Being arrested for a crime is no small issue. Your defense needs to be your top priority when you are facing criminal charges. Choosing the right Norwalk criminal defense lawyer is essential, considering the severe consequences of a criminal conviction. Gibbons & Gibbons offers the necessary skills required to defend you.
A criminal defense attorney in Norwalk, CA, brings important legal knowledge to challenge criminal accusations against a defendant. We are capable of providing support and defense for people facing charges ranging from felonies to misdemeanors. Criminal lawyers aim to protect the rights and interests of their clients throughout the legal process and will work to achieve the most positive possible outcome given the circumstances of each unique case.
After a criminal conviction, individuals still retain certain legal rights, although these rights may be subject to limitations based on the nature and severity of the conviction. Typically, individuals will retain the right to appeal, legal representation, due process, privacy, communication with counsel, access records, and be informed of consequences. Individuals will also have the right against double jeopardy, self-incrimination, and cruel and unusual punishment.
Criminal defense attorneys handle cases where individuals are accused of violating criminal statutes as outlined in California’s state Penal Code. The types of cases that criminal defense attorneys handle include:
Each charge carries a distinct level of severity and facts that require a skilled criminal defense lawyer. Criminal defense attorneys play a crucial role in protecting the rights of individuals accused of these and other criminal offenses and are there to help people understand the charges being held against them.
The criminal court process in California has several steps, from arrest to potential appeal. Specific aspects of the process can vary based on the severity and nature of the offense, as well as other factors. If you could potentially be facing criminal court, it can ease some stress and discomfort if you have a general understanding of what will happen.
The process begins with an arrest and booking, which law enforcement must have probable cause to do. The individual must also be informed of their Miranda rights. Upon arrest, the individual will consult with their defense lawyer, who will provide legal advice, explain the charges, and inform the client of their rights.
If a bail hearing is scheduled, the defense lawyer may present arguments for reasonable bail, considering factors such as the client’s ties to the community and flight risk. Next is arraignment, which is when the defense lawyer appears with the defendant. The attorney should ensure that the client understands the charges and enters an appropriate plea. Legal counsel may also address issues related to bail.
Even before any court proceedings, the right defense attorney will be working on their client’s case to ensure they are treated fairly and are offered the most optimal solution. The defense lawyer conducts a thorough investigation into every aspect of your case. This may involve gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, and assessing the prosecution’s case for potential weaknesses or even misconduct.
Once an investigation is complete, the defense attorney may file legal motions, such as to suppress evidence, dismiss charges, or address legal issues that could impact the case. In felony cases, the defense lawyer participates in preliminary hearings or grand jury proceedings, challenging evidence and ensuring the defendant’s rights are protected.
The defense lawyer will then engage in negotiations with the prosecution to seek a favorable plea deal for the client. This may involve reducing charges or securing a more lenient sentence.
If the case proceeds to trial, the right legal team will be prepared before they walk into the door. This includes developing a defense strategy, selecting witnesses, and preparing for cross-examination. During the trial, the defense lawyer advocates for the client, presents evidence, cross-examines witnesses, and makes legal arguments to challenge the prosecution’s case. The judge will provide information to the jury, and they will deliberate in private, which might take hours or even days.
The jury will return with a verdict of guilty, not guilty, or, in some cases, a hung jury if they cannot reach a unanimous decision. In such cases, the judge will declare a mistrial. The prosecution will then have the option to retry the case depending on various factors, including the strength of the evidence, the circumstances of the trial, and the likelihood of obtaining a different outcome in a new trial.
If the defendant is convicted, the defense lawyer advocates for a fair and just sentence during the sentencing phase. This may involve presenting mitigating factors and arguing against overly harsh penalties. If there are legal grounds for appeal, the defense lawyer may file an appeal, challenging errors or issues that occurred during the trial. This appeal will go to a higher court called an appellate court, which will review the decision. An appeal is not a new trial, and only evidence that was presented at the trial is reviewed.
In misdemeanor cases, a Note of Appeal should be filed within 30 days of a judgment order date. For felony cases, it must be filed within 60 days.
Since this is a general overview, the specific details of the criminal court process will vary based on circumstances. Misdemeanor cases often skip some of the steps associated with felony cases, or your legal representation will take a route better suited for your case. The legal system is complex, so having an experienced defense lawyer by your side is crucial at every step.
It doesn’t matter if it was a misdemeanor or felony offense you were convicted for; a criminal conviction impacts many areas of your life. Besides having a permanent criminal record, these aspects of your life can be changed:
Understandably, you might be worried about how these potential consequences will impact your future. Having an experienced criminal defense attorney can help reduce or even eliminate the short-term and long-term effects of a criminal conviction.
In California, expungement is a legal process that allows a person with certain criminal convictions to petition the court to have their convictions dismissed. While this does not completely erase a criminal record, it could have a significant positive impact on a person’s future.
Not all convictions are eligible for expungement, though. Misdemeanors and some felony convictions may be eligible if the individual completed probation and met all the terms of their sentence. After this, a person will have to file a petition with the court where they were convicted. The court will review the petition and consider the relevant factors in determining if it will be granted.
It is important to keep in mind that expungement does not mean the criminal record will be erased; it will just change from “guilty” or “no contest” to “dismissed.” Certain sex offenses and serious felonies are generally not eligible for expungement. A criminal defense lawyer can assist you in understanding the implications of expungement and help you navigate the legal complexities.
In California, the law states it is your right to have your arrest records sealed and destroyed if you were arrested for a crime but never convicted. If a record is sealed, it will not show up on criminal background checks. The records that will be destroyed are booking photos, police reports, fingerprint documentation, and rap sheet entries.
A criminal defense attorney can handle the entire process for you, which involves three key steps. The first step is to file a petition in the county or city where you were arrested. After that is done, a petition must be served on the agency that made the arrest. Then, a hearing will take place where a judge will decide if the petition is granted or denied.
If you were convicted as a juvenile, those records are treated differently. They are typically sealed automatically, and individuals may not be required to disclose the convictions they committed as a juvenile.
When seeking legal representation for a criminal case, a frequently asked question is about the cost of hiring a criminal defense attorney. The expense can play a significant role in the decision-making process for many individuals requiring legal defense, and understandably so. Attorney fees can be substantial, but the cost can vary widely based on several factors, including the attorney’s experience, case complexity and length, and location.
Contact an Experienced Norwalk Criminal Defense Law Firm Today
If you find yourself facing criminal charges following an arrest, it’s important to immediately begin the process of securing an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Gibbons & Gibbons stands as a premier criminal defense law firm in Norwalk and is ready to help any client. Contact us today for more information on our services.