Monday, June 28, 2010

Arrest Warrant/Bench Warrant Recall

For a Criminal Defense Attorney in the Los Angeles and Orange County areas, representing someone with an Arrest Warrant issued by the court can be a tricky situation.

An Arrest Warrant can be the result of a major felony while other times it is due to a past crime that may have been a misdemeanor. Still other Arrest Warrants are issued because someone did not do what they promised to do. Either way, it means that the person could face jail time for lack of compliance with some court order.

A Bench Warrant is an Arrest Warrant that is issued by a Judge after someone fails to appear in court. Law enforcement is allowed to detain the person based upon this court order to get that individual to appear in court, as per the judge’s orders.
Having a Criminal Defense Attorney in such a situation is absolutely vital, because otherwise the individual is at the mercy of the polce department holding him for the court, which could create serious problems. Plus, a warrant can lead to enhanced legal punishments, such as jail time, fines and probation.

The Law Office of David J. Givot offers more than just warrant recall expoerience. We area full service Criminal Defense Law Firm that will defend the underlying criminal accusations as well. Call today for a free consultation or go online to

So, you think you are safe from a law suit?

"A man accused of striking and killing an 81-year-old South Jersey man while fleeing from police in a stolen paramedic vehicle has filed a lawsuit against police."

Read that headline very, very carefully.

It says exactly what it looks like: The guy who stole the paramedic vehicle, ran from police, and killed an 81-year-old pedestrian is SUING the police.

Michael Jones, 46, claims officers from the Vineland Police Department were negligent in chasing him at speeds near 100 mph...more

Now, tell me again how safe YOU are from a lawsuit.

The Law Office of David J. Givot aggressively defends EMS providers. Call today for your free consultation (310) 699-0070 or go to

Monday, June 14, 2010

Always Lawyer Up!

The Sixth Amendment Right to Counsel Clause

"In all criminal proceedings, the accused shall enjoy the right…to have the assistance of counsel for his defense."

The Sixth Amendment right to counsel is a most critical component of the Bill of Rights because, when you are accused, it provides you with a lawyer; someone who is trained and practiced in the legal process and can provide a safeguard against violations of your other rights and protections.

While it seems like a right we have enjoyed forever, it was only in 1963 that the Supreme Court held that states must provide a lawyer for all felony suspects who may otherwise be unable to afford one.

Today, all person charged with a serious crime, misdemeanor or felony, in the United States enjoy the assistance of a defense attorney regardless of economic status.

In California, county-employed public defenders represent clients who cannot afford their own attorneys, and contrary to popular belief, achieve roughly equal outcomes for their clients compared to privately-hired lawyers. Though system overload and limited resources prevent most public defenders from offering each client the extensive personal service and attention available through privately retained counsel.

It is understandable that many Americans, particularly young people, have become cynical about police practices and our legal system. It is quite common to lose hope when arrested and to become angry at the officer or the law he is enforcing. However, it is absolutely essential to remember that our legal system does provide rights for the accused.


And Never rely on police to inform you of your right to remain silent and see a lawyer.

Say the Magic Words!
Tell the police: "I'm going to remain silent. I would like to see a lawyer." If police persist in questioning you, repeat the magic words and every time they try to talk to you, repeat the magic words until your lawyer arrives.

For more on this and other criminal defense issues in California, visit or call The Law Office of David J. Givot at (888) 293-0396.

Take Five

The Fifth Amendment Self-incrimination Clause

"...No person... shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself or be deprived of life liberty or property without due process of law..."

The right against self-incrimination is not an American construct. In fact, it can be traced to common law dating back to biblical times.

The right against self-incrimination is but one of many found in the Fifth Amendment, yet it seems the most widely known (even if under -utilized). It is, for sure, the clause that has the most profound effect upon the conduct of law-enforcement officers as they investigate crimes. Perhaps that is why the meaning of the self-incrimination clause has remained one of the most controversial issues in criminal procedure since the Supreme Court's ruling in Miranda v. Arizona.

