We are a full-service criminal law firm and handle most criminal law matters. Please see the criminal defense areas below and click on the link for more information on how we can help you.
- Drunk Driving
- DMV Hearings for DUI Charges
- Sex Charges
- Juvenile Charges
- Domestic or Family Violence
- Drug Charges
- Theft and Embezzlement Charges
- Illegal Searches
- Three Strikes Law
- Felony Charges
- Misdemeanor Charges
- Infractions and Traffic Cases
- Probation Violations
- Cleaning Up Your Criminal Record
Even a first DUI conviction can carry serious penalties including up to two or more days in jail, the suspension of your driver’s license, approximately $2,000 in fines and assessments, a lengthy and expensive DUI school, and conditions of probation restricting your freedoms further. The DMV records DUI convictions for a minimum of 10 years. A DUI on your record can not only lead to higher auto insurance premiums, but can also jeopardize your credit rating and employment. DUI penalties rapidly escalate if you have had prior DUI convictions, were stopped for speeding, were involved in an accident, had minors in your vehicle, or other factors. An expert DUI attorney can best protect your rights, understand the evidence, negotiate strong plea bargains, and provide you the information you need to make informed choices along the way. All criminal cases raise constitutional questions, including DUI cases. If any of your rights were violated, your DUI charges may be dropped. An experienced DUI attorney will know where to look for possible Fourth and Fifth Amendment violations.
DMV Hearings for DUI Charges
A person charged with DUI faces two cases. There is the criminal case where the District Attorney in the county of arrest is seeking a conviction, jail time, fines, and probation terms. In addition, there is a separate proceeding where the DMV is trying to take your driver’s license through an administrative hearing. The California DMV has a process entirely separate from the courts to determine whether you will get to keep your license and under what conditions. You have only 10 days from your date of DUI arrest to demand a DMV hearing or your license will automatically be suspended! An experienced DUI attorney can assist you by demanding the hearing, demanding a stay of the suspension, obtaining the evidence the DMV will rely on, and representing you at the hearing in the fight to retain your driver’s license.
Allegations of sex crimes are some of the most serious charges a person can face. This is one of the types of cases that brand a person for life. Sex charges carry with them a stigma in the community and are taken very seriously by the District Attorney with very serious consequences. Not only can you face prison or jail time, you also may be required to register as a sex offender for life and be required to go to a sex offender program for an indefinite amount of time. You may also find your picture and address listed on the Megan’s Law website. Even before charges are filed, you should immediately hire an attorney so that attorney can begin speaking with the District Attorney. If arrested, you should exercise your right to remain silent and not speak to anyone about your case. If the alleged victim calls you, you should not talk to that person either. The only person you should speak to is an attorney.
When a child under the age of 18 is found to have committed a crime, he can be made a ward of the juvenile delinquency court. If a child is made a ward, the court effectively becomes a third parent to the child. The court then has the right to: place the child on formal probation with terms and conditions that affect the entire family; remove the child from the parent’s home and place him in juvenile hall, group home or boot camp; move the child to a different school; delay or suspend the child’s right to drive. Some charges will affect the child’s future by excluding him from the military, making her ineligible for federal student loans, preventing him from sealing his records. Some charges will count as strikes under California’s “Three Strikes” law. Children have the same constitutional rights as adults, except for the right to a trial by jury. It is important to understand all of your rights and all of the possible consequences of your actions before proceeding with your delinquency case.
Domestic or Family Violence
Allegations of Domestic violence charges can be devastating. The consequences of a domestic violence conviction include possible county jail or prison, three years probation, thousands in fines and fees, a 52 week batterer’s class, mandatory community service, possible lifetime firearm ban, must not be in possession of any guns for 10 years under state law with a federal lifetime ban, and court-issued restraining orders, even if the victim wants contact. If you retain us prior to the arraignment (first court date), we attack allegations of domestic violence by contacting the District Attorney’s office before the arraignment and explaining who you are and what the circumstances are so they have all the facts before deciding whether to file charges.
Drug charges are separated by possession of drugs, possession for sale of drugs, or the manufacturing of drugs. Additionally, the penalties vary based on the type of drug. It is critical for an attorney to know the potential sentence for each drug charge, whether there are any enhancements that increase the penalty, alternative programs for drug clients such as Diversion and Proposition 36, and most importantly, treatment options.
Theft and Embezzlement Charges
Theft covers a range of crimes from Petty Theft to Identity Theft to Burglary. An attorney that is familiar with the sentencing laws of each crime, the consequences of the defendant’s plea or conviction, and alternatives such as “D.A. Diversion”, may make the difference in a case. Embezzlement generally involves an employee who betrays the trust of their employer because of pressures in their life. An attorney that is familiar with restitution, the factors that mitigate the case, and who recognizes the unique relationship between a valued employee and their employer, can further the best interests of their client.
The law of search and seizure requires a lawyer to stay current with the law, know how to file a motion to suppress, and appeal an adverse ruling. Having a Motion to Suppress granted may result in the dismissal of the criminal case.
Three Strikes Law
Under California’s three strikes law, a person convicted of a felony faces drastically higher sentencing if they have previously been convicted of certain violent or serious felonies at any point in their life. If they have one prior “strike”, they are ineligible for probation and must receive twice the prison sentence otherwise available for the crime. If they have two or more prior “strikes”, then the court must sentence them to life in prison. If facing felony charges, it is important for an experienced attorney to evaluate your prior record to determine if you have suffered prior strike convictions, evaluate the likelihood of defeating the current charges through motions or trial, and evaluate the likelihood a judge will dismiss prior strikes to avoid the lengthy or life sentence.
Felonies are the class of criminal offenses that involve the most serious crimes. That is because they carry the potential for a State Prison sentence as compared to a sentence involving County Jail. Some felonies can be reduced to misdemeanors (“wobblers”) and some felonies can be sentenced to the County Jail or may allow the defendant to apply for an alternative sentence. Avoiding a felony conviction can protect your ability to work, vote, travel abroad, obtain credit, and possess firearms lawfully.
Misdemeanors are crimes that have a sentence of up to one year in the County Jail. Most misdemeanors allow the defendant to apply for an alternative sentence. All of the protections of the Constitution regarding your right to a jury trial, to remain silent, to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures, and to counsel of your choosing apply to misdemeanors. A free consultation with an attorney can assist you in evaluating the potential defenses available.
Infractions and Traffic Cases
Infractions only involve a fine, but can have collateral consequences such as points on your DMV record that could lead to a suspension of your driver’s license. The concern should be even higher if you are a commercial driver.
Probation violations (VOP) are common. The difference is understanding the significance of a VOP, what the likely outcome is, and how to a) defend, b) mitigate, or c) propose an alternative solution to the Probation Officer or District Attorney that is in the defendant’s best interest.
Cleaning Up Your Criminal Record
The court has the ability to reduce many felony convictions to misdemeanors even long after probation is completed. Our office also helps people seeking early termination of probation under Penal Code section 1203.3, and withdrawal of previously entered pleas and dismissal pursuant to Penal Code section 1203.4. These steps can help keep your criminal past in the past. An attorney who understands how to properly handle these motions increases the possibility a Judge will grant the relief.