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.
The next step is that officers will prepare a report, gather statements, and present their findings to the prosecutors office. The Prosecutors office will review the information and determine whether charges need to be filed. Again, there is nothing in the criminal justice system pertaining to David yet. This is a very crucial and significant part of the proceedings, although it seems like nothing has yet happened. Many of our clients feel that because nothing has been charged, and they do not yet have to appear in court, that they will take their chances and wait it out. Their hope is that nothing will be filed and they will be able to avoid incurring the charges and costs related to hiring an attorney.
This could not be more accurate. Majority of the time, prosecutors will file charges, and then you will have to deal with addressing the case after. The trick is to address the case before it ever gets filed. This happens through negotiation and discussions with prosecutors. If a criminal lawyer is able to successfully negotiate, it will persuade prosecutors to never file the case at all. This would conclude your case, with no appearances, or extended work needed. This is the best possible scenario, but can only happen if you retain a lawyer immediately, and act quickly, not wait until after the case has been filed.
If the case is filed, a court appearance called an Arraignment, will be scheduled for your case. An attorney can appear on your behalf at this appearance in a majority of cases. An attorney can still through negotiations and artful discussions get your case reduced or dismissed.
Through all stages of trial, the prosecutors are willing to discuss dismissal and/or reductions of a case. It is up to your attorney to persuade and convince the prosecutors that their case is weak, and your case is strong. This can lead to the consequences of your case that you want. However, once your case has been started, you must appear and have your case formally dismissed through the justice system. This is why it is imperative to get a jump start on your case and address it before it is even filed.