When you are being accused of a crime, it can be difficult to know what to do, especially if you are not versed in the criminal justice system. Having an experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you wade through the confusion. When it comes to dealing with court appearances and charges filed, several questions commonly asked are:
If you hire an attorney familiar with local courts in San Bernardino or Riverside County, you may never need to appear in court for most misdemeanor offenses, with the sole exception being domestic violence cases. If the case is charged as a felony, most courts will require a defendant to be personally present for each court hearing.
The moment you are facing possible criminal action is the moment you need an attorney. After the police complete their investigation, their file is handed over the file to the District Attorney prior to charges being filed. This is commonly known as the “investigation” stage. During the investigation stage, the District Attorney will make several important decisions, including whether formal charges should be filed, and whether the case should be a felony or misdemeanor. While some attorneys have a “wait and see” policy when cases are in the investigative stage, our criminal defense lawyers take a more proactive approach which can make a significant difference. If you hire the right attorney before the charges are formally filed, you can stop detectives from getting incriminating statements. Our San Bernardino and Riverside County criminal defense attorneys have dealt with many cases where intervening early on resulted with charges being dropped.
Just because you have a court date does not mean the charges against you have been filed. For the most part, when a person is arrested and released from custody, they are given a date to appear along with the paperwork. If the officer or bail company has given a date for your appearance at court, it is usually a date they hope a case is filed by. As is often the case, at the time of the suspect’s release, the District Attorney has yet to review the police report. It is at this point that your attorney can run interference or give the prosecutor exculpatory evidence which could lead to a case never getting filed.
Defense attorneys are not just for the innocent. Many people realize, in some way or another, that they are responsible for their actions and hire an attorney so that they are not slammed by the criminal justice system. When you go into the courtroom, the only person on your side will be your attorney. Everybody else in that room is a part of the justice system, looking to convict you.
You should always have someone on your side, fighting to obtain the best possible outcome given your particular circumstances. If you choose to represent yourself, you will likely have to go through with whatever punishment is assessed, regardless of how harsh it is.
Client charged with possession for sales and gang enhancement. Client faced 16 years in prison with the gang and prior strike allegation. Client turned down 8 year pretrial offer with prior attorney before going to trial. Not guilty on all charges at trial. (People v. Antwan B.)
Client charged with attempt murder, accessory after the fact and gang enhancement after shots fired at a dwelling. Client turned down 15 year pretrial offer. During trial, plea deal reached for probation with time served. (People v. Rudy B.)
Client charged with resisting arrest, obstruction of justice when cops performed a probation sweep at her residence. Client found not guilty on all counts at jury trial. (People v. Felicia M.)
Client charged with corporal injury to girlfriend after argument allegedly escalated. Client had significant exposure of 21 years because of prior strike, probation violation and GBI allegation. At trial, jury refused to convict client, returning hung verdict. (People v. Christopher P.)
Client charged with robbery of victim at motel in drug deal that went bad. When victim issues arose, we enforced client’s speedy trial rights and charges dismissed. (People v. Ronald S.)