The very first step in a criminal offense is its filing. Many people do not understand how the process works, and mistakenly believe that it is always too late to prevent or avoid any charges. This is not true. The role of a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney can play a significant role in the positive outcome of your case depending on how quickly you act to retain counsel.

Let’s walk through the stages of the case to get a full understanding of the process by way of example, and the attorney’s role at each stage.

David is arrested for a Los Angeles theft charge. At this point David has not been charged with any type of criminal offense. There is nothing on his record, other than an arrest. No charges have been filed, and he has certainly not been found guilty of anything.

Many people mistakenly believe that you can only be charged with one criminal offense arising out of one accident. Unfortunately, this is not true. You can be charged with multiple criminal offenses and face multiple charges due to one accident.

When you have been charged with multiple offenses, you can also face multiple sentences. The sentences do not coincide. So if you are sentenced to thirty days in jail for one offense, and thirty days in jail for a second, serving thirty days does not satisfy the requirement. You must serve one after the other. This is why it is extremely important to retain the services of a Los Angeles Criminal Defense attorney when you face multiple charges.

A knowledgeable and experienced Criminal Defense attorney like those at Hoffman & Associates deal with multiple offenses as a part of their regular caseload. They know how to extract the different layers and nuances of the different offenses, how to scrutinize the evidence and present a case that allows for at least one, if not all, of the offenses to be reduced or dismissed.

License suspension can be common when it comes to some criminal offenses. License suspension is not ordered by the criminal court system, it is ordered by the DMV. When license suspension may be a part of the consequences, a separate case is started with the DMV. This case is different from that of the criminal justice system. Each case does not influence the other, nor does the outcome of one hinge on the outcome of the other. This is why it is crucial that you have a Los Angeles Criminal Defense attorney to represent you on both cases, to ensure that you get the best possible outcome on both cases. Lets walk through two of the most common criminal charges that lead to license suspension.

The first is a Los Angeles DUI. If you have been arrested for a Los Angeles DUI, you have ten days to schedule a Los Angeles DMV hearing. The DMV hearing determines how long your license will be suspended and if it will be suspended. Even if your Los Angeles DUI lawyer is able to artfully reduce your DUI charges, or get them dismissed, the DMV will still move forward with the hearing. The arguments presented to the DMV are independent from those presented in criminal court, and the consequence is as well. So even if your DUI charges are dismissed with the criminal courts, your license could still be suspended. This is why it is important to retain counsel to argue both of your cases, to not only ensure the criminal charges get dropped, but to ensure you keep your license.

The second common criminal offense that can often entail license suspension, is a Los Angeles Hit and Run. IF you are involved in an accident that has caused significant damage to property, or injury to person, the DMV may want to suspend your license as a part of the consequences.

If you have been charged with a criminal offense, you will receive a citation, or other document that states a date and location for an appearance in Court. This is not an optional appearance, but is mandatory.  Failing to appear could lead to your arrest and additional charges on top of the criminal charge you were ordered to appear on.

The failure to appear is in and of itself its own charge. That means you will not have one criminal charge that is the reason you have to appear in court in the first place, but you will also have a second charge. Further, because of a failure to appear, a bench warrant will be issued. A bench warrant means that you are wanted by the criminal court system. Officers my appear at your home or place of work and take you into custody. They could also arrest you if you are driving and they run your license plate. This is why it is important to appear in court when you are asked to, and to not avoid your responsibility.

If you retain a Los Angeles Criminal Defense attorney, then there is a high probability that the attorney will be able to appear on your behalf. There are a few exceptions in which the attorney may not; when it is a felony, when you are in custody, when there is a restraining order, and other situations the Judge deems appropriate for you to be physically present.

There is a informal legal term that is used by legal professionals called a “wobbler”. A wobbler is a charge that can be charged as a misdemeanor, felony or an infraction. Essentially, the decision is up to the prosecutor. A wobbler also has room to be changed through negotiation with the prosecutor. This is why it is essential and important to have a Los Angeles Criminal Defense lawyer on your team. It ensures that you are fully aware of all strategies and tactics to use to ensure that if there is a possibility to have a charge reduced, it is.

Lets consider an example to better demonstrate how a wobbler works. Danny was helping a friend who was highly intoxicated outside of a bar one night. Danny has an open beer in his hand. Officers charged both Danny and his friend with a misdemeanor drunk and disorderly conduct. Danny has a very clear record, with no prior offenses, charges, or even traffic tickets. Danny was also not being disorderly, although he was intoxicated in front of the bar. Although Danny may meet the elements for a potential charge, his behavior does not give rise to that of a misdemeanor.

