If you have been arrested, are under investigation, have been questioned by police, or are involved in any criminal process of any sort, chances are that you are asking the question: do I need a lawyer? If you find yourself asking that question, the answer is most likely yes!
One of the main reasons to consult an attorney is to find out whether or not you actually need representation. That is something that can be decided only with the aid of an experienced attorney, and only after he or she is familiar with the facts of your particular case.
If you've never been involved with the criminal justice system before, being charged with a crime can be a terrifying experience. Before you have a chance to even understand what's happening, you can be forced to make critical decisions in a situation that you may know nothing about. And making the wrong decision can have implications for the rest of your life.
The thing to remember is that being arrested or charged with a crime is not the end of things. And while it may feel overwhelming - if not traumatic - you have the opportunity to set things right. The first thing you need to do? Get an attorney who can guide you through the maze of the criminal justice system. You need an attorney with years of experience defending first time offenders like you. An attorney like Jennifer Le.
Because every case is different, Ms. Le will sit down with you and explain everything you need to know. And she will outline the best route to avoiding a possible criminal conviction.
Take your first step now and Contact Orange County Criminal Defense Lawyer Jennifer Le regarding your legal matter, to find out if you need representation.
What if I am innocent of the charges brought against me?
This makes it all the more necessary to consult a qualified Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney. Just because you know that you are innocent does not mean that you will ultimately be found innocent.
We all like to think that truth and justice prevails, but unfortunately that does not always happen.
In fact, sometimes police and prosecutors are so eager to push cases through the system that innocent people are found guilty of crimes they did not commit. The only way to ensure that your rights are fully protected and that the evidence is fairly presented in court is with an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Only an experienced lawyer can provide you with proper legal representation and fight for your rights.
Do I need a lawyer if my case is still under investigation and no charges have been filed against me?
Yes, your need for effective legal representation is just as great during the course of the police investigation. It is important to note that police and prosecutors do not always give people the benefit of doubt before they file charges. Also, they may mistakes.
Don't assume that the police will fairly decide whether you should be charged. Any evidence in your favor needs to be investigated and preserved by your attorney as early as possible.
In many cases your defense lawyer may able to bring evidence to the attention of the police and prosecutors before charges are filed - and persuade them not to file charges against you. It is often easier to convince prosecutors not to file charges in the first place, than to persuade them to dismiss charges once filed.
Should I speak with the Police?
NO! Make no statement and sign nothing. If the police think that you will talk, they may try to interview you. You may even believe that this is your chance to tell your story. However, the police are not there to clear you of suspicion. Their role is to gather evidence to convict you of a crime. The police may use deceptive tactics and lie to people under investigation. They may tell you that if you tell them your side of the story, they will not arrest you. That is a lie. It is a regular police tactic - used in the hope that the accused will make a statement, which can later be used against them in Court. Whether you should speak to the police is an extremely important and complex decision, which can only be made with the advice of a competent Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney.
What can my lawyer do if the charges have already been filed?
First, your lawyer will evaluate the evidence and determine if the government can prove its case against you. Sometimes prosecutors are mistaken about the strength of their evidence and can be persuaded to abandon their case after hearing both sides of the story. Other times, prosecutors can be persuaded to dismiss charges because of changes in the evidence.
If the evidence against you is too strong to obtain a dismissal of charges, your attorney can evaluate whether it is in your best interest to go trial or to obtain a negotiated plea bargain. Only an experienced Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney can evaluate your chances for success at trial. If you and your attorney decide to go to trial, your attorney can develop a case to persuade the jury that there is a reasonable doubt as to whether you are guilty of the charges.
Your Orange County Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Use Many Tools to Determine the Likelihood of Success at Trial:
What happens during the investigation?
While the police gather evidence against you, your attorney will use private investigators to gather evidence to prove your innocence. Proving your innocence may mean learning everything about your accuser. The investigator may discover and interview witnesses, and may discover evidence which attacks the honesty and credibility of your accuser.
What is an Expert Witness?
These are used to examine the prosecution's scientific evidence or prepare defense evidence in specialized areas within their scientific fields, such as ballistic, fingerprints, forensics, psychiatry, DNA, and many other fields.
What are Pre-trial Motions?
The right pre-trial motions supported by solid evidence and the law can result in the dismissal of your case, a favorable settlement of the charges, or set the framework for a winning defense.
What is DNA Evidence?
With DNA evidence so much in the news these days, it pays to understand exactly what it could mean for you. In short, DNA evidence is any piece of evidence that contains human DNA. And it can tie you to a crime, or clear you of one.
DNA is like fingerprints, it is completely unique to every individual. And like fingerprints, it can be a legal link between you and a crime. DNA can easily be collected from a crime scene through blood, saliva, skin cells, hair, or semen.
When police collect DNA evidence, they first run the sample through a database of known offenders. If no match is found, they may then be able to obtain a warrant to collect a DNA sample from suspects in a case. This is done by swabbing the inside of the mouth to get a sample of DNA from saliva.
Remember, DNA evidence is used to exonerate as well as convict. To date, hundreds of people have been cleared of the crimes they have been convicted of. If you have any questions about how DNA evidence may affect your case, contact Jennifer Le today.
