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There can be a lot of stress with a DUI charge, considering the severity of the possible consequences – ranging from a suspended or revoked driver’s license, exorbitant fines, possible jail time and a huge increase in your auto insurance premiums!  

But just because you have been charged with a DUI, it doesn’t mean you have no hope of fighting and beating the case.

While a DUI can be complex and it may seem, the odds are stacked against you, there are other options aside from just pleading guilty.

California Penal Code 2800.1 VC Evading a Peace or Police Officer


If you are facing a DUI charge, especially a first-time DUI charge, it is important to act fast and hire a seasoned and highly skilled DUI lawyer who can pull all the necessary strings to get the charges reduced or dropped entirely.

There are ways to get out of a DUI, and below are ten common ways a lawyer can help you beat a DUI charge:


Even when a traffic stop ultimately results in a DUI arrest, a police officer must have probable cause to stop you while driving.

Based on the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, if an officer stops you without probable cause, then the stop is considered illegal. In the case of an illegal stop, any evidence the officer collects – and this includes breathalyzer results and/or blood and urine testing – is considered illegally obtained and therefore inadmissible in court.


The officer must have a legitimate reason for pulling you over and questioning you. In most cases, a legitimate reason can be a traffic violation or erratic driving.

However, if you can argue that the officer had no reason for pulling you over then any evidence gathered after you were pulled over can be ruled inadmissible in court. In many cases, the loss of evidence from a traffic stop will suck the air right out of the prosecution’s arguments in a DUI case.

Challenging the traffic stop in a DUI case is tricky and sometimes difficult. The CA Vehicle Code is full of instances and justifications for very minor technical violations that give law enforcement almost unbridled reasons to detain you. 

Police can stop people for somewhat minuscule reasons. If your DUI lawyer can successfully argue that there was no basis for a traffic stop, chances are good that your case will get dismissed.

Santa Rosa DUI Defense Attorney


Even if you can’t win the argument that the traffic stop itself was not justified, you can argue that there was no basis for the DUI arrest. If there was no basis for the DUI arrest, the evidence taken during the arrest will be deemed inadmissible in court. Your attorney should consider filing the appropriate 1538.5 Suppression Motion for this purpose.

Being pulled over is separate from being arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. A police officer can pull you over for ‘bad driving’ or a wide variety of different traffic violations and write you a ticket but for them to arrest you for a DUI, they must show they had probable cause to believe you were intoxicated.

Here are some examples: if the police officer smelled alcohol on you, they observed red blood shot eyes, if you performed poorly on any of the field sobriety tests, or if you appeared otherwise intoxicated pursuant to your gait and balance.


In the 1966 Supreme Court case Miranda v. Arizona, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that individuals must be informed of their Fifth Amendment Rights when placed under arrest. The arresting police officer must recite the Miranda Warning, which informs the arrestee of their right to not self-incriminate.

The person being arrested has the right to remain silent. They also have the right to hire a lawyer, or to be appointed a lawyer if they are unable to hire private counsel.

Law enforcement likes to get around this requirement by introducing evidence that you were merely detained and that you were free to leave anytime.  We can easily debunk that argument and win.

If a police officer fails to read you your Miranda Warnings at the time of an arrest, anything you say during or after your arrest is inadmissible and unable to be used against you in a court of law.



Like a field sobriety test, there are many rules and procedures which must be followed when a police officer administers a DUI breathalyzer test in California. The equipment the officer uses must be approved, maintained and calibrated to specification.

If a breathalyzer malfunctions, it will give inaccurate results. Even if a perfectly functioning breathalyzer is improperly calibrated, it can read a completely different score than what your Blood Alcohol Concentration is.

WE carefully review all calibration and maintenance records in every DUI case to make sure that each defendant gets the benefit of doubt to establish his or her innocence.

If there is a possibility that the breathalyzer test administered to you was incorrectly given or a chance that the results are skewed. 

A highly experienced and skilled DUI lawyer can challenge the results of the test and convince the judge to dismiss the DUI charge outright!   If your attorney finds enough evidence in your favor your lawyer can get the results of your breathalyzer test suppressed in court.


In many cases, there is video footage of your DUI traffic stop and arrest. Body Worn Cameras or BWC’s are so much more common today than just a few years ago and we always strictly scrutinize them to find anything in your favor.

Additionally, there may even be video of you while standing in front of the police car with a dashboard camera performing your sobriety tests or there may be video footage of you at the police station.

The footage taken during and after your DUI arrest can be helpful to your defense. If the footage shows you behaving in a way you appear sober, then you can create doubt about your being intoxicated.

