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Simas & Associates, Ltd. Newsletter | November 7, 2014 | Volume II, Issue 11
Firm Announcement

Simas & Associates, Ltd. Reignites DMV Hearing Practice

Sacramento, CA - Simas & Associates, Ltd. prides itself in being one of California's leading administrative law firms. However, administrative law is a vast jungle, and sometimes a particularly common practice area gets lost in the weeds, so-to-speak. Representing licensees in Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) hearings is one of those practice areas that Simas & Associates, Ltd. 

"DMV hearings often arise as the result of a criminal matter," explained Mr. Simas. "Let's cut to the chase - usually they are the result of driving while impaired.  And the impairment is usually the result of driving while intoxicated. So, any prospective client typically has a couple of things at the top of the totem pole of priorities - such as freedom, health, employment, family - before getting back to realizing that their driving privileges are at risk."


That being said, the process for defending one's license before the DMV is very similar to defending any other type of license. It involves the same types of steps one would see in any other administrative proceeding.

"Having served as counsel for the DMV and Judge Pro Tem," continued Mr. Simas, "I have seen the full gamut of the various types of hearings and proceedings that a licensee can find themselves in.  And I also know where headway can be made in defending oneself in each of those cases."

One type of DMV hearing that the firm recently conducted was for a client who had their driving license suspended due to a mental condition

"The hearing process was super-informal," explained Justin D. Hein, the attorney who handled the matter. "However, we had to circumvent the inability of our client to timely produce a [Driver's Medical Education] DME Form in advance of the hearing. Lucky, we were able to produce medical and driving records in advance of the hearing while our client attempted to make arrangements to identify a new physican to handle the form. We also were able to find a policy memorandum from the DMV on how they typically treated the type of condition our client was experiencing.  In the end, we admittedly overwhelmed the hearing officer with enough evidence and argument to warrant her granting our client the additional time needed to get the DME form completed."


Shortly thereafter, the client had the examination and the physician submitted the form. A week or so later, the client was driving again.

"It was really no different from any other licensing hearing - evidence of rehabilitation, mitigation, and character saved the day," concluded Mr. Hein.

For more information on our practice areas, please visit our website at www.simasgovlaw.com.
Staff Announcement

Richard Turner Celebrates Fifty Years of Service as a Member of the State Bar of California

Earlier this month, Richard K. Turner, Of Counsel to Simas & Associates, Ltd., was recognized by the State Bar of California for his fifty (50) years of service as a member of the state bar.


"50 years, huh," Mr. Turner replied. "Time has certainly flown by."

As one of Steven L. Simas's professional mentors, he has served as Of Counsel since the law firm's founding.  And as one of the of the leading Administrative Law attorneys in the State of California, he has served as a great resource for the firm's attorneys and many clients over the years and as indicated in a recent newsletter.

"I was very fortunate," explained Mr. Simas. "Having logged considerable time in the public sector, I don't think I would have been able to survive on my own. I needed someone to take me under their wing and show me the ropes. Even to this day, he serves as a springboard for new and creative ways to handle the predicaments our clients sometimes find themselves in.  Mr. Turner always had a knack for seeing a different way out."

However, in retirement, Mr. Turner has turned this innate ability of perception into a second career.  He has become an accomplished photographer and poet. His latest work, I Can't Always See My Path… but I Keep on Walking, is available for purchase.  

"Of course I am proud of what I accomplished as an attorney," explained Mr. Turner.  "i am very happy with the many people I got to work with, as colleagues, clients, adversaries, and adjudicators.  Those relationships will always be a part of who I am.  However, I am very happy with all that I did while also maintaining my health and appreciation of life beyond the practice of law."
Client/Vendor of the Month
 
 
Elevate Physical Therapy & Fitness
1505 11th Street
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Phoneʉۢ (424) 322-8585
Facsimileʉۢ (424) 322-8583
 
Elevate Physical Therapy & Fitness (ELEVATE) turns the traditional managed-care physical therapy clinic and the mass-market fitness environment on their heads with its concierge physical therapy and fitness model. The multi-discipline team of experienced doctors of physical therapy, trainers, massage therapists, Pilates instructors and coaches work collaboratively to integrate the best thinking across disciplines for innovative and effective programs for clients at any stage of health.

ELEVATE is an evidence-based physical therapy and fitness facility that will meet you anywhere you are in your state of health, perpetually ELEVATING that state — Rehabilitating from injury, pain and sickness; participating in wellness & fitness; or advancing high-level performance. 
    
Simas & Associates, Ltd. appreciates serving as ELEVATE's attorney since earlier this summer.  If you would like to be featured as our law firm’s “Client/Vendor of the Month,” please contact us at info@simasgovlaw.com
Training Reminder!
 
Steven L. Simas will be one of the featured presenters for an upcoming training, jointly hosted by Pincus Professional Education and the Administrative Law Section of the Sacramento County Bar Association.  It is entitled, "Administrative Writs of Mandamus: What You Need to Know".

The training will be at the Hyatt Regency Sacramento on November 14, 2014.  It is an all-day training seminar, starting at 8:30 AM, focused on writs of administrative mandate under California Code of Civil Procedure section 1094.5.  Mr. Simas will be joined by Superior Court, County of Sacramento Judge Hon. Thadd A. Blizzard, Beth Curtis, Esq., of Langenkamp, Curtis & Price, LLP, Robert McWhorter, Esq. of Nossaman LLP, and Charles L. Post, Esq. of Weintraub Tobin.