Today the Supreme Court requires that police inform all criminal suspects of their right to remain silent prior to custodial interrogation - that means that if you reasonably believe you are not free to leave, then the police must inform you of your right to remain silent before they ask any questions indented to incriminate you lest anything you say and anything derived from it become inadmissible.

Although your right to remain silent exists regardless of whether you are under arrest, the requirement that you be informed of the right extends from the point of arrest throughout the suspect's involvement in the criminal justice system.

Many in the law-enforcement community feel that this restriction unfairly limits the ability of police and prosecutors to obtain convictions, however studies have shown that conviction rates have not changed significantly since the Court first required police to inform arrestees of their right against self-incrimination.

When you find yourself facing police questioning, whether you are in custody or just curbside, remember your right to remain silent and use it and do not allow yourself to get sucked into the criminal justice system without a lawyer.

For more on this and other criminal defense issues in California, visit or call The Law Office of David J. Givot at (888) 293-0396.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

New Case Results

Felony Possession/Transportation of Ecstasy: Orange County, CA
Client and passenger were stopped by police for a broken tail light. The officer smelled the odor of marijuana coming from the car and exited the driver, my client, from the vehicle.

As the officer was dealing with my client, the passenger, who had a large quantity of ecstasy pills in his backpack, stashed those pills behind the seat of my client's car. With nothing to hide and no knowledge of the pills, my client consented to a search of the car by police and the ecstasy was discovered.

The passenger told police that he knew nothing of the pills. My client was arrested and released. Nearly a year later, my client received a notice in the mail saying that he was facing multiple felony charges. He contacted me wondering whether he needed a lawyer.

I performed a thorough investigation, I discovered that six weeks after the initial traffic stop, the passenger was arrested for selling the identical pills to an undercover officer at a rave in another county.

After persistent negotiation, along with subpoenaed police records from the other county and a lot of legwork, all of the felony charges were dismissed.

Now, after the client jumps a few more hoops, the entire case will be dismissed and the arrest record destroyed.

Attempted Murder: San Joaquin County, CA
Client, on felony probation for burglary, was arrested & accused of shooting into an occupied dwelling and held without bail.

We swiftly employed the services of a private investigator to speak with witnesses. The private investigator quickly procured a video-recorded sworn statement from the witness/victim who confirmed that my client was not involved.

When that fact was brought to the attention of law enforcement, they responded by filing a probation violation "in lieu of" attempted murder prosecution in an effort to avoid a trial by jury and the "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard.

After additional negotiation and examination of evidence, my client was sentenced to 180 days in local jail for possessing ammunition in violation of his felony probation. He will be home in less than 3 months.

Misdemeanor Shoplifting: Los Angeles County, CA
Client, just 22 years old and an honors student & scholarship athlete at a local university, was just weeks away from graduating with a degree in criminal justice and an eye toward a future in law enforcement when she allegedly stole some jewelry from a local department store.

When she called me, her entire future was on the line; a conviction would surely destroy all hopes of the career she worked so hard to pursue.

After comprehensive investigation into both the incident and the client's background, the case was resolved and the criminal charges were dismissed.

Misdemeanor Obstructing Police Officer: Orange County, CA
Client, an off-duty paramedic, was out for an evening in Newport Beach with her husband and brother-in-law. The brother-in-law was involved in an altercation inside a bar and the police were called.

The brother-in-law and husband were detained by police for questioning while my client waited patiently several feet away.

Sometime later, an additional officer arrived and directed my client to move along. She explained that she was with her husband and they were far from their home, but the officer did not care and told her to leave the area. She again explained that she had nowhere to go and no way to get there without her husband. The officer became aggressive and abusive telling to leave lest she be arrested. When she asked him where she was supposed to go, he arrested her and took her to jail.

I took the case and worked closely on a resolution with the DA. I collected and presented evidence of my client's character, professionalism, and ongoing career-oriented education to show that this was most likely a case of a police officer abusing his authority.

We jumped through a few hoops, however at the end, the case was completely dismissed.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

An Open Commencement Address for Every New Paramedic

As graduation season is once again upon us, I offer the following words as if I were to address your graduating class personally.

