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Are Sentencing Statutes Often Changed Given Current Social Trends?

Are Sentencing Statutes Often Changed Given Current Social Trends?

Ray Hrdlicka – Host – Attorneys.Media

“How often does the law adjust to the changing circumstances of the current climate?”

Andrew Dósa – Criminal Defense Attorney – Alameda County, CA

“I think the law is constantly changing. Unfortunately, the change in recent years has been toward criminalizing all sorts of extra behavior.”

Ray Hrdlicka – Host – Attorneys.Media

“Where does that come from? I mean, California, traditionally is a very liberal state. And yet, you are talking about harsher penalties.”

Andrew Dósa – Criminal Defense Attorney – Alameda County, CA

“Well, we may have one of the more conservative Supreme Courts in the United States. The State of California has a very conservative Supreme Court. They’re going to be much more sympathetic to the ‘tough on crime’ scenario. If there is legal precedent that allows all sorts of changes and adjustments like the Felony Murder Rule, despite the fact that it should be limited in its application, or should not be in place at all, it’s been upheld, and they will continue to uphold it.

So the legislature really has to take the lead. It’s unlikely the Supreme Court will make decisions favorable for the defendant. At the same time, a true conservative would love the Constitution, and would be a little bit more committed to a more strict construction of what the Constitution is….if they truly believe that we are Constitutional Republic relying on that document as our foundation. That is the foundation for all of our law. You would think that a conservative would be sympathetic to that but unfortunately, that is not always the case.”

If you’ve been charged with a crime, one of the things that you should think of is what type of defenses are available to you. There are different types of legal defenses available in criminal law, and the type of criminal defense applicable to you and your case will depend on your situation.

Criminal defense law consists of all the legal protections given to individuals who have been accused of committing a crime. In criminal court, the prosecutor must meet the burden of proof – that is, the responsibility of proving their allegations against the accused.

The police and prosecutors have plenty of resources at their disposal to go after someone and charge them with a crime. To balance the power within the justice system, certain protections are in place for the accused. These, and the skills and experience of a defense attorney will dictate how a defendant will be treated in criminal litigation.

An experienced criminal defense attorney knows how to use constitutional laws for the benefit of their client. For instance, criminal prosecution is based upon the evidence gathered by law enforcers. This evidence can be in the form of physical evidence. This will usually consist of objects found in a crime scene, like a possible weapon, tire marks, shoe print, or even tiny pieces of fabric.

Common Defenses in a Criminal Case

There are many common defenses to criminal charges. You may argue that there are inconsistencies in the prosecution’s case against you, that the evidence gathered violated your constitutional rights, or that you had a justifiable reason for committing the crime. Below are some common primary criminal law defenses.


The defendant didn’t commit the crime you were charged for. The defense can provide an alibi proving you weren’t at the scene when the crime occurred, or present evidence and witnesses that can counter the prosecution’s case.


The defendant admits to using force. However, the defense argues that it’s justified since it was done in self-defense due to the violent and threatening actions of the other party.

Insanity Defense

The defendant may plead insanity to avoid being punished, since a criminal punishment is only justified if the offender has full control over their actions and understand that what they did was wrong.

Under Influence

In certain circumstances, a defendant may commit crimes under the influence of alcohol and drugs. This can be used as a criminal defense as if it affects the defendant’s mental functioning to the point where they cannot be held accountable for their actions.


If law enforcement officers caused the defendant to commit a crime that they wouldn’t have otherwise committed, then it’s considered entrapment and be used as a defense in criminal court.


Claiming innocence is one of the most basic defenses to criminal liability. You must remember that the prosecution has to prove the crime filed against you beyond a reasonable doubt. If you’re innocent, you don’t have to prove anything, but you can provide documents, testimonies, or evidence that will support the claim that you’re innocent.

Constitutional Violation

A constitutional violation is a type of criminal defense used if the evidence collected by the prosecution was gathered in a manner that violated your constitutional rights. This can include the illegal search, entry, or seizure of your house, car, clothing, etc. Failing to obtain an entry warrant, getting an improper confession, or failing to read to you your “Miranda Rights” at the time of your arrest are also constitutional violations that could lead to suppression of evidence against you or the total dismissal of the case.

Defense of Others

Similar to self-defense, you can use this type of defense if you have used a justifiable amount of force or violence to protect others who are being threatened or are in danger.

Other types of criminal defenses include defense of property, necessity, involuntary/voluntary intoxication, mistake of law, coercion, abandonment, and the statute of limitations.

If you’re accused a crime in California, it can be difficult to know where to start. That’s why you need an experienced defense attorney on your side when you face your charges. With over 20 years of experience successfully defending clients in California, Andrew Dósa understands the unique challenges of criminal defense in Alameda, CA and other areas in California.

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