Even more helpful is when the dash camera or arrest footage shows anything which contradicts the police officer’s report. If you can use video footage to challenge the credibility or behavior of your arresting officer, you can open a door to challenge the legality of your DUI stop and arrest.

California Penal Code 23136 VC Underage DUI


If you can introduce witnesses who can testify to your sobriety right before the arrest they may be able to create enough doubt in your case to beat the DUI charge.  Maybe you can find people who can testify that you did not drink prior to operating a motor vehicle.

Or, maybe you have witnesses to your arrest who watched the entire DUI stop and arrest and can attest to you appearing sober. Alternatively, witnesses can also be helpful if the situation involved police misconduct before or after the arrest.

Video footage could also support your argument that law enforcement did not follow proper rules, protocol and procedures.

Whether you are challenging the legality of your arrest, improper testing procedures, or your arresting officer’s failure to mirandize, having witnesses or video footage to back up your argument will make the entire process easier for you.  

It is harder to deny what someone else can attest to, and nearly impossible to contradict something that is shown on camera.


Police misconduct covers a broad area, but one that may be able to help beat your DUI case. If you were treated improperly or too forcibly by police officers – if they used inappropriate or illegal behavior when arresting or detaining you – you can make a case for police misconduct.

Illegal or inappropriate behavior can include a broad range of conduct, stemming from racial profiling to sexual harassment to physical brutality. If you can successfully make a case for police misconduct during your arrest or detainment, it is very possible your DUI case can get dropped if the misconduct is considered serious enough.

An experienced and highly skilled defense lawyer will know how to recognize a situation where you can claim police misconduct.

Is A "Wet Reckless" Plea Bargain By The District Attorney Really A Good Deal?Is A "Wet Reckless" Plea Bargain By The District Attorney Really A Good Deal?


Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC has been recognized as one of the Top 100 DUI law firms in the state of California by The National Advocacy for DUI Defense (NAFDD) in 2016, 2017 and again in 2018.

We are experienced lawyers who will fight HARD to get you the best possible results in your Sonoma County DUI case.


Contact Fiumara & Milligan Law today at 707-571-8600 to speak with a DUI lawyer for a FREE consultation.

CLICK HERE to learn more about how Fiumara & Milligan Law can help you FIGHT and WIN a DUI case.

Expunge Your Criminal Record In California

Top 10 Reasons to Expunge Your Criminal Record In California

Criminal Record Expungement basically means getting your criminal record or a conviction erased completely in the eyes of the law.

There are other procedures that have been put in place to reduce Felonies to Misdemeanors and then to set the misdemeanor to the side or expunge them.

Some of the top reasons for applying for Criminal Record Expungement are as follows:

  1. If you apply for insurance and the insurance company finds a conviction on your criminal record, they may charge extremely high insurance premiums or rates of interest. Depending upon the type of crime, they may outright deny you insurance coverage altogether.
  2. Denial of personal and business loans: Having a criminal record will also put obstacles in your way of applying for a loan. Many banks and other financial institutions may hesitate before loaning you money and they will charge you a high interest rate. Students may not receive a loan or even financial aid from their institution of higher learning if they are found with a criminal record.
  3. Denial of Private and Government subsidized housing: Another major problem that can arise is in housing; a lot of private landlords, housing authorities and real estate agencies may refuse to provide you with services or provide you with housing assistance if you have a criminal record. If you are later found to have acquired a criminal record, HUD and Section 8 housing subsidies could be withheld and you may be forced to vacate your leased premises.
  4. Student Dilemma: Having a criminal record can be even more precarious and punitive if you are a student. Your university may expel you from your current program, they may refuse or even rescind your financial aid or grant. They may also make you ineligible for any kind of honors or awards. If you apply to a university, you may not be admitted based solely on your criminal record—And they don’t have to tell you!
  5. Working and employed people may find it difficult to continue with the same job after a conviction. Current employees may be terminated, or even demoted and future employers may refuse to employ you once they find out about your criminal record.
  6. Denial to possess or purchase any kind of firearm: A criminal conviction and especially a felony record will affect your rights to possess or purchase any kind of firearms. Gun ownership and possessing other kinds of armor and ammunition may be restricted or even banned for people with a criminal record.
  7. Restriction to volunteer for certain agencies, institutions and churches and curtailment of your right to vote: A felony conviction will prevent you from participating in your political process by curtailing your ability to run for office and even to vote in any election. That time may extend for as long as your parole lasts or longer.
  8. 8. Restriction on family adoption and or losing custody of natural born children where the non-convicted spouse is favored to get full legal and physical court custody. Although you may not have considered this before, but if you wish to adopt a child then such rights of yours will also be challenged and maybe even be denied if you have a conviction in the past.
  9. State licenses and certificates and other privileges including driving licenses may also be denied to you if you have a criminal conviction on your record. A felony conviction usually has greater consequences than a misdemeanor conviction.
  10. Denial of federally funded assistance or benefits: Most states and many local governments have restricted a person with a criminal conviction from receiving or being eligible for federally funded assistance including food stamps. This applies to federally assisted housing and in some cases tenants who have been arrested are evicted from their low-income housing and or lose all subsides.



