Criminal Defense 

Experience You Can Count On

Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer

Client-Focused Representation with 20+ Years of Combined Experience

At Vadgama Law, our team of attorneys brings over 20 years of combined experience in criminal defense law. We take a client-focused approach to all our cases, so you can expect us to develop a personalized and unique defense strategy for your particular charge. We will listen attentively to understand your situation and build an effective defense based on the facts of your circumstances. Whether you have been charged with illegal drug possession, petty or grand theft, or driving under the influence in California, Vadgama Law can represent you.

Cases We Handle

A Firm With a History of Success

Illicit Drug Possession

In California, drug possession may be penalized according to different guidelines depending on the schedule of the controlled substance, the amount of the drug, and the purpose for possession. Under Proposition 47, possession of most Schedule I to Schedule V drugs are punished as misdemeanors with penalties of up to 1 year in county jail.

Recreational marijuana is legal for adults 21 and over, who may purchase, possess, and consume up to 28.5 grams of marijuana in their private residence or in an establishment licensed for marijuana consumption. Possession exceeding this amount is punishable by up to 6 months and/or up to $500 in fines. Individuals 18 and under who possess marijuana will face an infraction, which includes mandatory drug education courses and community service. Note that smoking remains illegal while driving a vehicle, anywhere smoking tobacco is prohibited, and in all public places. Possession at a school, day care center, or youth center while children are present also remains illegal.

Common defenses a defendant and their attorney could pursue in the face of a drug possession charge are:

  • medical necessity;
  • prescription issued by a doctor;
  • unlawful search resulting in seizure of drugs;
  • problem with lab analysis;
  • entrapment or improper police conduct.

Visit our page on Drug Crimesfor more specific information on the sentencing guidelines.

Petty Theft and Grand Theft

When it comes to crimes of theft, California law defines theft as stealing property by larceny, false pretense, or embezzlement with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the property. The state classifies theft offenses according to the value of the property taken. Petty theft is the theft of any property with a value of $950 or less, and petty theft is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in county jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. If the property has a value of $50 or less, the prosecutor may decide to charge the offense as an infraction (up to $250 in fines) instead if the offender does not have any other theft-related convictions.

Grand theft is the theft of property worth more than $950 or theft of a firearm of any value. The penalty for stealing a firearm is a felony punishable by a state prison term of 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years. In all other cases, grand theft is a wobbler offense that can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony, where a misdemeanor sentence will carry up to 1 year in jail. Be aware that a person who commits grand theft or petty theft during a state of emergency, local emergency, or evacuation order is guilty of looting, also a wobbler offense.

One of the most common defense tactics against theft charges is that the defendant had a good-faith belief that they owned the property or were legally entitled to possess it. To learn more about combatting theft charges in California, visit our page on Theft Crimes.

Driving Under the Influence in California

Another common criminal charge in California is DUI. It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle in the state while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol, and a first conviction is a misdemeanor that may be punishable by $390-$1,000 in fines; up to 6 months in jail; a 6-month license suspension; and a 3-year informal probation that usually includes a 3-month DUI school. A second DUI conviction will call for similar fines of $390-$1,000; up to 1 year in jail; a 2-year license suspension; and a 3-year informal probation with an 18-30-month DUI school. Note that in California, a DUI generally counts as a prior conviction for 10 years.

Be aware that certain aggravating factors can elevate a misdemeanor DUI to a felony, particularly DUIs involving injuries or fatalities. Injury DUIs are “wobblers” that can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, where a felony can result in a prison sentence of 16 months to 4 years and fines ranging from $390 to $5,000. DUI offenders who cause the death of another person are typically prosecuted under the state’s vehicular manslaughter or murder laws, which could charge the defendant with:

  • negligent vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated;
  • gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated; or
  • second degree murder.

With the increasing use of electric scooters and bicycles, California may apply different statutes for DUI. While the traditional DUI statutes establish a “per se” blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit of .08%, there is no intoxicated scootering “per se” law. So, BAC can be a consideration but not necessarily determinative of whether intoxicated scootering has violated the law. However, note that California has a specific law against “cycling under the Influence” or “CUI,” which prohibits riding a bicycle while under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or a combination of the two. CUI is a misdemeanor carrying a fine of $250, and it won’t count against a person’s driver's license unless they are under 21 years old, in which case their license may be suspended.

California also doesn’t have a statute that specifically applies to riding an electric or motorized bicycle while under the influence, so it only applies to those riding bikes that are propelled exclusively by human power. As a result, anyone caught riding one of these bikes while intoxicated could be arrested for and charged with a standard DUI.

Enlist Legal Help from an Effective Attorney Today

If you are facing criminal accusations in Los Angeles, contact an attorney at Vadgama Law immediately. We will put our experience and litigation skill to use as we plan a personalized defense strategy unique to your case. You can trust us to work honestly and diligently with you and help you fight for your right to a future.

Schedule a free consultation with Vadgama Law by calling (562) 414-6688 or contacting us online.

Clients Stories

We Provide Unparalleled Representation
  • They saved me a lot of time and a lot of money.

    “My DUI got dropped down to just a speeding ticket thanks to Shakti and his law firm.”

    - Former Client
  • When Shakti and Lonnie gave me a call I knew they were the ones for the job.

    “Lonnie was able to reduce my penalties tremendously, dropping the DUI from my record and turning it into an infraction leaving me with no probationary period.”

    - Former Client
  • Lonnie cared about my case and doing what's best for me.

    “My case was very small in comparison to his other cases, but he treated me like I was his only client. I appreciated the time he took with me.”

    - Former Client
  • Words can not describe how grateful me and my husband are for Adriana.

    “I couldn't have gone through our case without her. Always taking my calls, my text, answering all my questions. She did everything to guide us and help us get through it.”

    - Former Client
  • Very fortunate to have had Adriana represented me at a time when I needed her the most.

    “Without her experience not sure what my outcome would’ve been. I would recommend her in a heartbeat.”

    - Former Client
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Recent Results

 Thousands of Cases Handled
  • Case Dismissed First Offense DUI
  • Dismissed Domestic Violence
  • Charges Reduced and Probation Felony Transportation and Sales of Narcotics
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