The last time I addressed a paramedic school graduating class was my own… twenty-one years ago, almost to the day. On that day, I read a poem. I don’t remember the poem… I don’t know what it was about or who wrote it… it was just what the staff told me to read. I would have given the valedictorian speech, but I missed it by a tenth of a percent. I’m not bitter… I’m just saying that by a tenth of a percent Josh Binder gave the valedictorian speech and I read some crappy poem.

Today, though, is a much different day, for all of us. Today, instead of reading a poem that somebody else wrote, I get to tell you how it really is; from real experience with real people and real blood. I get to tell you what I know to be true about being a paramedic.

When I say that I believe "paramedic" is the single most significant job there is, I'm not just blowing sunshine up your collective rectums because this is a paramedic school graduation; and I'm not saying it because I spent most of my adult life working as a paramedic; and I'm not saying it because defending Paramedics and EMS providers is the cornerstone of my legal defense practice and some of you look like potential clients.

I say that "paramedic" is the most significant job there is because I know it's true. Think about this: Unlike even other EMS providers, it is the paramedic who willingly puts himself or herself smack in the middle of tragedy. It is the paramedic who willingly seeks out life's worst moments and brings hope and comfort. It is the paramedic who willingly faces the absolute worst that human kind has to offer and takes control with a level head, a firm voice, and gentle hands.

But, more than all that, it is the paramedic - and nobody else - who goes to work every morning, takes out their license to practice, slams it on the table and says: "I dare you, world; I dare you to take this away from me today. I dare you to take my livelihood, my possessions, and even my life. I dare you." Because, unlike any other profession, in EMS a simple twist of fate, a simple mistake, a simple misjudgment, can cost you everything. I've tried, but I cannot think of any other profession where that is true. There are jobs that are singularly more difficult. There are jobs that are singularly more dangerous. But there is no other profession that is more significant for those reasons and many more.

To add a little perspective, I remember lying awake some nights in quarters thinking to myself: "Wow, if I called 911 right now, I would That's it. I'm it." For all intents and purposes, that was true. There is no 911 for 911 to call: You are it. For that reason alone, most people cannot do this job. Most people are not willing to take the kind of risks that you will take every minute that you hold a paramedic license.

Notice, I did not say "every minute that you are working," I said every minute that you hold a paramedic license. Because your status as a licensed paramedic, what is expected of you, is not limited to who you are and what you do on duty. As an attorney who defends paramedics against actions taken by the California State EMS Authority, I am here to tell you, the State cares very much who you are and what you do all the time. As far as the State is concerned, who you are and what you do away from the job can have just as detrimental an impact on your license -- and you career -- as when you are working.

Again, most normal people are simply not willing to be held to those kind of standards... but you are -- and you'd better be.

Experience has shown me that there are only three kinds of paramedics. There are the naturals; the ones for whom it is effortless... guys like Victor Oseguera, Paul Cooper, Kevin Murphy, or Mr. "tenth-of-a-percent" Josh Binder...these guys have it flowing through their veins. Then there are the ones who work very hard to be the best they can be; they read everything they can, they do twice the amount of CE they need to; the ones who bust their butts to make it look easy because being good is that important. That was me. (Probably why I only got to read a poem). And then there are the rest. The ones who slipped through the cracks. The ones who view being a paramedic as just another part of the job. The ones who reach limply for the bare minimum. The ones who, when you know they are working, you stay out of their first-in.

Which one are you? Each of you knows the answer already and I hope my words here today will solidify what you need to do with that answer.

Standing here a seems surreal that it has been 21 years since the Spring of 1989 when I did my internship at the old LA City 66's at Florence and Western.

I clearly remember that my preceptors, Kelly McKee and Mike Samudio, spent a lot of time making sure I knew my policies and procedures...and my drug dosages. In fact, Kelly carried with him a toy squeaky hammer and gummy-bears. When we would meet up with other crews he would show off what I knew by asking me difficult questions; if I answered correctly, I got a gummy-bear. If I was wrong, he would hit me in the head with the squeaky hammer.