Contact Fiumara & Milligan Law today at 707-571-8600 and take the first step toward erasing your criminal record.


For more information on Expunging your record, CLICK HERE.

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Wobbler DUIs In California

Unlike other states, one term you will likely hear in the context of California criminal law is the term, “wobbler” or that you were charged with a, “wobbler offense.” 

While other states do have “wobblers,” California law is known for them; in fact, there are over 100 “wobbler” offenses documented in the California penal code, including some related to DUI.

What are these “wobbler DUIs,” what do you need to know about them, and how can your attorney address them in a way to help you obtain the most positive possible outcome?

Santa Rosa DUI Lawyer

“Wobbler” Defined

A wobbler is simply a crime that can be prosecuted either as a misdemeanor or a felony. The decision to pursue one or the other is usually left to the prosecuting attorney who considers the circumstances surrounding the case to decide which is the more appropriate charge—or which he or she believes carries the best likelihood of a conviction.

Aggravating or Mitigating Factors

While the prosecutor or charging District Attorney typically decides whether to pursue a wobbler as a felony or misdemeanor, it’s not necessarily a random decision. The California District Attorneys Association has developed a set of Uniform Crime Charging Standards that most prosecutors consult when deciding how to move forward with charging a criminal case.

Some of the factors considered include:

  • The seriousness of the underlying crime itself—is it crime of violence? Is it a SEX Crime?
  • Extenuating/aggravating circumstances (for example, if someone was hurt or killed during the commission of the crime, if a weapon or gun was used in the commission of the offense;
  • Whether the defendant cooperated and overall behavior and whether there is a history of FTA’s;
  • Whether the defendant has a criminal history and/or likelihood of repeat offenses;
  • The strength of the prosecution’s case (i.e., the likelihood of conviction)


What Types of Crimes Can Be Wobblers?

Many types of offenses can be prosecuted either as misdemeanors or felonies under California law. Some of the more common examples include:

  • Child endangerment
  • Burglary
  • Forgery
  • Sexual battery
  • Vehicular manslaughter
  • Assault with a deadly weapon
  • Making criminal threats
  • Statutory rape

Wobbler DUIs

Most DUI charges in California are misdemeanors by definition, but in certain circumstances a DUI may also be classified as a wobbler, giving the prosecutor the option to pursue your case as either a misdemeanor or a felony.

Fourth Offense DUI

If you have three prior DUI convictions and are charged with a fourth DUI within a 10-year window, the fourth DUI charge qualifies as a wobbler, as do any subsequent charges. The District Attorney won’t automatically charge you with a felony, but he or she might do so if he considers you a potential habitual traffic offender and or a threat to public safety.


DUI Causing Injury

If someone is injured because you were determined to have driven while under the influence, you may be charged with DUI causing injury, which is a wobbler offense. The prosecuting attorney generally looks at the circumstances of the case before deciding to pursue this type of DUI charge as a felony. The prosecutor will consider the severity of the injuries, your speed, your conduct while driving, and the level of alcohol or DRUGS in your system.

Please keep in mind that if you are convicted of a DUI in the State of California you will be required to sign the WATSON ADVISEMENT as part of your PLEA agreement.  This advisement warns you and acknowledges from you that you will be responsible for MURDER if you are again caught driving with any measurable amount of alcohol or intoxicating substance in your body while driving which results in the death of another!

Vehicular Manslaughter While Intoxicated

If you are involved in a DUI-related accident causing the death of another person, you may be charged with vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. While this is technically a wobbler offense, most charges of this nature are pursued as felonies unless the judge or prosecutor can be convinced to reduce it to a misdemeanor. GOOD Lawyering is what is needed in cases like this!

One other DUI-related charge worth mentioning: In the case of someone’s death, if the prosecutor believes you exercised “gross negligence” in that you had full knowledge that your actions were putting others at risk, the prosecutor may upgrade the charge from vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, which is always a felony.

