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Questions Answered About Criminal Law in Los Angeles

Questions Answered About Criminal Law in Los Angeles

Have you ever wanted to ask a legal question to a Los Angeles criminal lawyer? Being accused of a crime is difficult under any circumstances, but it’s especially so when you have to deal with the consequences on your own. Because people tend to have varying levels of experience with the criminal justice system, we hope that by answering some common questions below, you’ll better understand what might happen during your own legal proceeding.

Please keep in mind that every legal case is unique, and the facts of one case may be very different from those of another. The information provided here is only a general guideline and should not be taken as an absolute answer to any situation. If your question is very personal please feel free to give us a call or request a call back. We will do our best to answer your questions. Regardless, here are some answers to common questions Los Angeles criminal attorneys hear on a daily basis.

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    INVESTIGATION STAGE

    Is it beneficial to talk to the police if they are investigating me regarding an incident?

    It is almost NEVER beneficial to talk to the police if they are investigating you regarding a case. No matter what they say, the police are not there to be your friend, or to help you. They are there to scrutinize incidents and to make arrests. All too often, these arrests may be wrongful. And no matter how innocent you may believe you are, things that you say to law enforcement could be used against you in ways that you did not consider.
    If the police are investigating you for a crime, it is important to consult with a criminal defense attorney before speaking with them. An attorney can provide guidance on how to protect your rights and interests, can speak to the police on your behalf and can help you determine if it is in your best interest to speak with the police.
    Additionally, it is important to remember that you have the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. If the police are questioning you, you do not have to answer any questions without legal representation present. Exercise your rights and consult with an attorney before making any statements to the police.

    Should I take a lie detector test, if I believe I am innocent?

    It is generally not advisable to take a lie detector test, even if you believe you are innocent. Lie detector tests, also known as polygraph tests, are not always accurate and can be influenced by a variety of factors, such as the individual’s emotional state and the examiner’s bias.
    Additionally, the results of a lie detector test are not admissible as evidence in court. Therefore, taking a lie detector test will not necessarily help to clear your name or prove your innocence.
    If you are being investigated for a crime, it is important to consult with a criminal defense attorney before agreeing to take a lie detector test. An attorney can provide guidance on how to protect your rights and interests, and can help you determine if it is in your best interest to take a lie detector test.

    Should I hire an attorney if I am under investigation but have not been arrested?

    If you are under investigation but have not been arrested, it is a good idea to consult with or hire an attorney. An attorney can provide you with legal advice and represent you if you are charged with a crime. It is important to remember that you have the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney, so it is always a good idea to exercise those rights if you are in this situation.

    Do I need an attorney if I’m being investigated but am innocent?

    Even if you are innocent, it is still a good idea to consult with an attorney if you are being investigated for a crime. An attorney can provide you with legal advice and represent you if you are charged with a crime. An attorney can also help protect your rights and make sure that the investigation is conducted properly. If you are being investigated but have not been arrested, you have the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney, so it is important to exercise those rights if you are in this situation.
    Some might balk because of the costs they associate with hiring an attorney. But the costs of hiring a lawyer are FAR lower than the costs of a conviction on your record, or the time lost with your family or time lost working because you are incarcerated.

    ARREST

    What happens after I’m arrested?

    After an arrest in Los Angeles, the individual will be taken to a nearby police station for booking and processing. This typically involves taking fingerprints, photographs, and conducting a background check. The individual may also be required to provide personal information, such as their name and address.
    Once the booking process is complete, the individual may be held in a detention center or jail until they can post bail or are released on their own recognizance. In some cases, the individual may be eligible for a pre-trial release program, which allows them to be released without having to post bail.
    If the individual is charged with a crime, they will be given a court date and will need to appear in court to answer to the charges against them. This process can take several months, depending on the nature of the charges and the individual’s criminal history. If the individual is found guilty, they may face fines, probation, or incarceration.

    How does bail work?

