Hit and Run (Rights and Responsibilities)

Articles by Carina Castañeda 15 March 2015

You will be charged with a hit and run if you leave the scene of an accident without identifying yourself to the party or parties involved, and another’s property was damaged in the accident. The prosecution can file the charge either as a misdemeanor (property damage) and felony (injury sustained).  Many will call me and inquire as to what their duties are if they are involved in an accident and damage someone’s property.

 In California, Vehicle Code  (“VC”) Section 20002, imposes three duties: immediately stop, if the party/parties  are not present,  leave your identifying information (name, contact number and/or address), if the party/parties are on the scene, provide additional information (driver’s license, insurance information, registration).  Keep in mind that you must comply with these obligations regardless of who is at fault. Even if the other driver is 100% at fault and you left the scene or failed to provide information, you could still be charged with hit and run.

If you hit a parked car or another type of property and the owner of that property is not on the scene, VC 2002 requires you to leave a note in a conspicuous place which must have your “identifying information,” summary of what occurred and to immediately call your local police agency. Even though leaving a note is “technically” required, it is sometimes acceptable to simply call your local police agency advise them of the incident.


Fourth Amendment Right Against Unreasonable Search and Seizure

Articles by Carina Castañeda 08 March 2015

The case of Mapp v. Ohio is poignant for many reasons. This seminal case which guards against all of us, citizens or not, the right against unreasonable searches and seizures was decided 50 years ago on June 19, 1961. Incredibly enough, this case all began with Don King, the future boxing promoter with the unique hairdo, whose home was bombed on May 20, 1957.

The bombing led to a police investigation into gambling and the rackets and in just a few days later to the home of Dollree Mapp, an Ohio woman, who would spend the next four years fighting over the scope and the effect of the search of her home and the seizure of evidence from it.

The exclusionary rule is designed to exclude evidence obtained in violation of a criminal defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights. The Fourth Amendment protects against unreasonable search and seizures by law enforcement personnel. If the search of a suspect is unreasonable, the evidence obtained in the search will be excluded from trial.


Violating a Protective or Restraining Order is a Crime

Articles by Carina Castañeda 28 February 2015

California Penal Code (PC) 273.6 makes it a crime to violate the conditions set forth in a restraining order (RO) and used sometimes interchangeably as a “protective order” (PO). This usually occurs when a judge issue a legal restraining order and you intentionally ignore the terms of the order.

Generally, a PO is a court order designed to protect a person(s) from harassment, physical abuse, stalking or threats by the named person in the order. The restrained party must stop all forms of contact—personal contact (telephone calls, texts, emails, social network sites or any type of surveillance).

There are 4 types of PO the court issues: (1) domestic violence restraining order (protect individuals from abuse suffered from a person whom he/she shares an intimate relationship with); (2) civil harassment restraining order (protect people not considered “intimate” such as neighbors, co-workers); (3) elder or dependent adult abuse protective order (protect those 65 and older and those who are between 18 and 64 who suffers from certain disabilities); (4) workplace violence restraining order (requested by an employer to protect an employee).


Domestic Violence in Family Court

Articles by Carina Castañeda 22 February 2015

There are many types of abuse, and a family law court shall take all of them in consideration. There are generally eight types of domestic violence/abuse: physical, intimidation, child abuse, verbal and emotional, social isolation, religious, male/female privilege (diminishing the victim’s authority and preventing him/her from contributing to the relationship and sexual abuse. 

If you are in the process of divorce and there are minors involved, issues of custody and visitation will be at issue. The court will consider your domestic violence case if, in the past five years (1) a parent was convicted of domestic violence against the other parent, (2) any court has decided that one parent committed domestic violence against the other parent of the children (which means that court’s previous issuance of a restraining order in your case is relevant in your custody case).

The judge must follow the law in deciding the issues of physical and legal custody.  In California, Family Code (FC) Section 3044 is the seminal rule. If the court finds that that a party seeking custody of a child has perpetrated domestic violence against the other party seeking custody of the child or against the child or the child’s siblings within the previous five years, there is a rebuttable presumption that an award of sole or joint physical or legal custody of a child to a person who has perpetrated domestic violence is detrimental to the best interest of the child.


Winning Trial Attorney

Articles by Carina Castañeda 15 February 2015

Winning Trial Atty

Media Appearances

Atty. Castañeda: Visionary, Leader and Pioneer

As the high school student body president, Atty. Castañeda was eager to pursue leadership roles on a bigger scale. At University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), she was active in university politics, various organizations such as Samahang Pilipino and a national sorority. She graduated with honors in both History and Philosophy.

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Awards & Recognition