Kelly and Mike showed me that as serious as this job is, it can also be fun; that, more than anything, the job is about people...people who depend on and deserve the best we have to offer...every time, no matter what.

Of course, I also learned that the right amount of armor-all makes it impossible to stay in one place on the bench seat.

That was two decades ago. I was 20-years-old and ready to save the world. And back then, I believed I could. And I believed I would.

Now, looking back, on those two decades, I believe I did. If only for one family, though I know it was many, many more, I did change the world. And now it’s your turn.

The question now is… "How will you change the world?"

Who will you be?
Will your commitment and your effort allow an elderly couple to enjoy just one more anniversary? Or will your complacency and disinterest cause a grieving widow to wake up alone for the first time in 50 years?

Will your knowledge and skill remind you that a stomach ache is not always a stomach ace? Or will a culture of burn-out and malaise allow you to believe that a drunk is always a drunk.

Will your passion lead you to find or create innovative solutions to problems old and new? Or will just enough, be enough?

Today is the day, now is the moment to ask yourself, not only what kind of Paramedic you want to be or will be… but how will you change the world. Because, for Paramedics, changing the world is not some ethereal or esoteric notion, it is what you will do every single day.

In fact, right now, someone somewhere is going about their regular daily life. They are not thinking of you any more than you are thinking about them. But they are out there; sitting in traffic, buying groceries, having a late lunch with an old friend, planning a wedding, making a baby, walking between classes, or just lounging by a pool somewhere having a drink. Wherever they are, they are just doing their thing.

They are happy and relaxed because they don’t know that one day next week, next month, or maybe next year their entire existence is going to be hanging by a thread; their breath may be short, their heart may be fibrillating, their limbs may be convulsing… or they may be staring helpless at the bloody, lifeless body of their child and the twisted metal that moments before was a bicycle… and there will be you. Your senses, your hands, and your decisions in that moment will be the difference between hope and hurt, life and longing, another birthday party or a child’s funeral. What you do in that moment will change the world for them and for you and that change cannot and will not be undone.

So, I ask you: Who will you be in that moment? Will you be prepared or preoccupied? Will your passion for perfection carry the day? Or will the pursuit of mediocrity be too little, too late?

As you sit there, the slate is clean; the choice is yours and I offer you this:

Being a Paramedic is the single most significant job there is; it is rich with reward and possibly the most fun you can have with shoes on... but there are no second chances; not for you and not for those who depend on you. Who will you be? How will you change the world?

For more about how I can help your agency, contact me at and if you find yourself in legal trouble here in California, contact me at

Paramedic Nailed for Saving a Life...

As I continue to travel the country discussing EMS/Legal issues with providers and agencies of every description, one question comes up over and over and over without fail: If the choice is life or death, is it okay to function within [our] scope of practice but outside medical control? Like most of my answers, this one begins with "Well, I have a client…"

My client attended and completed paramedic training in South Dakota. Among the skills she learned and practiced was Rapid Sequence Intubation (RSI), an aggressive treatment for the most life-threatening circumstances. She went to work in the Washington State, where she was tested again and licensed to perform RSI — a skill she was able to use in the field. She ultimately moved with her husband to Riverside County, California, where she worked as a paramedic onboard a rescue ambulance and built an impeccable reputation for quality care and compassion.

During a particularly devastating wildfire season, it seemed as if most of Southern California was burning. With local resources tapped, firefighting agencies from throughout the western United States converged on the area to either fight on the frontlines or backfill fire stations in outlying communities. Such was the case of a paramedic engine company from Richland, Washington; the same community where my client had worked – and performed RSI. The Richland crew was stationed to cover in the same Riverside County jurisdiction as my client.

As fate would have it, an off-duty fire captain from the very station in which the Washington crew was at the ready, was involved in a roll-over vehicle accident and critically injured. Within minutes, a local engine company — the Richland paramedic-engine company, and my client in her rescue ambulance, were on scene.