    Bail is a financial guarantee that the individual will appear in court for their scheduled hearings and trial. In Los Angeles, the amount of bail is determined by the court and is based on the severity of the crime and the individual’s criminal history.
    To obtain release from jail, the individual or a bail bondsman can pay the full amount of bail to the court. If the individual fails to appear in court as scheduled, the court will keep the bail money as punishment.
    Alternatively, the individual can work with a bail bondsman to secure their release. The bail bondsman will charge a non-refundable fee (usually 10% of the bail amount) and provide a guarantee to the court that the individual will appear in court. If the individual fails to appear in court, the bail bondsman may be required to pay the full amount of bail to the court.
    Once the individual is released from jail, they are expected to appear in court for all scheduled hearings and trial. If they fail to do so, a warrant for their arrest may be issued and they may be subject to additional criminal charges.

    What should I do after being arrested?

    After being arrested in Los Angeles, it is important to remain calm and be respectful to law enforcement. Do not resist arrest but do NOT talk to law enforcement about the incident or related matters. Instead, focus on securing your release from jail by posting bail or working with a bail bondsman.
    Once you are released from jail, it is important to contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can provide guidance on the legal process, help you prepare for court, and advocate for your rights and interests.
    Additionally, it is important to follow all court orders and conditions of your release, such as appearing in court for scheduled hearings and trial, and avoiding any further criminal activity. Failing to do so can result in additional criminal charges and penalties.

    When should I hire a criminal defense attorney?

    It is important to hire a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after being arrested in Los Angeles. An attorney can provide valuable guidance on the legal process, help you prepare for court, and advocate for your rights and interests.
    Additionally, an attorney can work to gather evidence and witnesses, negotiate with the prosecution, and develop a defense strategy that is tailored to your specific situation. This can help to ensure that you are treated fairly and that your rights are protected throughout the legal process.
    It is also important to note that the sooner you hire an attorney, the more time they will have to prepare your case and build a strong defense. Therefore, it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible after being arrested to maximize your chances of a successful outcome.
    Some people might hesitate in hiring an attorney because of the perceived costs. But the costs of hiring a lawyer are always FAR lower than the costs of a conviction on your record, or lost with your family or time lost working because you are incarcerated.

    COURT

    When do I find out the charges against me?

    Typically, you will be informed of the charges against you when you are arrested or when you are given a citation to appear in court. In some cases, you may be informed of the charges against you before you are arrested, such as if you are served with a summons or a warrant. If you are unsure of the charges against you, you should consult with an attorney who can help you understand the nature of the charges and what you can expect in court. The charges are later, officially announced at your first court hearing, called the arraignment.

    What is the procedure after criminal charges are filed in court?

    The procedure after criminal charges are filed in a Los Angeles court will depend on the specific circumstances of your case and the nature of the charges against you. Generally, however, the following steps may be involved:

    1. Arraignment: At your first hearing, called the arraignment, you will be formally charged with the crime and you will be asked to enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest. If you plead “not guilty” at the arraignment – which is what most people do – the case is then scheduled for future hearings. 
    2. Pretrial hearings and conferences: After your arraignment, the case is often scheduled for pretrial hearings. During this time between hearings, your attorney will investigate the case and, if appropriate, file pretrial motions, such as a motion to suppress evidence or a motion to dismiss the charges. The court may also hold pretrial conferences to discuss any issues that need to be resolved before the case goes to trial. 
    3. Trial: Most cases resolve prior to trial. Only about 2% of cases actually go to a jury trial. If your case does go to trial, you will have the opportunity to challenge the prosecution’s case and present evidence on your behalf. The trial will be conducted before a judge or a jury, and the judge or jury will determine whether you are guilty or not guilty.
    4. Sentencing: If you are found guilty, the judge will impose a sentence, which may include jail time, probation, fines, or other penalties.

    The specific steps in the criminal process can vary depending on the circumstances of your case, so it is important to consult with an attorney who can provide you with more detailed information.

    What is the difference between an infraction, a misdemeanor and a felony?

    An infraction is a minor violation of the law that is punishable by a fine or other penalty, but not by jail time. Examples of infractions include traffic violations, such as speeding or running a red light, and minor offenses, such as litter.

    A misdemeanor is a more serious offense that is punishable by up to one year in jail. Misdemeanors are typically less serious than felonies, but they can still carry significant penalties. Examples of misdemeanors include some drug offenses, simple assault, and petty theft.

