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There is a process to the criminal court. A person is not automatically found guilty of a crime and sentenced. There are many hurdles and protections given to each and every person through the United States Constitution so that their rights are protected.

When a person has been arrested, they are arrested based upon the officer’s observations and Judgment. This does not mean that a person has been charged. The officer will prepare a report that essentially states the reasons they believe a person should have been arrested. They must also state the reasonable cause they had to make the arrest in the first place. Once this has been completed, the officer will give their evidence and report to the Prosecutor’s office.

The Prosecutor’s office is aware of the elements that they must provide beyond a reasonable doubt in order to find someone guilty of the offense they have been charged with. For example, for a person to be found guilty of driving under the influence in Los Angeles, they must show that 1) the person was driving and 2) the person was intoxicated at the time they were driving. Both elements must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. If the evidence is weak, or does not support such a conclusion, Prosecutors will not waste resources and will not formally charge the person.

If you have been arrested for a Los Angeles Hit and Run, you have not yet been convicted. When you are charged, it is basically like the government stating that they believe there is enough evidence that you have committed a Hit and Run, but until you either enter a plea of guilty, or a jury finds you guilty, they cannot convict you and issue a sentence.

The code section under which you will be charged, and the type of Hit and Run you will be charged with will depend on the facts of your case. There are a few different types of Hit and Runs, as you will see below.

  1. Car versus Pedestrian

If you have been arrested for suspicion of having committed a criminal offense, you have not yet been charged. The officer who arrested you will prepare a report and provide it to the Prosecutor’s office. Prosecutors will then review the information and determine if a case should be opened, and then you will be formally charged.

Waiting to hire a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer until you have been formally charged is not a good plan. There are many things you can do to help prevent the charges from being filed in the first place, but you have to act quickly. An experienced Los Angeles Criminal Attorney has years of experience in preventing charges from being filed, and successfully defending cases in Court. As such, the attorney knows the right strategy to take to help give your case the best possible chance of being dismissed.

An attorney can contact the police department and speak to the officers about your case. It is harder for a person who does not have a working relationship with the officers or Prosecutors to contact them and to discuss the details of a specific case. It is also inadvisable because it may lead to statements that could later be used against you in Court. Having an attorney will not only allow the attorney to contact the police department more efficiently, it will also help prevent any incriminating statements from being made.

Los Angeles County has started a new diversion program that encourages the dismissal of Los Angeles Hit and Run Charges. It has proven to be a very useful tool to many experienced Los Angeles Hit and Run lawyers who are looking to have the cases against their clients dismissed. It has also been beneficial in taking the power out of the hands of the victim to have the charges dropped, and placing it in the hands of the person who has been charged.

To qualify, the charges against you must be that of a misdemeanor. If it is a felony, the case will not qualify for dismissal. Once you have been arrested or cited for a Hit and Run, prosecutors will review your case, just as they generally do. They will look at the evidence, the statements from witnesses and the victim if any, and make a determination as to whether charges will be brought. At this time, under the new legislation, prosecutors will also review whether you case will qualify for a diversion program. If the prosecutors find that you do not qualify, that is not the only option. You can also file a motion with the Court to request that your case be considered under the diversion program.

If you qualify, the court will ask you to complete certain conditions, and enter a plea of guilty, or no contest (nolo contendre). You will then need to complete the conditions. This could be restitution, rehabilitation, fines, or even community service. Once completed to the Court’s satisfaction, the Court will dismiss the charges against you.

Oftentimes people who have been charged with a criminal offense mistakenly believe that they can handle the matter on their own. This can have significant consequences on not only that person’s case, but their future. There are many benefits to having a knowledgeable and experienced Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney on your side.

Appearance in Court

Your first appearance in Court for a criminal offense can be nerve wrecking. You do not know what the process will be like, what will happen, or what to do. In addition, you may have to take time off of work, get there an hour before the Court opens so that you can wait in line, and anticipate that you will be there all day until your name is called.

Sometimes before you are charged with a Los Angeles Hit and Run, the police department will send you a letter. The letter will inform you that there is an investigation against you for a Hit and Run and will invite you to come to the police department for questioning. This may seem routine, especially if you believe you did not do anything, but it is still an interrogation. You should have a Los Angeles Hit and Run lawyer present with you when you go to the police department.

At this point in the process, you have not been charged with a Hit and Run and are certainly not guilty of the charge. This is just the investigation point and will require officers to put together evidence, and prepare a report to present to the prosecutors. The prosecutors will then review the report and evidence and make a decision as to whether there is enough to file formal charges against you.

This stage of the process is very crucial, because it can set a precedent for your case. It is also extremely important that you consult with an hire a Los Angeles Hit and Run attorney as soon as possible to guide you through this process. At this crucial juncture, any questioning, or actions taken by you can either lead to a dismissal of any potential charges, or it can lead to a full blown trial.

If you have been arrested for possession of marijuana, there may be available defenses or the presence of certain facts that may help reduce the charges.

If you are in possession of less than one ounce of marijuana, then your charge should be an infraction and not a misdemeanor or felony. This type of offense is charged under California Health and Safety Code 11357(b).  Oftentimes prosecutors will charge marijuana possession cases as misdemeanors, when they really should be charged as infractions. An experienced Los Angeles Criminal Defense attorney knows the law, and will gather evidence that demonstrates that the charge should have been an infraction and not a misdemeanor.

If the charge is successfully reduced to an infraction, there is a significant benefit to the person who has been charged. With an infraction you do not need to report it on any application that requests your criminal history, nor does it need to be disclosed in interviews. An infraction’s sentencing is also lower, and only involves a fine. There is no jail sentence or probation with an infraction.

If you have been arrested by officers under the suspicion of having violated a criminal offense, chances are you may be charged. This is not always the case. Oftentimes a person may be arrested, but upon review of the evidence and facts, prosecutors choose not to file formal charges.

In certain situations however, not only do prosecutors determine that there is sufficient evidence to file charges against a person, they find that several charges are appropriate. This happens often in Los Angeles Hit and Runs and Los Angeles DUIs. A person who has been charged may also be simultaneously charged with additional offenses such as insurance fraud, probation violation, or even a failure to appear. If you are being charged with several offenses, it is important to remember that each charge is its own case. They may be consolidated, but you must address and argue each individual case.

As with each criminal charge, there are available defenses and arguments. A case must be prepared and defended separately in court.

If you have been arrested for suspicion of a criminal offense, it is likely a very stressful time for you. You do not know what to expect through the criminal procedure process, what will happen with your case, the strength of the evidence in the case, and what your potential sentence will be. To make the process go a lot more efficiently, and to ensure yourself the best possible results, it is crucial that you seek the help and guidance of a Los Angeles Criminal Defense attorney.

There are literally hundreds of Criminal Defense attorneys in Los Angeles. How do you know which one is right for you? There are several things to consider and keep in mind when you set about to look for an attorney.

Experience

If you have received a letter or a call from the police department asking to speak to you about a Los Angeles Hit and Run, you have not been arrested. If you have received a citation asking you to appear in Court, then you have been charged, but are not convicted. You can only be convicted in one of two ways, if you plead guilty in the Court of law, or if you are found guilty by a jury.

With a Los Angeles Hit and Run, unlike many other charges, there are ways to strengthen your chances of avoiding a charge, if you take the right steps immediately.

  1. Consult with a Los Angeles Hit and Run lawyer