Santa Rosa DUI Lawyer

The Implications of a Felony DUI

When a DUI is pursued as a felony charge, the stakes are much higher for YOU and your life can become even more complicated. If you are convicted of a felony DUI, you may expect the following:

  • More jail time. A DUI felony conviction typically earns you a minimum of 16 months in state prison, up to 2-3 years. If someone was injured or killed, you could be facing up to 16 years or even more.
  • Longer license suspension/revocation. Convicted DUI felons generally lose their driver’s license for 4-5 years.
  • Permanent police record and required disclosure. You must disclose your felony conviction anytime you apply for a job—and it will disqualify you from working in many jobs and even some professions.
  • Lose your right to vote. Convicted felons can’t vote while in prison or during the time of their parole.
  • Loss of professional license. Many professional licensing boards may revoke your license if you are convicted of a felony.
  • Restricted travel. You’ll need permission from your parole officer to travel more than 50 miles from home, and you’ll need a travel pass to leave the state, according to the California Conditions of Parole.
  • Lose your right to bear arms. Under California law, you can’t own a gun for the rest of your life once convicted of a felony.

Defending Against Wobbler DUIs

The good news about wobbler DUIs (if there is any “good news” here) is that they give your defense attorney some latitude for negotiation. We may be able to present evidence before the prosecutor and judge as to why your DUI should be prosecuted as a misdemeanor rather than a felony. We will also negotiate with the prosecutor or appeal to the judge to have a felony charge reduced to a misdemeanor—for example, as part of a plea agreement.

The presiding judge may also exercise the option to reduce a wobbler DUI from a felony to a misdemeanor at the preliminary hearing or at certain stages of the trial is the case goes forward. Also in certain instances, even after conviction, your attorney may be able to appeal your case to have your felony conviction reduced to a misdemeanor or even over-turned at the appellate level.

If you are charged with a DUI offense in California—especially one that is categorized as a wobbler—hiring an EXPERIENCED and SKILLED attorney is an essential ingredient in obtaining the best possible outcome and hopefully avoiding a felony conviction—which has severe and lasting consequences.

Is A "Wet Reckless" Plea Bargain By The District Attorney Really A Good Deal?Is A "Wet Reckless" Plea Bargain By The District Attorney Really A Good Deal?

If you need effective and strong legal representation for a DUI charge in Sonoma or Marin County, call our offices today at 707-571-8600 or 415-492-4507 for a FREE case evaluation.

For more info on DUI Defense, CLICK HERE.


For most throughout Sonoma and Marin Counties, this holiday weekend will be filled with parties, cookouts, and other celebrations with friends and family.

However, it may also likely be a weekend filled with DUI check points which may result in DUI or Boating Under the Influence charges. California has consistently ranked high on the list of states with the most DUI related deaths.

Santa Rosa DUI Lawyer


-Have a designated driver, whether you’re in a car or boat

-Take a cab, Uber, or public transportation

-Be the host of your own party

-Don’t text while driving/boating, especially if you’ve consumed alcohol

Following these simple guidelines can keep you from incurring the heavy costs of being arrested for driving or boating under the influence.

DUIs and/or boating under the influence has long lasting consequences, and you should always contact a DUI defense lawyer before proceeding in your case. If you are arrested, you have the right to an attorney.

Santa Rosa DUI Lawyer


Driving drunk is never the right thing to do, even if you are only traveling a short distance. By limiting yourself to a house party or a small family get together, you can avoid the risks that come with driving while intoxicated.

You can engage in festivities in a stress-free environment. If you chose the more dangerous route of driving your vehicle to a Memorial Day celebration, the consequences can be dire.

In many cases, just being accused of a DUI can lead to a license suspension, especially if you refuse a chemical test before you are arrested.

Santa Rosa DUI Lawyer



With an estimated 34,800,000 people traveling on May 29th, Memorial Day is one of the most dangerous times to drive all year.

The sheer number of people on the road present many hazards, such as cars following too closely and road rage that is caused by crawling traffic jams. Throw in thousands of drunk people who decide to get behind the wheel and it can be seen why this weekend ranks number one in traffic accidents and fatalities.

With the high frequency of drunk driving that occurs on Memorial Day, police have gone to drastic measures to CURTAIL this dangerous activity.

During Memorial Day weekend, police set up DUI checkpoints to make roads safer. During these stops, officers have their senses heightened, so much so that they might detect things that are not there.