    A felony is the most serious category of crime and may be punishable by imprisonment for more than one year. Felonies can carry severe penalties, including long prison sentences and heavy fines. Examples of felonies include violent crimes, such as murder and rape, serious property crimes, such as burglary and arson, drug offensess, sex crimes and white collar crimes.

    What is a public defender?

    A public defender is an attorney who is appointed by the court to represent individuals who are unable to afford a private attorney. Public defenders are usually employed by the government, and they are provided to criminal defendants who meet certain income eligibility requirements. Public defenders are trained to handle criminal cases and have the same duties and responsibilities as private attorneys, including representing their clients in court, negotiating plea deals, and advocating for their clients’ rights.

    Do I need a criminal lawyer if I plan to plead guilty?

    It is highly recommended that you consult with a criminal lawyer in Los Angeles, even if you plan to plead guilty. A lawyer can provide you with legal advice and help you understand the potential consequences of pleading guilty. Often, a lawyer can negotiate a more favorable plea agreement on your behalf, which could result in a more lenient sentence or a reduction in the charges against you. A lawyer can also help protect your rights and make sure that the legal process is fair and just. Even if you plan to plead guilty, you have the right to legal representation, so it is important to consult with a lawyer if you are facing criminal charges.
    Some people might hesitate in hiring an attorney because of the perceived costs. But the costs of hiring a lawyer are always FAR lower than the costs of a conviction on your record, or lost with your family or time lost working because you are incarcerated

    How much does it cost to hire a criminal lawyer in Los Angeles?

    The cost of hiring a criminal lawyer can vary depending on a number of factors, including the type of case, the lawyer’s experience and reputation, and the location of the case. In general, however, lawyers typically charge by the hour, and their hourly rates can range from $150 to $1,000 or more. Some lawyers may also charge a flat fee for their services, which can be a set amount for the entire case or a certain amount for each stage of the case. In certain non-criminal cases, lawyers may also be willing to work on a contingency fee basis, which means that they will only be paid if they win your case. It is important to discuss the fees with your lawyer before hiring them to make sure you understand their billing practices and agree to their fees.
    As stated above, some might hesitate in hiring an attorney because of the perceived costs. But the costs of hiring a lawyer are always FAR lower than the costs of a conviction on your record, or lost with your family or time lost working because you are incarcerated

    What is an arraignment?

    An arraignment is a court proceeding in which a criminal defendant is formally charged with a crime and asked to enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest. During an arraignment, the prosecutor will read the charges against the defendant, and the defendant will have the opportunity to enter a plea. If the defendant pleads not guilty – which is most often the case – the court will schedule a future hearing date. If the defendant pleads guilty or no contest, the court may proceed to sentencing. The purpose of an arraignment is to inform the defendant of the charges against them and to obtain a plea, so that the case can move forward.

    What is a pretrial hearing?

    In California, a pretrial hearing is a court proceeding that takes place before a trial. In many cases, there are several pretrial hearings before a case is resolved or scheduled for trial. It is an opportunity for the judge and the attorneys in the case to discuss any outstanding issues or concerns and to make any necessary decisions or arrangements to move the case forward. This might include setting a trial date, deciding on the admissibility of certain evidence, or resolving any other issues that need to be addressed before the trial can begin. As stated above, it is far more likely that a case gets resolved before a trial becomes necessary.

    What is a preliminary hearing?

    A preliminary hearing in California is a court proceeding that takes place after a person has been charged with a crime. The purpose of the hearing is for the judge to determine whether there is enough evidence to hold the defendant for trial. The prosecution presents evidence and witnesses, and the defense has the opportunity to cross-examine them and to present evidence of their own. The judge then decides whether there is sufficient evidence to hold the defendant for trial. If the judge determines that there is not enough evidence, the charges may be dismissed. However, if the judge finds that there is sufficient evidence, the case will proceed to trial.

    What is a trial? When does a case go to trial?