Danny hires a Los Angeles Criminal Defense lawyer to help argue his case. The attorney goes into court on the first appearance, which is an arraignment. The attorney has over 30 years of experience and is knowledgeable on all elements of various criminal charges, as well as the evidence required to prove those elements. The attorney also knows the prosecutor and the Judge in the courtroom where the case is being heard. The attorney goes into court prepared with evidence, arguments, as well as letters of recommendation from the community for David. He speaks to the prosecutor and presents David’s case. The attorney will argue the shortcomings prosecutor’s will have in evidence, as well as play up the points the attorneys knows the Judge will find noteworthy.

If you have had criminal charges filed against you, you will need to appear before the Judge of the criminal court. The first appearance is called an Arraignment. At the Arraignment you will be given the opportunity to enter a plea, or to ask for a continuance if you wish to retain counsel.

The prosecutor will also talk to you during the Arraignment and make you what is called a plea bargain. A plea bargain essentially asks that you plead guilty for a lesser than usual sentence for the charges against you. This is a chance for you to negotiation and bargain with the prosecutor. But how do you do that if you do not know the full facts, if you do not have all the evidence, and you do not know the law? This is why it is extremely important to retain a Los Angeles Criminal Defense lawyer.

Experienced and knowledgeable legal professionals, like those at Hoffman and Associates know when to push back, negotiation, and bargain, and when to concede and advise a guilty plea. They know what will be the best possible option for you, and will lay out all the pros and cons, so that you can make an informed decision.

There are three levels of charges when you have been arrested for suspicion of a criminal offense. But first, it is important to understand that just because you have been arrested and charged, does not mean that you have been found guilty or convicted. An arrest and a charge simply means that authorities have reason to believe it is more likely than not, that you are guilty of this crime. But, as the saying goes, you are guilty until proven innocent. After a charge, a jury must find you guilty, or you will have to enter a plea of guilty, before you can be convicted.

If you are convicted, it will be on one of three levels; infraction, misdemeanor, or felony. To understand the different levels and their differences, we will go through some examples.

An infraction is the lowest level of criminal charges. These are minor offenses like running a red light, or making an illegal U-turn. These charges are often without damages to property, or injury to another person. The sentence generally is a fine that needs to be paid. There is no jail time, or probation. If you are to be charged, this is the best possible scenario.

If you have been charged with criminal charges in Los Angeles, you have not yet been convicted. Being charged simply means that officers believe you could be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, but until you enter a plea of guilty, or are found guilty by a jury, you are innocent.

Fortunately, with proper negotiations and preparation, there are many opportunities to avoid the charges altogether. But how do you know what to argue, and when to do it? This is why an experienced and knowledgeable Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney, like those at Hoffman and Associates are extremely beneficial when it comes to fighting the charges against you.

One way an experienced legal professional can fight for you is through negotiations. The key is that negotiations are most beneficial when they take place prior to a case having been filed. When you are arrested, an officer prepares a report of the incident. The officer then sends his or her report to the prosecutor’s office. The prosecutor then reviews the facts and makes a determination whether there is enough evidence to file formal charges. Once formal charges are filed, you are given a date to appear in Court. That date is your arraignment.

You can always choose to represent yourself in a Los Angeles Criminal Case. The court will inform you of your right to counsel, they will also inform you that if you cannot hire an attorney, one will be provided to you at low cost or not cost. This is because the criminal justice system is complicated, with a plethora of laws, rules, and procedures. If you choose to represent yourself, you are expected to know all of these laws, just as an attorney would. This is why the Court specifically informs each and every person of their rights to counsel.

Representing yourself in a criminal case is rarely a good idea. Our firm has first hand experiences of clients who have opted to begin their case by representing themselves, but then coming to us to “fix” what has happened.

A criminal case can be a very serious situation, in which it can impact your future livelihood, education and even your reputation in your community. That is why we provide excellent representation to minimize the effects of your case on your life.

One of the biggest concerns our clients have when they appear in Court on their Los Angeles Criminal case, is whether or not they will be taken into custody. There are several ways to address these concerns prior to going into court. Addressing these issues beforehand allows our client some peace of mind, so that they can focus on the things that really matter in their lives. Our attorneys understand that this can be a major concern for many people, so we work with each of our clients to address not only the legal issues in their case, but also help to alleviate the emotional ones.

One of the ways this problem may be addressed is for your Los Angeles Criminal Defense attorney to speak to the Prosecutors before appearing in Court. Our attorneys have extensive experience in Los Angeles County, and have known the Judges, Prosecutors and even the clerks for a long time. This is why it is beneficial to not only hire an attorney who has years of experience, but years of experience in the county where your case is being heard. The attorney can call the Prosecutors before case goes before the Judge, and discuss the issue of custody, and whether the Prosecutor will be making that request. This allows the Judge to be prepared.

One of the benefits of speaking to prosecutors beforehand lets the attorney know whether there will be a bail hearing or if the prosecutor will request that you be taken into custody. When such a request is made, your attorney will argue as to why that is not necessary. To make such an argument, the attorney will make the case that you are not a flight risk, and that there is no risk of injury to anyone. Knowing that this issue will be presented in Court allows the attorney, and you, to prepare beforehand.