For example, they might arrest someone because they claim to smell alcohol, even if the accused’s blood alcohol content (BAC) is under the legal limit of .08 percent. They may even smell the other passenger’s alcohol laden breath and attribute to YOU.


If you live in a popular and highly trafficked area, you may be able to use a taxi or rideshare program to eliminate the risk of a DUI charge. With certain companies, such as Uber or Lyft, it can be as simple as requesting a car with your phone.

Santa Rosa DUI Lawyer

When you think about it, it is far more cost effective to spend $30 for a couple rides than to pay $2,500 or more for a DUI fine, let alone BAIL FOR JAIL, and LAWYER’S FEES of many THOUSANDS of dollars!

It would be much cheaper to hire a limo laden with Strippers, fine spirits, beer and wine then to suffer the humiliation and monetary set-back a DUI will bring upon you! 


With decades of combined legal experience and a passion for protecting the rights of good people, our DUI attorneys have the resources to get your charges reduced or eliminated.

It may be possible to employ one of several effective defense strategies, or to avoid jail time with a plea bargain.

Regardless of the circumstances surrounding your case, having the right legal representation can be the difference between having a criminal record and getting your charges dropped. Our lawyers will help present your case in the best possible light.

Is A "Wet Reckless" Plea Bargain By The District Attorney Really A Good Deal?Is A "Wet Reckless" Plea Bargain By The District Attorney Really A Good Deal?

To see how you can fight your charges in court, call Fiumara & Milligan Law at 707-571-8600 for a free consultation.

We wish everyone a happy and safe Memorial Day, especially all our men and women in uniform. Thank you for your service!

For more info on DUI Defense, CLICK HERE.

For more on Boating Under the Influence, CLICK HERE.

To see some examples of how we have won for others who have been arrested for DUI, CLICK HERE.

To see where many of the DUI checkpoints are being setup this weekend, CLICK HERE.

California abalone law

Poachers And Would-Be Poachers Beware!

An article in the press democrat yesterday talks about jail sentences for abalone poachers..
CLICK HERE to read more and see below on how we can help you FIGHT charges! 

Fines ranging from $15 to $40,000 are not too uncommon. 

You will need to lawyer-up if you are accused of illegal abalone diving, fishing or acquisition of same.

WE have handled hundreds of cases in Mendocino and Sonoma Counties since 1992

—Don’t risk being locked up and even being deported, you have rights too. 

There is still the presumption of innocence…

Abalone cases are prosecuted vigorously on the Coast, and they should be, but punishment must fit the crime.

Most violators receive a misdemeanor conviction for a first offense, leading to substantial fines and potential jail time. Many visitors to the Coast receive a citation for what they think is a minor violation of the Abalone law, only later to find out how harsh the punishment can be.

DO NOT make the mistake of assuming there is nothing you can do, or it that it is not worth it to fight your case if you are not local and have to make a long trip to appear in court.

In most cases we can appear for you, when appropriate, without you needing to lose valuable time from work or home. Call 707-571-8600 OR 415-492-4507 for help NOW! 

To see our dedicated webpage relating to Abalone Law, CLICK HERE


New Year’s Eve is Sunday night. This means plenty of parties and celebrating will occur. While we are all anxious to go out and have a great time, people must understand that because of the stigma associated with New Year’s Eve, there will be an increase in law enforcement activity.


What does this mean for people on the road? It means an increase in DUI checkpoints of which you MUST be aware.

Law enforcement officers know that a high number of people will be out partying and most likely drinking. For those who try to drive afterwards, these officers want to be ready with their DUI checkpoints. If you are planning on going out and drinking Sunday night, keep a few things in mind.



It is important to know what you are required to do and what you can decline when you are at a DUI checkpoint. By preparing for the DUI checkpoint, you stand the best chance of getting through and on your way.

Keep in mind, if you have been drinking, our team encourages you not to drive at all.

However, if you are stopped at a checkpoint, know that the officer is checking your behavior and ability to correspond with their requests. There are certain things you must comply with, but you may refuse to participate in field sobriety tests or breath tests. Know that refusing to provide a breath test can result in the suspension of your driver’s license for at least one year.



Do not give the officer a reason to ask you to step out of the vehicle. Remain calm and composed throughout the matter. Suspicion is often what leads the officer to ask a driver to participate in field sobriety tests or breathalyzer tests.

Follow the simplest directions. Don’t argue with the officer/ cop. Move with caution and if you have an open container in your vehicle in plain sight, you will be asked to step out!  So avoid having any opened container or bottle inside your vehicle at any time.