    In California, a trial is a judicial proceeding in which the facts of a case are presented and a verdict is reached. Trials are typically held in criminal cases, where the defendant is accused of committing a crime, and in civil cases, where two parties are in dispute over a particular issue. Trials are generally held in a court of law, and they are presided over by a judge or a jury.
    A case goes to trial in California when the parties involved are unable to reach a settlement through alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation or arbitration, or if the defendant has pleaded not guilty to the charges and is unwilling to enter into a plea bargain. In some cases, a trial may be scheduled in advance, while in others, it may be set after a pretrial hearing.

    What is a plea bargain agreement?

    A plea bargain agreement is a legal agreement between a defendant and the prosecution in which the defendant agrees to plead guilty to a crime in exchange for a lighter sentence or for the dismissal of some charges. In Los Angeles, plea bargain agreements are often used to avoid the time and expense of a trial, and they can be beneficial to both the defendant and the prosecution.
    For the defendant, a plea bargain agreement can result in a shorter sentence, reduced charges, or other favorable terms. For the prosecution, a plea bargain agreement can save time and resources that would otherwise be spent on a trial, and it can also result in a guilty plea, which is considered a successful outcome for the prosecution.
    Plea bargain agreements are not always available, and they are not appropriate in every case. In some cases, the prosecution may be unwilling to offer a plea bargain, or the defendant may believe that they can win their case at trial. In these situations, the case will go to trial and the judge or jury will decide the outcome.

    If I’m offered a plea bargain, should I take it?

    Whether or not to accept a plea bargain in California is a decision that should be made carefully, with the help of an experienced attorney. Your attorney should advise you that – in weighing whether to take a plea bargain – there are several factors to consider, including the strength of the prosecution’s case, the potential sentences you could face if you are convicted at trial, and any other consequences that may result from pleading guilty.
    In general, if the prosecution’s case against you is strong, and if you believe that you may be found guilty at trial, it may be in your best interest to accept a plea bargain. This can help you to avoid a longer sentence if you’re convicted at trial and to resolve the case more quickly. On the other hand, if you believe that you have a good chance of winning at trial, or if the potential sentences you face under a plea bargain are not significantly different from what you could receive at trial, you may want to reject the plea bargain and proceed to trial.
    Ultimately, the decision to accept or reject a plea bargain is a personal one, and it should be made with the guidance of a knowledgeable and experienced attorney who can help you to understand your rights and options.

    What is the difference between a “no contest” plea and a “guilty” plea?

    In a criminal case, a “no contest” plea, also known as a “nolo contendere” plea, is a plea in which the defendant does not admit to the crime, but does not contest the charges against them. This means that the defendant is not admitting guilt, but they are also not going to fight the charges in court.
    A “guilty” plea, on the other hand, is a plea in which the defendant admits to committing the crime. This means that the defendant is admitting that they are guilty of the charges against them, and they are not going to challenge the charges in court.
    A key difference is that a “no contest” plea cannot be used against a person in a civil lawsuit, whereas a “guilty” plea may be used against that person in a civil case. Whether to plead “no contest” or “guilty” is a decision that should be made with the help of an experienced attorney.

    What is the Three Strikes Law?

    The Three Strikes Law in California is a law that was enacted in 1994 to increase the sentences of defendants who have been convicted of multiple serious or violent crimes. The law is intended to provide harsher penalties for repeat offenders, and it requires that anyone who has been convicted of three or more serious or violent crimes to be sentenced to a minimum of 25 years to life in prison.
    Under the Three Strikes Law, certain crimes are considered “serious” or “violent” for the purposes of determining whether a defendant qualifies for a Three Strikes sentence. These crimes include murder, rape, and certain types of robbery and assault, among others. If a defendant has been convicted of three or more of these crimes, they will be subject to a Three Strikes sentence if they are convicted of another serious or violent crime.
    The Three Strikes Law has been the subject of controversy and debate since it was enacted. Some people believe that it is an effective way to keep repeat offenders off the streets, while others argue that it is overly harsh and can result in excessive sentences for some defendants. The law has been modified several times since it was first enacted, and it continues to be a topic of debate in California.

    Am I better off with a public defender or a private attorney?

