Looking for the Best Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney?
Criminal defense involves assisting those who have been accused of committing a crime. Sometimes defendants may have been wrongly accused of a crime, and sometimes there may be a defense to the particular crime that was committed. For example, an individual who has been accused of physically battering someone would be able to “justify” the battery if they were acting in self-defense.
The preparation for a criminal defense trial includes interviewing eye witnesses and expert witnesses, as well as collecting a range of evidence for use at trial. In cases where a prosecutor offers a “plea deal”, the valuation and negotiation skills of a criminal defense attorney are invaluable.
Criminal defense also involves preparing the defendant for trial, conducting the trial, and advising the defendant on all aspects of the law of his or her case.
What type of cases do criminal defense attorneys take?
Criminal defense attorneys handle all cases involving crimes. Below is a non-exhaustive list of crimes and legal matters a criminal defense attorney will accept:
- Sexual Assault
- Property Crimes
- White Collar Crime
- Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
- Federal Crimes
- Expungement of Criminal Record
How can I benefit with the assistance of a criminal defense attorney?
The legal system is very complex and representing oneself in a criminal case, without any legal training, can be very detrimental to one’s case. Criminal defense lawyers are specially trained to build a successful trial defense analyzing all aspects of each case upon which they work, and are skilled at identifying flaws in the prosecution’s case.
A criminal defense lawyer will be able to ascertain whether your specific situation has factors that may lessen the crime of which you have been accused, prove your innocence, or show that no crime has been committed, such as in the event of a self-defense claim. Your lawyer can also serve as a form of emotional support during the difficult process of going through a trial, plea negotiations, and/or sentencing.
What is the legal process involved in a criminal defense case?
After a defendant is charged, he or she will usually engage a criminal defense attorney. The attorney should conduct an in-depth interview with the defendant to gain an understanding of the case. This will help the attorney identify witnesses, defenses to the crime, and any evidence that may help prove the defendant’s innocence.
After being arrested and charged, there will be an arraignment where the defendant will enter a plea of “not guilty” or “guilty”. Customarily, defendants will enter a plea of “not guilty” at the arraignment.
After the arraignment, a “discovery” phase begins. This is where the defense attorney will demand the evidence against their client. By evaluating the evidence against the defendant, as provided by the prosecutor, the defense attorney can ascertain whether there is a good claim against his or her client.
A criminal case can either “plead out” or go to trial. Normally, during the course of a criminal case, a prosecutor will offer a plea deal, or a criminal defense attorney can try to negotiate one with the prosecutor.
If a satisfactory deal is not reached, the case will go to trial in front of a jury where witnesses will be examined and cross-examined.
All of the evidence will be presented to a jury, and the jury is tasked with deciding whether or not the defendant is guilty. The prosecution has to prove every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecution fails to meet this burden, the defendant should be found not guilty. Additionally, if there are any defenses to the crime, the criminal defense attorney will present these at trial.
If the defendant is found not guilty, then he or she is free from accusation. However, if the defendant is found guilty, or if the defendant pleads guilty at any point before the trial, he or she will go in front of a judge to be sentenced. This can include jail time, a fine, probation, or any combination of the three.
How do I choose a criminal defense attorney who is right for me?
Part of selecting a criminal defense attorney is ensuring that the attorney you have in mind has experience with defending the crime of which you have been accused. If you have been accused of theft, but the lawyer you have spoken with mainly handles fraud cases, then that lawyer may not be the right one for your case.
Additionally, it is important that you are comfortable speaking with your potential attorney; after all, being accused of a crime and going through a trial is stressful. You may have to tell your attorney embarrassing and private details about your life. Being able to speak candidly with your criminal defense lawyer is essential to ensuring the best possible outcome for your case.
Can the San Fernando Valley Bar Association (SFVBA) help me find the right criminal defense attorney?
If you, a spouse, relative or friend have been arrested or are at risk of being arrested in Los Angeles County, and you wish to hire a lawyer other than the appointed public defender, the ARS can quickly help you find an experience criminal defense attorney for you and the persons you care for.
If you have questions or concerns about criminal allegations or charges, contact our trained referral consultants. When you call our referral service, you will speak with a trained referral service consultant who can act fast and immediately put you in touch with an experienced criminal defense attorney. During the confidential intake process, you will be asked important questions to help identify the appropriate referral based on the alleged offense(s), and degree of charges.
The local call is free and the referral to a criminal defense attorney is free. Inquiries related to attorney fees are discussed and agreed upon between the potential client and attorney. You may also request a lawyer who speak Spanish and other languages.
Contact the SFVBA Attorney Referral Service Today! 818-340-4529.
Let us know if you’re an attorney interested in becoming a member of the SFVBA’s Attorney Referral Service.