A failure of any of the field sobriety tests is not necessarily indicators of intoxication, but, if you fail any one of them, you may be arrested. However, if you politely respond to the officer’s requests you shouldn’t have to worry about additional tests.


Our team DOES NOT encourage drinking and driving. If you decide to drink on New Year’s Eve, which most people do, then you should avoid driving at all costs.  There are plenty of alternatives like, lyft, UBER, Taxis, Limos and even public transportation if available! 

STRIPPERS—Now that I got your attention, I have told many younger drinkers and revelers that it would have been much cheaper for them to hire the best LIMO for the night packed with food, alcohol and strippers than to hire most law firms to represent them for their first DUI!  The Limo service with the driver and the added amenities would have been a lot more fun too!


At Fiumara & Milligan Law, we know how to defend your rights if you have been arrested for DUI on New Year’s Eve or any other day or night of the year. Why ruin the first day of your NEW Year?

We know all the best defenses available to you and our DUI defense attorneys work hard to help you reach the outcome you desire.Is A "Wet Reckless" Plea Bargain By The District Attorney Really A Good Deal?Is A "Wet Reckless" Plea Bargain By The District Attorney Really A Good Deal?

Call us at 707-571-8600 OR 415-492-4507 if you are arrested at a DUI checkpoint or for that matter anywhere this New Year’s Eve and we’ll be there to help you!

“The Right DUI Defense Attorney Makes All the Difference”

For more info on DUI Checkpoints in Sonoma & Marin Counties, CLICK HERE

The Juvenile Court System & Juvenile Law In Northern California

When a juvenile is arrested and charged with a crime in the North Bay, the effects can last a lifetime.

Just being questioned by a police officer is intimidating; imagine being taken into custody as a child or teenager.


When a child, under the age of 18 years is facing serious criminal charges, it can be devastating not only to the child but to the parent as well. One of the most important questions a parent can ask himself or herself is: How do I protect my child?

Teenagers are often not mature enough to stop, think and really consider how serious their actions are and what the consequences might be. This is especially true if they have never been in trouble with the law before and have never experienced the legal consequences.   For this reason, it is extremely important to consult with an experienced attorney, who has experience in not only defending criminal charges, but who is experienced in defending juveniles.


The juvenile court system is quite different from the adult court system in that it main focus is on rehabilitation rather than punishment. This is something that an experienced juvenile defense attorney must keep reminding the prosecution of because they tend to forget this. Keeping the prosecution focused on how to help the juvenile rather than punish the minor is extremely important in getting the best outcome for the juvenile.

An equally skilled and experienced attorney will know how to work effectively with probation who makes the critical recommendation(s) to the Court or in this case, the Juvenile court judge.


Knowing all of the social service providers that can make a Deferred Entry of Judgement disposition possible is another big advantage the minor gets when he or she is represented by an experienced Juvenile law attorney.  Informal probation, restorative justice and other diversion type dispositions are more readily available to those minors who hire highly skilled and experienced counsel from the onset.

Equally as important is having the juvenile’s record completely expunged automatically or otherwise, after probation is successfully completed.  One tool that is extremely helpful with this is Deferred Entry of Judgment. Preventing a guilty verdict or plea should always the goal.

Santa Rosa Juvenile Law Attorney

Fiumara & Milligan Law Can Help Protect Your Childs Future

If your child has been arrested or is being charged with a crime in Sonoma or Marin Counties, or anywhere in the North Bay consider contacting an experienced juvenile criminal defense attorney, who has been advocating and successfully handling juvenile cases since 1992. 

As your child’s advocate, your best recourse it to hire the most experienced and qualified attorney and law firm who will make a real difference in your son or daughter’s future.

santa rosa criminal lawyer

Contact Fiumara & Milligan Law today at 707-571-8600 OR 415-492-4507 for a FREE case evaluation and put over 40 years of combined California criminal law experience in your corner.


For more info on juvenile defense and how we can help, CLICK HERE

How Can You Get Probation In Your Criminal Case?

If you are sentenced to jail time, your entire life could change. Not only will you lose your liberty you could also lose your job or career. However, you may be able to stay out of jail by seeking probation.

If you are granted probation, you could live at your home, keep your job and not have to deal with all of the adverse consequences that occur when you sit in jail.


So, how can an experienced criminal defense attorney help you receive probation as part of your sentence or prior to your case being heard?

California courts are given wide discretion when it comes to sentencing. The judge will take into account a number of factors, including the severity of the crime for which you were convicted and your prior criminal history (if any). Are you a first time offender?  