    Whether you are better off with a public defender or a private attorney in Los Angeles depends on your individual situation and needs. Both types of attorneys can provide legal representation, but there are some key differences between the two.
    Public defenders are attorneys who are appointed by the court to represent defendants who cannot afford to hire a private attorney. They are typically provided at no cost to the defendant. Public defenders are often experienced and knowledgeable, and they are dedicated to protecting the rights of their clients. However, because they have a large number of cases and limited resources, they may not be able to provide the same level of individualized attention and support as a private attorney.
    Private attorneys, on the other hand, are attorneys who are hired by the defendant. They are paid by the defendant, and they are not appointed by the court. Private attorneys are typically able to provide more individualized attention and support to their clients, and they may have more time and resources to devote to a case. However, they can be more expensive than public defenders, and not everyone can afford to hire a private attorney.
    Ultimately, the decision of whether to use a public defender or a private attorney in Los Angeles is a personal one, and it should be based on your individual needs and circumstances. It is important to carefully consider your options and to discuss your case with both a public defender and a private attorney before making a decision.

    Is a private attorney worth the money?

    Whether or not a private attorney is worth the money is a decision that depends on your individual situation and needs. In general, private attorneys can provide a number of benefits that may make them worth the cost.
    Private attorneys are able to provide individualized attention and support to their clients. This can be particularly valuable if you are facing complex legal issues or if you are unsure of how to navigate the legal system. Private attorneys can also provide more time and resources to your case, which can be beneficial if you are facing serious charges or if your case is expected to go to trial.
    Additionally, private attorneys may have more experience and expertise than public defenders, which can be beneficial in some cases. Private attorneys are also able to provide more flexible payment options, which can be helpful if you are unable to pay the entire cost of legal representation upfront.
    It’s understandable why some may hesitate in hiring an attorney because of the perceived costs. But the costs of hiring a lawyer are always FAR lower than the costs of a conviction on your record, or lost with your family or time lost working because you are incarcerated.
    Having said that, private attorneys may be too expensive for some; not everyone can afford to hire one. In some cases, a public defender may be able to provide adequate legal representation at no cost to the defendant. Ultimately, the decision of whether to use a private attorney or a public defender should be based on your individual needs and circumstances.

    What should I look for when seeking a good attorney?

    When seeking a good criminal defense attorney, there are several things you should look for.

    First, you should consider an attorney who is experienced and knowledgeable in the field of criminal law.

    Second, you should look for an attorney who is familiar with the court system and the local judges and prosecutors. This can be helpful in negotiating plea bargains and other agreements, and it can also give your attorney an advantage in the courtroom.

    Third, you should consider an attorney who is dedicated and committed to your case. This means that your attorney should be responsive to your needs, and should be willing to answer your questions and address your concerns. Your attorney should also be prepared to aggressively defend your rights and to fight for the best possible outcome in your case.

    Fourth,, you should look for an attorney with whom you feel comfortable working. This is important because you will be sharing personal and sensitive information with your attorney, and you need to trust that they will handle your case with care and professionalism. Next, a good lawyer should always be one who communicates well with their client and responds to their questions within a reasonable period of time.

    Finally, you should consider a lawyer who is conscientious. While people sometimes stereotype attorneys as being dishonest, in reality, the most successful lawyers are often diligent, hardworking and honest.
    Overall, if you have hired a good criminal defense lawyer, you can expect them to provide you with high-quality legal representation and to work hard to defend your rights and interests.

    Are lawyers’ results guaranteed?

    Attorneys are forbidden by law from guaranteeing results. That’s because every case is different and outcomes can depend upon a wide range of often unpredictable factors. Thus, guaranteeing case results is a misleading and illegal manner for an attorney to obtain clients. Even with the best legal representation, there is no guarantee that the outcome of your case will be what you want it to be.
    However, a capable criminal lawyer can significantly increase your chances of a positive outcome to your case. A superior attorney can provide you with high-quality legal representation, and they can work hard to defend your rights and interests.
    Ultimately, the best thing you can do to improve your chances of a favorable outcome in your case is to work closely with your lawyer, to be honest and open with them about the facts of your case, and to follow their advice and guidance. With the help of a good lawyer, you can give yourself the best chance of achieving the best possible outcome in your case.

    What is a preliminary hearing in a criminal case?

