Norwalk Criminal Defense Lawyer

Norwalk Criminal Defense Lawyer

Norwalk Criminal Defense Attorney

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 Lawyers Job

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.

Norwalk Criminal Defense Lawyer

Your Legal Rights

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.

Types of Crimes that Criminal Defense Lawyers Handle

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:

  • Assault and Battery: Any charges involving intentional harm or the threat of harm to another person.
  • Driving Under the Influence (DUI): Charges related to operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Drug Offenses: Any charges related to possession, distribution, manufacturing, or trafficking of illegal substances.
  • Domestic Violence: Charges involving violent or abusive behavior within a domestic relationship.
  • Juvenile Crimes: Charges involving individuals under 18, including offenses committed by minors.
  • Manslaughter and Homicide: Any charges involving the intentional or unintentional killing of another person.
  • Probation Violation: Charges for violating the terms of probation or parole.
  • Sex Crimes: Any charges that are related to sexual assault, rape, indecent exposure, sex trafficking, or other sexual offenses.
  • Theft and Property Crimes: Charges such as stealing, burglary, robbery, shoplifting, or other property offenses.
  • Weapons Offenses: Charges related to the illegal possession, use, or trafficking of firearms or other weapons.
  • White-Collar Crimes: Charges such as fraud, embezzlement, insider trading, or other non-violent financial crimes.

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.

Criminal Court Process

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.

What Does a Defense Attorney Do?

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.

What Happens If My Case Goes to Trial?

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.

What Happens If a Trial Leads to Conviction?

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.

Impact of a Criminal Conviction

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:

  • Employment. A criminal record doesn’t mean you will not find a job, but it can make the process much harder. Fortunately, California law makes discriminating against applicants and employees with criminal histories a bit harder. Employers are not allowed to inquire about a criminal conviction before a job offer but can rescind the offer after it has been given based on the conviction.
  • Housing. Many landlords do background checks before approving a tenancy application. A landlord might deem you a risk if you have a criminal record. Your options of where to live could be even more limited if you have a sexual offense conviction.
  • Financial. A criminal conviction comes with many costs, from the sentencing fines that include civil penalties, surcharges, and fees to any potential restitution that may be owed to victims. In addition to legal-related costs, having a criminal record may lead to obstacles in obtaining loans such as business, auto, student, or mortgage. Some lenders will see a criminal conviction and deny your application, citing that you are a high-risk borrower.
  • Sexual Offender Registry. If you are convicted of offenses such as sexual assault, rape, child molestation or other child-related sexual offenses, sexual battery, human trafficking or exploitation, or indecent exposure, you might be required to register on the California sexual offender register. Being on this register could impact your housing or employment opportunities. Additionally, your information will be open to the public on the Megan’s Law website.
  • Voting. California law allows individuals with a criminal history to vote as long as they are not currently in state prison or on parole for the conviction of a felony. Once you have completed prison terms or have been discharged from parole, your voting rights are automatically restored, and can now register to vote and participate in elections.
  • Immigration and Travel. Every country has its own travel and immigration laws. Many countries around the world refuse admittance to people who have been convicted of certain felonies or even misdemeanors. In the United States, a criminal conviction may significantly impact your immigration status, leading to potential consequences such as the denial of entry or the right to remain in the country, as well as obstacles to obtaining citizenship. Additionally, deportation could be a consequence of your conviction.
  • Child Custody. A criminal conviction can have significant implications on child custody matters. Family courts consider the best interests of the child when determining custody arrangements, and a criminal conviction may be taken into account during this evaluation. You might have to demonstrate efforts towards rehabilitation, creating and maintaining a stable living environment, and addressing any concerns raised by your conviction.

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.

Potential Expungement

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.

Sealing and Destroying Records

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.

Criminal Defense Lawyer Cost

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.