San Jose's Valencia, Ippolito & Bowman Unveil New Legal Education Tool

Share Article

By offering accessible information about the California Penal Code at their website, the San Jose Law Firm seeks to offer legal insight to the general public.

San Jose's Valencia, Ippolito & Bowman Attorneys at Law

At our website now, readers can find fairly detailed legal information that is not bogged down with impenetrable terminology

After decades of representing people accused of crimes throughout Northern California, the San Jose Law Firm of Valencia, Ippolito & Bowman (VIB) has unveiled a new module at their website to offer clear explanations of the California Penal Code. Because so many clients have had such similar questions over the years, the attorneys at VIB Law decided that the time was right to offer this type of education to the public.

"We know that many of our clients are unaware of the intricacies of the charges they are facing," says VIB partner Riccardo Ippolito. "Between much of the marketing copy that is featured on many legal websites and the legal jargon used in the California state publications about the Penal Code, there are few options for the general public to get clear, plain English explanations of the Code and the violations that they might find themselves charged with. The marketing copy is often too simplistic and the legal jargon, overly complex. This new module is our effort to fill a gap in the educational resources available to the public."

California residents, or anyone with Internet access, can read the Penal Code at the state provided website. But Ippolito's point is easy to understand once that legal information is previewed. For instance, the state website includes this information about California Penal Code 136.1: Dissuading a Victim from Testifying:

"(a) Except as provided in subdivision (c), any person who does any of the following is guilty of a public offense and shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year or in the state prison: (1) Knowingly and maliciously prevents or dissuades any witness or victim from attending or giving testimony at any trial, proceeding, or inquiry authorized by law. (2) Knowingly and maliciously attempts to prevent or dissuade any witness or victim from attending or giving testimony at any trial, proceeding, or inquiry authorized by law. (3) For purposes of this section, evidence that the defendant was a family member who interceded in an effort to protect the witness or victim shall create a presumption that the act was without malice."

Understandably, the law tries to cover every possibility but, as a result, the style can be inaccessible and impersonal. In contrast, the new VIB on-line educational module includes this information about the same crime:

"California Penal Code 136.1 is a criminal charge related to dissuading a victim or a witness     from testifying in a criminal case. This can also be charged if a victim or witness is threatened or intimidated from reporting a crime. Even if the alleged victim of this crime testifies or reports the crime, 136.1 can still be charged. In other words, if the intimidation or harassment did not keep the person from reporting the crime or testifying, the charge can still be prosecuted. Furthermore, this can be considered a third strike under California Law. If you find yourself charged with this California criminal violation, there is a high-likelihood that you also face other criminal charges. When multiple charges are brought against an alleged perpetrator, penalties may be maximized. If a third strike is added, a long prison sentence may be a possibility."

Of the difference between the tone and style, Ippolito says, "We wanted to address the most commonly asked questions about the Penal Code based upon our experience. Translating some of the complex and impersonal writing into easily accessible language, we hope to give the public a little more insight into their criminal justice system. At our website now, readers can find fairly detailed legal information that is not bogged down with impenetrable terminology."

Finally, Ippolito also says they wanted to create a more accessible platform so readers can quickly access the information they need. "If you search the online resources on the Penal Code provided by the state, you must be prepared to do a tremendous amount of scrolling to find what you are looking for. So, not only have we created something that is accessible as far as the way the information is written, we have also made the information much easier to search through. This, we hope, proves beneficial to people entwined in the legal system and people who are simply interested in educating themselves about the law."

The firm has, roughly, twenty entries at the module now. Ippolito said they wanted to start with the crimes that the firm gets the most calls about but that they plan to continue adding content for the foreseeable future. Though much of the information on the site is available elsewhere on the web, the level of accessibility that VIB's module provides may be unique.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Irlanda Macias
Follow us on