    A preliminary hearing in a criminal case in California is a court proceeding that takes place after a person has been charged with a felony criminal offense. The purpose of the hearing is for the judge to determine whether there is enough evidence to hold the defendant for trial.
    A preliminary hearing is somewhat of a mini-trial. During the preliminary hearing, the prosecution presents evidence and witnesses, and the defense has the opportunity to cross-examine them and to present evidence of their own. The judge then reviews the evidence and decides whether there is sufficient evidence to hold the defendant for trial. If the judge determines that there is not enough evidence, the charges may be dismissed. However, if the judge finds that there is sufficient evidence – which is usually what happens – then the case will proceed to trial. The reason why preliminary hearings are usually decided in favor of the prosecution is that the standard of proof – a finding of probable cause – is much lower than the standard of proof at trial, which is beyond a reasonable doubt.
    Preliminary hearings are an important part of the criminal justice process, as they help to ensure that defendants are only tried for crimes for which there is sufficient evidence. They also provide an opportunity for the defense to challenge the prosecution’s case and to present evidence on the defendant’s behalf.

    Do all criminal cases go to trial?

    In fact, few criminal cases actually go to trial. Most cases resolve before a trial, either by a plea deal or, in the alternative, a dismissal of the case. A plea bargain agreement with the prosecution is one in which the defendant agrees to plead guilty in return for the leniency of a lesser punishment.
    Trials are generally reserved for cases in which the parties are unable to reach a plea bargain – the defendant is not willing to plea guilty and the prosecution is unwilling to dismiss the case. Ultimately, whether a criminal case goes to trial in California depends on the specific circumstances of the case and the decisions made by the parties involved.

    If the victim in the case does not want to press charges, will the case against me be dismissed?

    If the victim in the case does not want to press charges, it is possible that the case against you will be dismissed. However, whether the case is dismissed or not will depend on the specific circumstances of the case and the decisions made by the prosecution and the court.
    In some cases, even if the victim does not want to press charges, the prosecution may still choose to pursue the case, especially if they have adequate evidence that is independent of the victim’s cooperation. This is because in the criminal justice system, the state is the one bringing the charges, not the victim. The victim’s wishes may be taken into consideration, but the decision of whether to pursue the case is ultimately up to the prosecution.
    But even if a victim does not want to continue with a case, the prosecution may still subpoena him or her to testify in court.
    Overall, whether the case against you will be dismissed if the victim does not want to press charges will depend on the specific circumstances of the case and the decisions made by the prosecution and the court. It is important to discuss your case with an experienced attorney who can provide guidance and advice.

    What is the difference between facing criminal charges in state court and federal court?

    The main difference between facing criminal charges in state court and federal court is the type of crimes that are prosecuted in each type of court. State courts have jurisdiction over matters that violate state law, in general, these are crimes committed within the state, such as theft, assault, and drug offenses. On the other hand, federal courts have jurisdiction over crimes that violate federal law, such as counterfeiting and tax fraud, and crimes that involve multiple states or that are committed on federal property.
    Another key difference between state and federal court is the potential punishment that can be imposed. In general, federal sentences tend to be harsher than state sentences for similar crimes. This is because federal sentencing guidelines are generally stricter than state sentencing guidelines, and because federal judges have more discretion in imposing sentences.
    Additionally, there are some procedural differences between state and federal court. For example, federal court rules and procedures may be different from those in state court, and federal cases may take longer to resolve than state cases.
    Overall, facing criminal charges in state court and federal court can be different in terms of the type of crimes that are prosecuted, the potential sentences that can be imposed, and the procedural differences between the two types of court. It is important to consult with an experienced attorney if you are facing criminal charges in either state or federal court.

    Can I change criminal defense lawyers if I am unhappy with the one representing me?

