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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What Does a Criminal Defense Attorney Do?

    Criminal defense attorneys defend individuals or entities charged with criminal conduct, advocating for their rights and providing legal counsel throughout the legal process.

  • How Can a Criminal Defense Attorney Help Me if I'm Accused of a Crime?

    A defense attorney can assess your case, build a strong defense, negotiate with prosecutors, represent you in court, and ensure your rights are protected.

  • What is the difference between a Felony and a Misdemeanor?

    Felonies are the most serious crimes you can be charged with in California. Misdemeanors are crimes that are punished by no more than a year in the county jail. Some crimes can be charged as both felonies and misdemeanors. Those crimes are called “wobblers”. For example, the crime of vandalism, can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony if the value of the damage is over $900.00. Call us to learn more!

  • How are penalties decided?

    The potential penalty for each crime is defined in the penal code. In general, the court can sentence someone to any sentence that is outlined in the penal code so long as it doesn’t exceed the maximum. For example, the crime of felony burglary of a commercial building (2d degree burglary) carries a potential sentence of county jail up to 1 year and probation, 16 months, 2 years or 3 years in state prison. The court can choose any one of those sentences based on the individual’s criminal record and background. Call us to learn more!

  • What should I do if I have been arrested?

    Once arrested, you should contact an attorney. The court will appoint an attorney to represent you if you cannot afford one. Otherwise, you’ll need to contact a private attorney to assist you with the case. Above all, you should not talk with the police without an attorney present. Often people believe they will improve their situation by explaining their side of what happened. This may be true, however, an attorney is best able to evaluate whether or not what you have to say will help you. It is almost NEVER advisable to speak with law enforcement before speaking with an attorney, be it a private attorney or public defender.

  • How can I get out of jail after an arrest?

    Once arrested you will either be released on your own recognizance or bail will be set. If released on your own recognizance you will be released without having to pay money and with a future date to appear in court. Bail is an amount of money you must pay to be released from jail to ensure that you will return to court. You can pay the entire amount in cash (which will be returned at the end of your case) or you can contact a bail bondsman who will charge you a fee (usually 10%) to pay the bail for you. The fee that you pay the bondsman is nonrefundable. Also, the bondsman usually will want the bail to be secured with some form of property. Additionally, you can pay for an undertaking. An undertaking is a process by which you sign title to property over to the court (usually a home) that is double the value of the bail. There is a nominal non-refundable fee for an undertaking. When the case is over the property is returned to you.

  • Do I need a criminal defense lawyer to represent me?

    If you are charged with a crime you should consult with an attorney to represent you. As the saying goes, “A man who represents himself has a fool for a client.” (Abraham Lincoln)


  • What are my rights as a suspect, or a person accused of a crime?

    There are many rights associated with being a suspect of a crime. First and foremost, you can assert your right to remain silent. If the police show up at your door to question you about a crime, you do not have to talk to them. You may think that you can talk your way out of being arrested, but this is rarely the case. The police are not there to help you in this situation. They have decided that you committed a crime and are there to gather evidence against you. If this happens, contact a criminal defense attorney immediately.

  • If I have been convicted of a crime, can I erase my criminal record?

    If you are convicted of a misdemeanor and some felonies, you may be able to have your record cleared. Some convictions can be modified on your record so that when you apply for most jobs, you can legally indicate that you were not convicted of that crime. Others may be reduced from a felony to misdemeanor. Also, individuals who have completed a term in prison may be eligible for a Certificate of Rehabilitation and in some cases a pardon. In addition, if you are a Veteran who acquired a criminal record due to a mental health disorder stemming from service in the United States military and you have successfully participated in court-ordered treatment and services to address your trauma you may qualify for early termination of probation and ultimately a dismissal.

  • What Should I Do if I'm Arrested?

    Remain silent, request an attorney immediately, and avoid answering any questions without legal counsel present. Your attorney will guide you through the process.

  • What Offenses Fall Under Sex Crimes?

    Sex crimes include offenses like sexual assault, rape, child pornography, and indecent exposure, among others.

  • Can a Defense Attorney Help with Domestic Violence Charges?

    Yes, a defense attorney can challenge evidence, protect your rights, and work to minimize or dismiss charges in domestic violence cases.

  • What Are Considered Violent Crimes?

    Violent crimes involve the use of force or threat against others, such as assault, robbery, homicide, or kidnapping.

  • What Rights Do Crime Victims Have?

    Crime victims have rights to be informed, present at court hearings, provide impact statements, and be treated with fairness and respect.

  • What is Reentry Assistance?

    Reentry assistance helps individuals reintegrate into society after serving a prison sentence, providing support in employment, housing, and social reintegration.

  • How Can a Criminal Defense Attorney Help with Mental Health Advocacy?

    Attorneys can advocate for mentally ill clients, ensuring fair treatment, appropriate medical care, and representation during legal proceedings.

  • What Are the Current Marijuana Laws in Our Jurisdiction?

    Marijuana laws vary by jurisdiction. It’s crucial to consult an attorney to understand the specific laws in your area, including medicinal and recreational use regulations.

  • What Penalties Might I Face if Convicted of a Criminal Offense?

    Penalties vary based on the offense and jurisdiction. They can include fines, probation, community service, or imprisonment. A defense attorney works to minimize these penalties.

  • Can I Defend Myself in Court Without an Attorney?

    While you have the right to represent yourself, it’s highly discouraged. Criminal law is complex; an experienced attorney can significantly improve your chances of a favorable outcome.

  • What Is the Attorney-Client Privilege?

    Attorney-client privilege ensures that communications between a client and their attorney remain confidential, promoting open and honest discussions necessary for effective legal representation. Call us to learn more!

  • How Long Will My Criminal Case Take to Resolve?

    The duration varies based on the complexity of the case and legal processes involved. Your attorney can provide an estimate after assessing your situation.

  • What Should I Look for in a Criminal Defense Attorney?

    Look for experience, specialization in criminal law, a successful track record, good communication skills, and a commitment to protecting your rights and interests. Call us now!


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