivity to other real-world players, letting trainers battle and trade globally.

Super Mario Party and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

If you’re looking for fun multiplayer games, look no further. Super Mario Party and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe allow up to eight players to get together and play against each other, giving people the chance to race, fight, and compete in a friendly atmosphere. The games offer a number of terrains and game boards to play through, each with unique challenges for players to overcome.

Splatoon 2

This game offers a fun and colorful twist on a typical shooter game. Up to eight players can battle it out with one another and attempt to paint the other players with their own colors. Splatoon 2 can also be played online, making it a great family game. No matter how far away you are from one another, you can always play Splatoon 2 together for as long as you’d like. Video games are a great source of entertainment and relaxation, but it’s important not to overdo it. Remember to take small breaks to stretch, get something to eat, and head outside for some fresh air.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

There’s nothing like grabbing a group of friends to fight it out with your favorite video game characters. The Smash Bros. games have been around since 1999, making it possible for Link to fight head- on with Mario or Samus Aran to take on Fox McCloud. With Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, you can choose your favorite Nintendo, Sega, or Square Enix characters and see who comes out on top!

WHAT REALLY HAPPENS WHEN YOU REFUSE A BREATH TEST

In California, if somebody is lawfully arrested for driving under the influence, they are required to complete either a breath test or a blood test. It’s important to make a distinction

arrest chemical tests in the field because they might have special equipment that’s calibrated to be used in the field. As a result, we have to be careful about saying a test “in the field” is voluntary because it can vary. If someone refuses or is unable to complete a breath test after they’ve been arrested, and they refuse to submit or do a blood test, the DMV will attempt to suspend the license for one year on a first- time offense or longer for multiple offenses. When we get to court, the prosecutor pushes for increased penalties. They will charge refusal as an additional allegation or enhancement, and many district attorneys push for jail time, more classes, increased fines, and longer probation terms. Generally speaking, if somebody is convicted of a DUI and is found to have refused to submit to a chemical test, judges will impose a harsher sentence. So, it’s important that people know the difference between preliminary tests, field sobriety tests, and the post-arrest chemical test. When in doubt, and if you haven’t been arrested, agree to do a blood test and decline the breath test. You know you will be taken somewhere where a professional draws blood, and you do not need to do multiple tests. For anyone who is arrested, a blood test is also recommended.

between a preliminary alcohol screening test and a breath test that’s typically done on the side of the road by the car.

If you’re not on probation and you’re over 21, a preliminary alcohol screening by the car in the field is a voluntary test, but the test after the arrest is mandatory. If somebody refuses a breath test, then they would need to do a blood test. If they refuse a blood test as well, then they’re looking at enhanced penalties in court, which means stiffer punishments in court as well as possible DMV action that can result in a lengthy license suspension. In Los Angeles County, the post-arrest chemical test is done at a police station or hospital (or a portable trailer if it’s a DUI checkpoint). Other counties and some cities may do post-

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Are Dashcams Worth the Investment? A WATCHFUL EYE

Dashboard-mounted cameras, or dashcams, are becoming increasingly popular. Many drivers in countries where insurance fraud is common, like Russia and China, rely on dashcams to record all kinds of craziness on the road, including people diving in front of traffic or cars swerving into one another. Here in the U.S., this piece of tech is not quite as common, but people are starting to see the benefits. Many people invest in dashcams as a way to catch collisions and other bad driving behaviors on camera for liability purposes. Should they have to file a claim, these drivers have footage they can share. But are dashcams worth the investment only to catch a few seconds of footage? Dashcams are available in several different configurations. You can find them priced anywhere between $50 and $150, depending on the features and video quality. Some cams rest on your dash, and others attach to your rearview mirror. They are designed to work in just about every type of vehicle, even on electric scooters.

carriers that offer discounts for it. For instance, State Farm insurance says, “While

a dashcam may provide information about why a crash occurred, it is not a device that is designed to inhibit the crash from happening in the first place.”

This is true. A dashcam can only record, not prevent, an accident. That said, a dashcam can still offer some level of protection. It may be able to protect you if someone files a claim or lawsuit against you or if you need to file against someone else. A dashcam can provide footage of an incident and give everyone involved, including attorneys and insurance companies, more information to potentially determine fault or reach a settlement. Keep in mind, however, dashcam footage doesn’t guarantee any of this. For example, some dashcams provide clearer footage than others, and even if you capture something, it may be rendered unusable by poor lighting, glare, or if the camera completely missed the incident. More than anything, dashcams give drivers peace of mind. It is also helpful if the dashcam is used to record any police contact. Make sure to set it so it records even if the engine is not running but you are still in the car. If you’re concerned about driving on California roads, it’s probably worth the investment, just in case.