What happens during the Criminal Process?
Facing criminal charges can be frightening, daunting and can leave the accused feeling helpless. The entire criminal process can be complex and difficult to navigate if you do not know what to expect. With a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer on your side to protect your rights at every step of the way, your chances of a positive outcome for your criminal case are greatly increased. The criminal process in California typically involves the following:
What happens after an Arrest?
The police arrest someone based on probable cause that they have committed a criminal offense. However, the police do not file the charges. They simply provide reports and evidence to the prosecuting attorney, who then decides whether or not charges should be filed, and if so, what charges.
Immediately upon your arrest, it is important to remain silent and contact an attorney. An attorney will be able to advise you on your rights and what your options are at this point - and may even be able to help dissuade the prosecuting attorney from filing charges.
Who Files the Complaint?
The prosecuting attorney files the document with the Court, which alleges the criminal charges against you.
What happens during Arraignment/First Appearance?
At the arraignment, you are formally advised of the charges and your constitutional rights. Bail is often set during the arraignment. Bail is used by the Court almost as an "insurance policy" that you will appear on future court dates.
The amount of bail is determined by the Judge. The Judge will look to two factors in deciding bail: your risk of flight and whether you pose a danger to the community. Bail amounts can range from being released on your own recognizance, all the way up to millions of dollars. In some cases no bail is allowed.
If you have already retained a Orange County Defense Lawyer at this point, your lawyer may be able to negotiate with the Court and prove that you are not a flight risk - enabling a release on your own recognizance or a lower bail amount.
What happens during the Preliminary Hearing?
Preliminary Hearings are held in all felony offenses to review probable cause. This is necessary for the Judge to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to support the charges against you. Once a Judge determines that there is probable cause, he sends the case to the Superior Court for trial. During the Preliminary Hearing, the District Attorney or the Judge can add additional charges and/or readjust the bail.
What is Arraignment in the Superior Court?
If the Judge has determined that there is probable cause to support the charges, the prosecutor will file a charging document called "Information" in the Superior Court. The Information alleges the charges which you are facing at trial. At this time, you are formally advised of the charges and your constitutional rights. Again, you enter a plea of not guilty.
Entering a plea of guilty or not guilty is an important decision that your lawyer can advise you on. Depending upon your particular case, it often benefits the accused to plead not guilty, but your lawyer can give you advice pertinent to your unique situation.
Why are there more Pre-trial Conferences?
At the pre-trial conference, your defense attorney discusses the case with the prosecuting attorney and often may include the Judge in this process. This is a good opportunity for your attorney to speak with the prosecution in order to obtain the best possible deal, or plea-bargain. It also allows your defense attorney to provide information which may prove your innocence.
What happens during Trial?
During the jury trial you are entitled to have a jury of twelve impartial jurors. Both the defense attorney and the prosecuting attorney have an opportunity to make opening statements, introduce witnesses and evidence in favor of their case, cross-examine witnesses and offer closing arguments. During the deliberation phase of the case, the jury decides whether the prosecution has met the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If the jury finds you not guilty, you are free to go and are not subject to further prosecution based on the same offenses.
At the trial is where your lawyer's hard work and preparation will pay off. It is important for your lawyer to thoroughly investigate all aspects of your case, evidence and charges in order to anticipate the prosecuting attorney's next moves and counter them with evidence and information to defend your innocence. At your trial, your lawyer will act as your voice and representation in front of the Judge and jury. Your lawyer's experience, communication and negotiation skills and knowledge will make all the difference in the outcome of your trial - along with their persistence and willingness to fight aggressively to defend your rights.
What happens during Sentencing?
If you are found guilty, the sentencing hearing is where the judge determines and imposes the appropriate punishment. You may be sentenced to probation instead of a term in state prison. Different crimes carry different possible penalties. You are entitled to a sentencing hearing to propose why you believe the judge should give you the lowest possible penalty.
When a guilty verdict is dealt, your defense lawyer can work to obtain alternative sentencing, such as drug treatment or alcohol counseling, in lieu of jail time. There are a number of strategies your lawyer may utilize to help you avoid going to county jail or state prison.
What happens during Appeals?
If convicted, your lawyer may file an appeal to an appellate level court with the argument that the trial court made legal errors. If the defense can prove that the trial court made legal errors, or you were denied due process of law or a fair trial, it may result in the reversal of your conviction.
What is Parole?
Parole is a conditional release from prison which entitles you to serve the remainder of your term outside of prison. However, you are still under the supervision of the department of corrections.
What is Expungement?
Expungement is a process where, in some cases, your conviction may be removed from your record. An experienced attorney can help you determine whether you may qualify for expungement, and will be able to guide you through the process.
Orange County Criminal Defense Lawyer Jennifer Le
At the Law Offices of Jennifer Le, we are committed to helping clients throughout Orange County who are facing criminal charges, including DUI, assault and battery, domestic violence, theft, fraud, federal crimes, drug offenses, child abuse, arson, embezzlement and much more. Regardless of the charges you are facing,
by consulting Orange Criminal Defense Lawyer Jennifer Le, you can get a better idea of what you can do to help ensure a positive outcome for your case.