The court is more likely to be lenient with your sentence if:

-Your crime was not a serious one that involved death or serious bodily injury to another person, and

-You have no history of prior criminal convictions


There are a number of ways to get probation as part of your sentence. First, consult with an experienced and skillful criminal defense attorney. Your lawyer will review your case, assess the pertinent factors, and develop a recommendation that persuades the court to grant you a term of probation in lieu of jail.

Your attorney can then take a few different approaches. He or she can approach the prosecutor and determine whether a plea agreement can be made to keep you out of jail. In some cases, prosecutors are open to probation as part of a “plea deal” because it avoids the necessity of having to try the case.

As part of a plea bargain, you will be required to plead guilty or no contest to some criminal charge against you. This is one way your lawyer can help you secure probation instead of going to jail.


Another tactic is to make the case for probation to the judge at your sentencing. At sentencing, your attorney can argue that your punishment should only be in the form of probation and not jail. Your lawyer can call witnesses to testify about your good character and explain any mitigating factors that will support probation as an appropriate punishment in your case.

Contact the Criminal Defense Attorneys at Fiumara & Milligan Law Today

If you would prefer probation over JAIL time in your case, you should contact a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. At Fiumara & Milligan Law, our knowledgeable criminal defense lawyers have been helping satisfied clients obtain probation in criminal cases for more than 25 years.

With offices in both Sonoma and Marin Counties, there is an experienced criminal defense attorney conveniently available to help you no matter where you are located.


Contact our offices today at 707-571-8600 or 415-492-4507 for a free consultation and find out how we can help YOU!

The Right Attorney Makes All The Difference!

For more info on probation violations in Sonoma or Marin Counties, CLICK HERE

Extortion – California Penal Code sections 518, 519, 520

Extortion – California Penal Code sections 518, 519, 520

In California, the crime of extortion is the obtaining of property from another, with his consent, or the obtaining of an official act of a public officer, induced by a wrongful use of force or fear, or under color of official right.


Defining “Fear”:

Extortion may be committed by the application of force, such as, I won’t stop hitting you until you give me the password to your debit card, but it can also be committed by forcing someone to do the same thing out of fear. The Penal Code states that fear, such as will constitute extortion, may be induced by the threat of the following:

  1. To do an unlawful injury to the person or property of the individual threatened or of a third person. An example is, I will hit you if you don’t give me your money.
  2. To accuse the individual threatened, or a relative of his or her, or a member of his or her family, of a crime. An example is, I will accuse you of theft if you don’ give me your money.
  3. To expose, or to impute to him, her, or them a deformity, disgrace, or crime. An example is, I will say you got so drunk last night that you had sex with multiple partners if you don’t give me money.
  4. To expose a secret affecting him, her, or them. An example is, I will tell people you about how your cheated on your spouse unless you pay me money.
  5. To report his, her, or their immigration status or suspected immigration status. An example would be, I will tell INS you are an illegal immigrant unless you pay me money.


The term, “property,” basically means anything of value, such as, but not limited to, money, a signature on a document, a deed to a house, a promise to do some official act, such as a pardon or a dismissal of a case, valuable photographs, a contract, etc.


It is a felony to commit the crime of extortion and the court may impose a 2, 3, or 4 year state prison sentence as punishment.  

If the extortion was done by an official in the government, then then the crime may be charged as a misdemeanor.

If the extortion is done against an elder person, then that fact will be used by the judge to consider imposing the 4 year prison sentence, rather than the 2 or 3 years term.


How does the prosecutor prove the crime of extortion?

To prove the crime of extortion, the prosecutor must prove that:

  1. The defendant used force against another or threatened to do one or more of the following:
    1. unlawfully injure,
    2. threatened to accuse the person or another person of a crime, or
    3. threatened to expose a secret about another person,
  2. When making the threat or using force, the defendant intended to use that fear or force to obtain the other person’s consent to give the defendant money or property or to do an official act;
  3. As a result of the threat or use of force, the other person consented to give the defendant money or property or to do an official act;


  1. As a result of the threat or use of force, the other person then gave the defendant money or property or did an official act.

Legal Defenses:

Threat or use of force not the reason the person consented. The victim in an extortion must have consented to do some act as a result of the defendant’s threat or use of force. For instance, it would be a crime of extortion if the female victim paid money to prevent the defendant from revealing nude photos of her. However, it would not be extortion if the victim paid the money for some other reason, such as to pay a lawful debt.

