The Law Office of Steve Emery Teich focuses on the following areas of criminal law.
Narcotics & Marijuana
Litigation in distribution, possession for sale, manufacturing, cutivation, transportation and conspiracy have occupied the bulk of Mr. Teich's practice over the past 35 years. Beginning with the defense of marijuana, LSD, and heroin cases in the late seventies, Mr. Teich's practice adapted to the prosecution of cocaine and crack in the eighties and later on when PCP, ecstacy, and methamphetmine came to the fore. Increasing movement toward permissible use of medical marijuana have corresponded with a rise in prosecutions of cultivation in the rural counties and pretext vehicle stops as the marijuana is transported to the clinics. Marijuana has also increasingly become an export item to other states and is the focus of federal conspiracy prosecutions in the recieving states.
Federal investigators often use wiretaps in pursuit of large scale conspiracies arresting numerous individuals in month or years long investigations. State investigations normally utilize informers to make purchases resulting in the issuance of in homes, stash houses, or busineses. Traffic stops based upon Highway Patrol or Sheriff Officer's suspicions, informer tips, and electronic surveillance are common. Extensive litigation is often required to unearth whether the official had the right and cause to make the stops, perform the searches, and have the judge issue the search or wiretap authorization. Litigation centers on discovery issues, motions to suppress, and informant revelation. Trials often involve testing government overreaching involving otherwise law abiding citizens to commit sales to desperate informers trying to work out from heavy sentences or deportations. Mr. Teich has had over thirty-five years of experience litigating and trying these cases.
Wiretap & Conspiracy
Wireatap law is a highly complex and little understood area of the law. Wiretaps are not easily obtained and require that the government exhaust every practical avenue of investigation before applying (necessity). They also involve unreliable informers to initially undertake the investigation and poorly drafted often cookie cutter wiretap applications that need to be scrupulously reviewed to see if the agents have complied with the law. Failure to comply can lead to suppression of the phone intercepts and dismissal of the case.
Conspiracy law, "the darling of the prosecution" is also poorly understood, subtle and complex. Innocent people can be pulled in the government dragnet simply by virtue of their association with with friends or acquaintances
The defense in these multi co-defendant cases
often concern overreaching by the government in charging conspiracies where the evidence does not support the accusation. In the past five years Mr. Teich has specialized in litigating these multi-codefendant gang cases in state court in
Sentencing in conspiracy cases is especially complex in federal court where questions such as uncharged related conduct, firearms involvement, and role in the offense can add or subtract numerous years. The potential sentences in federal court are very harsh and great care must be taken in litigating these cases.
Mr. Teich has extensive experience in both conspiracy and wiretap cases, which are often found together. He is an expert in wiretap litigation having reviewed dozens of wiretap petitions and has filed numerous motions to quash, traverse, and suppress the fruits of the wiretaps in state and federal court.
Gang Related & Firearms
Fueled in part by media focus, gang related and firearm prosecutions are gaining an emphasis in law enformcement. State cases are now removed to federal court where the penalties are far more harsh. New laws have been passed that mete out extremely severe punishments where the charged crimes allege gang involvement. Often these involve firerms and multiple defendants only some of whom are involved. Pressure is applied to codefendants that result in false statements and identifications to reduce potentially horrendous sentences of these desperate individuals.
These gang laws are loosely drawn and have resulted in extensive litigation. A new breed of gang experts, often probation officers or police investigators testify as to their expansive view of the gang involvement in the charged crime. This is a fertile area for cross examination.
Santa Clara County, where Mr. Teich is primarily devoting his practice, has been particularly aggressive in charging gang allegations where they are not warranted. These can add years and sometimes decades to a potential sentence and can stigmatize a person for life with a gang registration. Mr. Teich has gained much experience in defending against these type of offenses and has recent successes in getting the court to dismiss unfair gang allegations.
In Federal Court, Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives agents are particulary aggressive in investigating unlawful firearm trafficking.
Often the use of unreliable informants and entrapment provide defenses to these investigations. Federal firearms statutes are complex and understanding the intricacies of the definitions and proofs is critical. Mr. Teich has handled numerous gang related and federal firearms cases some resulting in a successful outcome after jury trial.
Homicide, Aggravated Assault & Domestic Violence
People charged with violent crimes seeking private counsel usually have a viable defense or an explantion which mitigates the penalty for their conduct. These offenses are seldom random. Often they involve loved ones, acquitances, or clients. Alcohol is often a factor sometimes as a result of a blackout or impaired judgment with lack of intent to injure or kill. Lack of homicidal intent can also be prevalent in misuse of a firearm. These cases often arise in the heat of passion or are in self defense or defense of others (a complete defense) or imperfect self defense (voluntary manslaughter). Impaired mental states provide defenses of lack of specific intent, legal incompetence, or insanity. These cases are often overcharged by the prosecution. Murder cases can result in voluntary manslaughter, attempted murder often are more correctly resolved as assault. An aggravated domestic violence charge can be reduced to a lessor battery. These can be acceptable results but only after thorough investigation and a decision between the attorney and client not to proceed to trial. Mr. Teich has many years dealing with these issues and has consistently obtained favorable plea bargains. However, rather then compromise a client, he will not hesitate to try the case
Fraud & Other Crimes
Wire fraud, mail fraud, bank fraud, identity theft, and money laudering are commonly charged in federal and state courts. These are specific intent crimes which are easily charged but more difficult to prove; the prosecution must demostrate that the accused filled out the forms, checks, drafts, wires, or transferred the funds with fraudulent, criminal intent. These cases often require document intensive litigation involving comuter generated records and foundational dfficulties for receiving the records into evidence. Mr. Teich's over 35 years of experience litigating foundational
requirements under the federal and state rules of evidence allow him to navigate this complex litigation. His extensive experience in specific intent crimes, wiretaps and conspiracy law is critical in this area of the law.
One particular area of post-conviction relief that Mr. Teich focuses on is post-conviction relief for immigrants in California state courts. Having represented Spanish speaking clients in their native language for over 43 years in the criminal courts, Mr. Teich is very familiar with the faulty procedures and denial of basic rights in the pleading process which can lead to overturning the convictions.
Often what many years ago seemed like minor cases, have resulted in deportations or denials of naturalization or permanent residencies. Mr. Teich works closely with multiple immigration attorneys in fashioning the best way to attack the prior convictions so that the client can avoid deportation and obtain their legal documents that allow them to stay with their families in this country.
Mr. Teich works painstakingly scrutinizing the dockets and files of the underlying criminal case, prior attorney files, probation reports, police reports and speaks with the client, his or her family and researches the law to present a strong case to vacate these guilty pleas. Mr. Teich has over the past few years established a respectful and trusted relationship and reputation in working with the district attorney's office in Santa Clara County and all other Bay Area Counties and through out California resulting in great success in keeping families together in the United States.
After many years of toughening immigration laws in the United States under the previous administration the California legislature and Courts and the United States Supreme Court have passed laws and made rulings that immigration consequences can be more devastating then the original sentence and require a standard of competence of the lawyers in advising their client as a requirement to a knowing and intelligent plea.
Mr. Teich has filed numerous winning motions to withdraw pleas and vacate convictions on Constitutional grounds pursuant to California Penal Code sections 1016.5, and 1054.7 which require the Judge to advise the defendant of the immigration consequences and the attorney to explain them. The withdrawal of these old but deportable convictions for failure to advise the client of the immigration consequences are upheld in Federal Immigration Court allowing the grateful client to apply for citizenship, no longer in fear of being stopped and arrested and deported.