    Absolutely; you can change criminal defense lawyers if you are unhappy with the one representing you. However, changing lawyers is a very important decision and it should be made only after careful consideration.
    If you are unhappy with your current lawyer, the first step is to try to address your concerns with them directly. You should discuss your issues with your lawyer and give them the opportunity to address your concerns and to make any changes that you think are necessary. In many cases, this can be enough to resolve the problem and to improve your relationship with your lawyer.
    If you are unable to resolve your issues with your current, private lawyer, you may want to consider changing lawyers. Once you find a new lawyer, your new and previous lawyer may communicate with one another to determine how best to proceed in order to make the substitution. Once the proper procedure is undertaken and motion made to the court, the judge will then review the request and decide whether to grant your motion. In most instances, the judge will grant a motion that a new attorney be substituted in.
    It is important to note that changing lawyers can be costly and time-consuming, and it can, potentially, also have a negative impact on your case. Therefore, you should carefully consider your options before making a decision to change lawyers. It is also a good idea to consult with an experienced attorney who can provide guidance and advice.

    BAIL

    What is bail?

    Bail in California is money or property that is posted as a guarantee that the defendant will appear in court when required. When a person is arrested and charged with a crime, they have the option of posting bail, which allows them to be released from custody until their court date.
    In California, bail is typically set by a judge during the defendant’s initial court appearance, known as an arraignment. The judge will consider factors such as the severity of the crime, the defendant’s criminal history, and the defendant’s ties to the community in determining the amount of bail. The defendant can then post bail by paying the required amount to the court, or by using a bail bond company, which will post the bail on their behalf.
    Once bail has been posted, the defendant is released from custody and is free to go until their court date. If the defendant appears in court as required, their bail is returned to them or to the person who posted it on their behalf. However, if the defendant fails to appear in court, their bail may be forfeited, and a warrant may be issued for their arrest.
    Overall, bail in California is a way for a defendant to be released from custody before their court date, with the understanding that they will return to court when required.

    How do I pay for bail?

    To pay for bail in California, you will need to pay the full amount of the bail to the court. You can also use a bail bond company, which will post the bail on your behalf in exchange for a fee.
    To pay the full amount of bail to the court, you will need to go to the courthouse where your case is being heard and bring the required amount of money with you. You will need to present the money to the court clerk, who will accept it and issue a receipt. You should keep this receipt, as it will be needed to get your money back when the case is resolved.
    If you are unable to pay the full amount of bail, you may be able to use a bail bond company. Bail bond companies are private companies that provide a way for defendants to pay a fraction of the full bail amount in order to be released from custody. The bail bond company will post the full amount of bail on your behalf in exchange for a fee, which is typically a percentage of the full bail amount.
    It is important to carefully consider your options and to discuss your situation with an experienced attorney before making a decision.

    What should I look for when choosing a good bail company?

    When choosing a good bail company in Los Angeles, there are several things you should consider. First, you should look for a bail company that is licensed and insured. This will ensure that the company is operating legally and that you are protected in case of any problems or issues.
    Second, you should look for a bail company that is experienced and knowledgeable. A bail company that has been in business for a long time and that has a good reputation is likely to be more reliable and trustworthy than a newer or less established company.
    Third, you should look for a bail company that is transparent and upfront about its fees and services. A good bail company will be clear and straightforward about the fees and charges that you will be responsible for, and they will be willing to answer any questions you have about their services.
    Fourth, you should consider a bail company that is responsive and reliable. A good bail company will be available to help you 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and they will be able to get the person out of jail quickly and efficiently.
    Finally, you should look for a bail company that offers competitive financing of the bail amount.
    Overall, when choosing a good bail company in Los Angeles, you should look for a company that is licensed and insured, experienced and knowledgeable, transparent and upfront, and responsive and reliable.

    Can I get my bail reduced?

    Yes, depending on the circumstances, you may be able to get your bail reduced in California. If you believe that the amount of your bail is too high, you can ask the court to reduce it. To do this, you will need to file a motion with the court requesting a bail reduction.
    When deciding whether to reduce your bail, the court will consider several factors. These include the county’s bail schedule, the severity of the crime you are charged with, your criminal history, and your ties to the community. The court will also consider whether you are a flight risk or a danger to the community.
    If the court decides to reduce your bail, it will set a new amount for you to pay. You will then be able to pay the reduced amount to the court, or you can use a bail bond company to post bail on your behalf.
    Overall, it is possible to get your bail reduced in California, but it will depend on the specific circumstances of your case and the decision of the court. It is a good idea to discuss your situation with an experienced attorney who can provide guidance and advice.

    What happens to me if I don’t post bail?