But when it comes to insurance savings, don’t expect to receive any for using a dashcam. There aren’t any insurance

WORD SEARCH

Andrea’s Kitchen

Pesto ChickenWith Blistered Tomatoes

ARIES BLOOM BUD

Brighten up after a cold, dark winter with this fresh and flavorful springtime dish.

Inspired by CookingLight.com

Ingredients

FLOWERS GROWTH LUCKY MELT PUDDLE RAIN REBIRTH SPRING SPROUT

• 2 1/2 tbsp olive oil, divided • 4 boneless and skinless chicken breasts, pounded to a 1-inch thickness • Salt and pepper to taste • 1/4 cup whole-wheat panko

• 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese • 1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted • 6 tbsp spinach pesto • 2 cups cherry tomatoes • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced • 1 tsp red wine vinegar

Directions

1. In a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat, add 1 tbsp olive oil. 2. Season chicken with salt and pepper, and add it to pan. Cook chicken for 5 minutes on each side, then remove pan from heat. 3. In a bowl, combine panko, Parmesan cheese, and butter. 4. Spread pesto over chicken and top with panko mixture. 5. Broil chicken for 2 minutes on high heat until browned. 6. In a skillet, heat remaining oil over medium-high heat. 7. Add tomatoes and cook for 6 minutes. 8. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. 9. Season tomato mixture with salt and pepper, and add red wine vinegar. 10. Serve tomatoes with broiled chicken.

You never have to go it alone. If you’re charged with a crime or facing any other legal issue. If you or a loved one are in trouble with the law, call me right away at 310-424-3145. I’m here to get you the legal help you need (and if your issue is outside of my areas of expertise, I can connect you with other trusted, experienced attorneys). LEGAL ADVERTISEMENT

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Law Office Of Mark Rosenfeld 8200 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 200 Beverly Hills, CA 90211 310-424-3145

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INSIDE THIS ISSUE

1 2

What Hiring an Attorney Means for Your Case

Switch Up Family Game Night

What Really Happens If I Refuse a Breathalyzer Test?

3

Are Dashcams Worth Your Money?

Pesto Chicken With Blistered Tomatoes

4

Influential Freedom of Information Act Lawsuits

You never have to go it alone if you’re charged with a crime or facing any other legal issue. If you or a loved one are in trouble with the law, call me right away at 310-424-3145. I’m here to get you the legal help you need (and if your issue is outside of my areas of expertise, I can connect you with other trusted, experienced attorneys).

FOIA LAWSUITS THAT CHANGED HOW AMERICANS PARTICIPATE IN DEMOCRACY DIGGING FOR THE TRUTH

The Freedom of Information Act, commonly referred to as FOIA, has been a crucial part of the democratic system for decades. It was designed to

fees. Rosenfeld is known for having some of the longest-pending FOIA requests and has received over 300,000 pages of FBI documents since the 1980s. The SCOMM Scandal In a landmark FOIA settlement concluded in 2013, the federal government paid $1.2 million to settle a suit brought by several civil rights groups over the Secure Communities (SCOMM) Immigration and Customs Enforcement program. The litigation exposed a plan to create a multi-agency database focused on collecting DNA, a person’s gait, and iris scans. When evidence was uncovered during the litigation, governors of New York, Illinois, and Massachusetts tried to opt their states out of the program, but the Department of Homeland Security determined SCOMM mandatory, according to the Center for Constitutional Rights. The case also changed how the government is required to identify, collect, and produce data for all FOIA requests. FOIA requests as well as the California Public Records Act are tools that most attorneys don't use, however I use them regularly to get information and documents to defend my clients.

improve public access to governmental records, but unfortunately, it doesn’t always work as intended. In most cases, requests are only answered if a lawsuit is filed. Nevertheless, FOIA has had a crucial role in many high-profile legal cases. Here are a couple of the most significant ones in American history. One Journalist’s 16 Years in Court Californial-based journalist Seth Rosenfeld (not related to me) has had some serious contention with the FBI. In 1985, he filed his first lawsuit against the FBI for ignoring his requests for information about the Berkeley protests of the 1960s. The case was eventually settled in 1996, and Rosenfeld was awarded $560,000 in fees. In their settlement agreement, the FBI agreed to be more thorough with FOIA requests. Rosenfeld filed a second lawsuit in 2007 accusing the FBI of withholding information during former President Ronald Regan’s presidency. Five years later, he was awarded $479,459 in attorney

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