Criminal Law

This is a web page that no one ever wants to be in a position to have to read but in today’s world it is too easy to do something contrary to the law and not know it at the time. There are so many laws that even lawyers and judges don’t know or understand all of them.

Below are some of the commonly asked questions about arrests, the court process and your constitutional rights.

If after reading the questions and answers below, if you have more questions call the office to schedule an appointment to discuss your legal issues at NO COST. The consultation that we provide does not require any fees to answer your questions about criminal laws so don’t hesitate to call.

WHAT IS AN ARREST?

When you are arrested, you are taken into custody. This means that you are not free to leave the scene. Without being arrested, however, you still could be ‘detained’ or held for questioning for a short time if a police officer believes you are or may be involved in a crime.

WHAT ARE MY RIGHTS?

You have constitutional rights if you are arrested. Before the law enforcement officer questions you, he or she should advise you:

  • You have the right to remain silent.
  • Anything you say may be used against you.
  • You have a right to have a lawyer present while you are questioned.
  • If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed for you.

These are commonly known as your Miranda rights, guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. If you are not given these warnings, your lawyer can ask that any statements you made to the police not be used against you in court. But this does not necessarily mean that your case will be dismissed. Issues of whether or not you were advised of your rights is very technical and the courts are eroding this constitutional right every day.

ARE MY RIGHTS DIFFERENT IN A DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE CASE?

Yes and No. First of all, when you got your driver’s license you agreed that in a DUI case that you agree to take a blood, breath or urine test to determine if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. However, that is all that you agreed to when you got your driver’s license.

Read More about DUI’s.

I WAS ARRESTED OR GIVEN A CITATION – NOW WHAT WILL HAPPEN?

First – call an attorney! Most criminal law attorneys offer a free consultation free of charge to give you general information to assist you, whether you think your going to be arrested, have been arrested or were given a citation.

If you call my office, my staff will schedule a telephone or office appointment to discuss your situation. I feel that it is important to you have your questions answered and very often I do this even if I know that eventually you will be unable to afford my legal services.

WHAT ARE MY COURT RIGHTS?

Most courts today will provide you a copy of your legal court rights at the time of your first court appearance. Take the time to read these rights as they are important for you to understand.

If you schedule a consultation appointment in my office, I will give you a copy of your court rights before you get to court so that you can study and understand them before you get to court. Often people are anxious about the court process and can’t absorb all of the legal mumbo jumbo as they are sitting in court.

In my Special Links area I’ve included a sample Court Rights form. Regardless of the court that you may be in, your rights in California remain the same.

I CAN’T AFFORD AN ATTORNEY, WHAT SHOULD I DO?

Private Attorney do cost money. Typically a private attorney may charge between $1000 to $2000 to handle your case. Considerations may be whether or not there will be a DMV hearing as well as other issues. Additionally, a private attorney often offer more services than a public defender can offer.

If you can’t afford a private attorney, The court can appoint you an public defender, if you have no or little income but only if you are charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. But a public defender WILL NOT speak to you until the court actually appoints them to your case; normally at your first court appearance. People with traffic citations are not entitled to free legal counsel.

HOWEVER, just because you tell the judge that you can’t afford an attorney doesn’t mean that you’ll be appointed the public defender. Every court has financial guidelines that you must meet. Most generally, if your gross income is more than $2000 per month they you probably will not qualify for a public defender.

I DON’T WANT A PUBLIC DEFENDER AND AM NOT SURE I CAN AFFORD AN ATTORNEY; CAN YOU HELP?

Maybe. Yes, I charge for my services but your company’s Employee Assistance Program may offer a legal plan that provides for reduced attorney’s fees in your case. However, due to case load demands I am not always able to accept every case.

I know that many people are not happy with their public defender and I have heard many stories over the years. I’m not in a position nor will I take a position about any public defender or the service that they provide. However, I can explain to you your rights as it relates to your public defender – after all it is your case and only you can decide the path that your case takes in court. Call my office for a NO CHARGE consultation.