The defendant had a lawful right to make the threat. If the threat was lawful, then there is no extortion. For instance, a threat to file a cause of action for personal injury unless the alleged victim settled the claim outside of court is not extortion. In fact, this scenario is common when attorney’s make personal injury claims against insurance companies.


The threat or use of force was not accompanied by the defendant making a demand for something of value. It would be extortion to tell someone that you will report that they stole an apple unless they give you two dollars, but it would not be a crime if only the threat to report the crime was made. An example would be if Dave stole money out of the cash register. Steve saw him do it and immediately said, “I’m going to tell the boss.” In response, Dave says, “I’ll give you $100 if you don’t say anything,” and Steve agrees. This is not extortion, though Steve may be guilty of other crimes, such as conspiracy and/or misprision of a felony (helping to cover up the crime.)

There was no use of force or threat accompanying the demand for something of value. If the demand for something of value was not accompanied by the use of force or threat or there is no connection between the two, then there is not crime of extortion. An example of this situation is when Robert tells Sarah that he will release nude photographs of her. He threatens her with this on April 2nd. Two weeks later he calls her and says, you owe me $200. The prosecutor will have to prove that the demand for money was in connection with the threat to release the nude photos or Robert will not be found guilty of extortion.

Being Represented by a Knowledgeable Attorney is Crucial:

If you are charged with this crime it is crucial that you retain the services of a knowledgeable attorney as soon as possible. Extortion is a serious crime that involves elements that can lead to prison, deportation, or both, and you need competent representation and advice.

Contact us:

We have been successfully defending clients facing all types of criminal charges in Sonoma and Marin Counties, since 1992.

The 100 Trial Lawyers Association has recognized us as one of the best criminal defense attorneys in the country!

How a Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help Me Win My Theft Charges Case

Please call our office today at (707) 571-8600 in our centrally located Santa Rosa office in Sonoma County or call our office in San Rafael in Marin County at (415) 492-4507 to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation.

Don’t bargain with your freedom! The right attorney makes all the difference between your freedom and incarceration!


California Legislative Information

Despite the devastating news coming from the North Bay where we practice law–the loss of life and the horrendous destruction of thousand of homes and businesses, here is some good news on the Juvenile Justice front. Governor Brown just signed some very much needed progressive legislation, see below:

SACRAMENTO – Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today signed legislation to improve California’s criminal and juvenile justice systems, restore the power of judges to impose criminal sentences and reduce recidivism through increased rehabilitation.

The Governor signed the following bills:

• AB 529 (Stone) requires the sealing of juvenile records when a petition is dismissed. 
• AB 1308 (Stone) expands the youth offender parole process for persons sentenced to lengthy prison terms for crimes committed before age 23 to include those 25 or younger.
• AB 1448 (Weber) allows the Board of Parole hearings to consider the possibility of granting parole to an elderly prisoner who has served at least 25 years in prison. A signing message can be found here.
• SB 180 (Mitchell) repeals the three-year sentence enhancement for certain prior drug convictions that are added to any new conviction. 
• SB 190 (Mitchell) ends the assessment of fees on families of youth in the juvenile justice system.
• SB 312 (Skinner) authorizes courts to seal juvenile records for certain offenses.
• SB 393 (Lara) authorizes record sealing and removes barriers to employment for those arrested but never convicted of a crime.
• SB 394 (Lara) ensures compliance with U.S. Supreme Court decisions by allowing children sentenced to life without the possibility of parole to be eligible for a parole hearing after 25 years.
• SB 395 (Lara) requires children aged 15 years or younger to consult with an attorney before waiving their rights and before a custodial interrogation.
• SB 620 (Bradford) restores judicial discretion regarding the imposition of firearm enhancements. Judges retain full authority to impose such sentencing enhancements. 
• SB 625 (Atkins) creates an honorable discharge program for youth who successfully complete probation after release from the Department of Juvenile Justice.

For full text of the bills, visit:

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Case Results

  • DUI- Hung Jury
  • Felony Assault - JURY ACQUITTAL
  • Domestic Violence - JURY ACQUITTAL
  • Felonies - REDUCED to 1 MISD.
  • Felonies - REDUCED to 1 MISD. NO JAIL
  • Sex Felonies - REDUCED/NO JAIL
  • Prostitution - DIVERSION/NO JAIL
  • 2nd Theft - DISMISSED
  • Drug Felonies - NO JAIL
  • Resisting Arrest - DISMISSED
  • Juvenile Sex Felonies - DIVERSION
  • Multi-ED CODE Charges - REMAIN IN SCHOOL
  • 1st Degree Burglary - REDUCED

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