They found the fire captain unconscious and unresponsive, with decorticate posturing and respirations in the single digits with minimal tidal volume. The patient's clenched jaw and vomiting made airway management virtually impossible. The Richland crew, operating on mutual aid protocols which allow them to function as if they were home, quickly determined that RSI was indicated. Although RSI is not within the California or Riverside County paramedic scope of practice, everyone on scene concurred that RSI was indicated and an available option for the Washington paramedics.

One of the two Richland paramedics quickly attended to the intubation, while the other saw to the RSI drugs, Lidocaine, Etomidate, and Succinylcholine. Amid the chaos and added tension of the scene, the second Richland paramedic called out for some assistance from the local paramedics who hastily declined for lack of experience, training, or authorization to perform RSI...except my client.

My client, without hesitation, offered to put her experience, training, and out-of-state, though current, licensure to work toward saving the life of the fire captain — who is also her co-worker and friend.

In a flash, my client pushed two of the RSI drugs, the Richland paramedic quickly followed with the third, and the ET tube was placed, secured, and the patient rapidly transported to the trauma center.

The Backlash
The patient made a 100 percent recovery and is back to work; however that is not the most dramatic outcome of the call. My client spent most of the next year dealing with the backlash from the agency, the hospital, the local EMS authority, and the State of California. There were investigations, reviews, incident reports, interviews, and intra-agency remediation of the most absurd nature. After all that, she spent yet another year fighting the revocation of her paramedic license by the State EMS Authority.

Ultimately, we brought the matter before an Administrative Law Judge for a hearing that lasted two days. While the story of the hearing is complicated and entertaining, it is too long to discuss here. Simply put, one of the pivotal issues was whether she acted unreasonably and with reckless disregard for California law when she assisted in the RSI.

If she was reckless and unreasonable, then she would face the maximum penalty of full license revocation. If, based on the totality of the circumstances, her conduct was reasonable and not demonstrative of her "rogue medic" propensities, she faced the bare minimum of a small fine and nothing more.

I believe the turning point was when the Judge asked my client one simple question: "If you had it to do all over again, in the exact same situation, after all that you have gone through, would you do it again?" My client sobbed quietly, tears streamed down her face. Then, she took a deep breath, regained her composure and turned to the Judge. She looked him square in the eyes and said, "If I had it to do all over again? The exact set of circumstances? Yes. I would do it again. If the choice is life or death, I will always choose life."

In my closing argument I conceded that my client functioned outside medical control and beyond her California scope of practice. But, I added, she functioned within her training and experience and within her then-current Washington State licensure in a situation that left her with an impossible circumstance and a non-choice; help and save a life or withhold and watch her friend die. "This," I told the Judge, "was a no-brainer. She was faced with a life and death decision and she chose life." In contrast, the attorney for the State EMS Authority argued that my client was a rogue medic with a Wild West mentality who had no regard for the rule of law. In response to my argument, the State's attorney argued that her license should be revoked because "Paramedics are not there to determine what is or isn't a life and death situation" And, much like your reaction, all eyes in the court drew wide open and all jaws dropped. That, however, is the position of the State EMS Authority.

When it was all said and done, the Judge agreed that my client exceeded her California scope of practice, but that her conduct was neither reckless nor unreasonable. He recognized that the confluence of circumstances was a freak of fate and timing and not likely to ever happen again to anyone anywhere, much less to my client. He said that although she admitted she would do it again, the circumstances would never present themselves to make it possible to do so. With that, he ruled that a simple fine was appropriate and no further punishment necessary. Months later, with a very minor adjustment, the State agreed.

When I am asked about doing what's right versus doing what's allowed, my answer is this: For every action there are consequences, sometimes positive, sometimes negative, but always consequences. You have to sleep at night and you have to look yourself in the eye every day. If you can sleep at all, what do you dream? When you look at yourself, who do you see? Finally, ask yourself a simple question…What consequences are you prepared to face and how willing are you to face them?
If you are a California EMS Provider and you find yourself facing criminal or administrative charges, remember your right to remain silent and remember to contact TheLegalGuardian for EMS.