Sign-up today!
Featured Agency Announcement

California Voters Pass Proposition 47 

Sacramento, CA - California voters have passed Proposition 47, a law that will reduce simple drug possession and some property crimes to misdemeanors, with 59 percent of the vote, according to statewide ballot returns. That means, effectively immediately, California joins about a dozen other states across the country with misdemeanor drug possession laws.

The proposition, called The Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act, calls for the estimated $200 million saved in prison costs each year to fund programs that rehabilitate drug addicts, treat mental health needs, keep kids in school and support crime victims.

"By passing Proposition 47, California voters show that they understand that the policies of the past have failed and that we cannot incarcerate our way to safety," Lenore Anderson, chair of the initiative ballot committee, said in a statement. "Californians do not want to waste any more costly prison space on nonviolent, non-serious offenses."

Supporters say the money will be better spent working to keep current and future inmates out of the criminal justice system’s revolving door by providing treatment. It is also a way to comply with the court order the state is under to reduce its prison population.

“The vote clearly shows they want change, and we need to listen to it.”

Besides making drug possession for personal use a misdemeanor, the law also focuses on five property crimes under a value of $950: theft, forgery, writing bad checks, receiving stolen property and shoplifting. A misdemeanor is punishable by up to a year in jail.

In all, about 40,000 people a year are convicted of those six crimes, according to the Legislative Analyst’s Office.

The measure will also allow inmates currently serving time for one of those crimes to ask for resentencing. That could apply to as many as 10,000 inmates.
Featured Blog Entry
 
Deferred Entry of Judgment versus Drug Program in lieu of Incarceration

Many California licensees or professionals applying for an occupational or business license who have been convicted of drug-related offenses do not understand the consequences of their conviction. More often than not, the licensing authority – whether a state licensing Board or local licensing agency – will deem the conviction substantially related to the profession, and either deny the license or discipline the licensee. For example, if you apply for a license with the Gambling Control Commission, the type of drug conviction you have affects how you would answer conviction-related questions on your application. Thus, it is essential for anyone convicted of a drug-related offense or about to plea to a drug-related offense to understand the interchange between state licensure and your conviction or plea.

Under the Penal Code statutes, the accused is required to enter a guilty plea and formal judgment is deferred. Once a diversion order is entered, no trial or other criminal proceeding remains pending. A defendant’s plea of guilty pursuant to a deferred entry of judgment program does not constitute a conviction for any purpose unless a judgment is entered pursuant to the defendant’s failure to successfully complete the program.

After successfully completion of a deferred entry of judgment program, “the arrest upon which the judgment was deferred shall be deemed to have never occurred.”


To keep reading this entry, please click here: Deferred Entry of Judgment versus Drug Program in lieu of Incarceration. For more blog entries from our attorneys and legal staff, please visit our law firm’s official blog – Wit of Mandate.
Word of the Month

Pardon

To use the executive power of a Governor or President to forgive a person convicted of a crime, thus removing any remaining penalties or punishments and preventing any new prosecution of the person for the crime for which the pardon was given. A pardon strikes the conviction from the books as if it had never occurred, and the convicted person is treated as innocent. Sometimes pardons are given to an older rehabilitated person long after the sentence has been served to clear his/her record. However, a pardon can also terminate a sentence and free a prisoner when the chief executive is convinced there is doubt about the guilt or fairness of the trial, the party is rehabilitated and has performed worthy public service, or there are humanitarian reasons such as terminal illness.

A pardon is distinguished from "a commutation of sentence" which cuts short the term; "a reprieve," which is a temporary halt to punishment, particularly the death penalty, pending appeal or determination of whether the penalty should be reduced; "amnesty," which is a blanket "forgetting" of possible criminal charges due to a change in public circumstances (such as the end of a war or the draft system); or a "reduction in sentence," which shortens a sentence and can be granted by a judge or an executive.

For more terms related to our practice areas, please visit our law firm’s glossary at 
SimasGovLaw.com - Glossary.
Upcoming Calendar

November 9 - 25th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall.

November 11 - Happy Veterans' Day!

November 12 - SacBar Business Law Section - Analyzing Business Value and Damages in Business and Shareholder Disputes .Also, Schwartz-Levi Inn of Court Meets.

November 13 - Barristers' Club of Sacramento - Night of Beer and Voting.

November 14 -
PINCUS - Administrative Writs of Mandamus, presented by Steven L. Simas.

November 15 -
National Philanthropy Day.

November 16 - 
ATP World Tour Finals.

November 18 - SacBar Labor and Employment Law Section -
Top 10 Practice Tips for Lawyers Appearing before Employment Law Arbitrators. Also, Kennedy Inn of Court meets.

November 20 - SLO County Bar Association -
Hot Topics in Legal Ethics.

November 21 - CCTLA -
Ethics and Lawyer Law.

November 23 -
Davis Cup Finals.

November 27 - Happy Thanksgiving!

November 28 - Happy Black Friday!

December 1 - Happy Cyber Monday!

December 2 -
Special Education Day - 10th Anniversary!

December 4 - SLO County Bar Association
Holiday Party.

And a happy birthday to
Paralegal, Julianne Allen, who will be celebrating a birthday in early December!
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