    If you do not post bail in California, you will remain in custody until your court date. If the court finds you guilty, you will be sentenced and may be required to serve your sentence in jail or prison. If the court finds you not guilty, you will be released from custody.
    If you are unable to post bail, you may be able to ask the court to reduce the amount of bail or to release you on your own recognizance. This means that the court will release you from custody without requiring you to pay bail, on the condition that you agree to appear in court when required.
    If you are unable to post bail and the court is not willing to release you on your own recognizance, you will remain in custody until your court date. This can be a difficult and stressful experience, and it is important to discuss your options with an experienced attorney who can provide guidance and advice.

    Once I post bail, how long before I’m released?

    Once you post bail in California, you will typically be released from custody within a few hours. However, the exact amount of time it will take to be released will depend on several factors, such as the jail or detention facility where you are being held and the availability of staff to process your release.
    After you have posted bail, you will need to wait for the court to process your payment and issue a release order. This can take some time, depending on the court’s workload and the procedures in place for processing bail payments.
    Once the court has issued a release order, you will need to wait for the jail or detention facility to process your release. This will typically involve paperwork and other administrative tasks, such as collecting any personal belongings you had with you when you were arrested.
    Overall, it is difficult to predict exactly how long it will take to be released from custody after posting bail in California. It is important to be patient and to follow any instructions provided by the court and the jail or detention facility. If you have any questions or concerns, you should contact an experienced attorney who can provide guidance and advice.

    Can I travel while I’m out on bail?

    In general, you are allowed to travel while you are out on bail in California. However, there may be certain restrictions or conditions placed on your travel, depending on the specific circumstances of your case.
    For example, the court may impose travel restrictions as a condition of your bail. These restrictions may include a requirement that you remain within a certain geographic area, such as your county of residence, or a requirement that you notify the court or your probation officer before traveling.
    Additionally, the court may require you to surrender your passport or any other travel documents as a condition of your bail. This is intended to prevent you from leaving the country and potentially fleeing from prosecution.
    It is important to carefully review any conditions or restrictions placed on your bail, and to comply with them in order to avoid any problems or complications. If you have any questions or concerns about your ability to travel while out on bail, you should contact an experienced attorney who can provide guidance and advice.

    What happens to my bail when the case ends?

    When a case ends in California, the bail is typically returned to the person who posted it, unless the defendant failed to appear in court as required. If the defendant appeared in court as required and the case was resolved, the court will return the bail to the person who posted it, or to the defendant if they paid the bail themselves.
    However, if the defendant failed to appear in court, the bail will be forfeited. This means that the court will keep the money that was posted as bail, and a warrant may be issued for the defendant’s arrest.
    In some cases, the court may order that the bail be used to pay any fines, fees, or restitution that the defendant is ordered to pay as part of their sentence. If this happens, the bail will not be returned to the person who posted it, but will instead be used to pay the court-ordered obligations.
    If you have any questions or concerns about the disposition of your bail, you should contact the Tabibnia Law Firm for guidance and advice.

    If I bail out a friend or loved one, how can I protect myself in case he or she doesn’t show up to court?

    If you bail out a friend or loved one, there is always a risk that they may fail to appear in court as required. If this happens, you may be responsible for paying the full amount of the bail, and you may face other consequences as well.
    To protect yourself in case the person you bailed out does not show up to court, you can use a bail bond company instead of paying the full amount of bail to the court. A bail bond company will post the bail on your behalf in exchange for a fee, and they will assume responsibility for ensuring that the person appears in court.
    If the person you bailed out fails to appear in court, the bail bond company will be responsible for paying the full amount of bail to the court. This will protect you from having to pay the full amount of bail out of your own pocket.
    Additionally, you can ask the court to impose certain conditions or restrictions on the person you bailed out, such as requiring them to check in with a probation officer or prohibiting them from leaving the state. This can help to ensure that they appear in court as required and can help to protect you from any potential liabilities.
    Overall, there are steps you can take to protect yourself in case the person you bailed out does not show up to court. Using a bail bond company and asking the court to impose conditions or restrictions on the person can help to reduce the risks and protect you from potential liabilities.

    Can I get my bail bond money back?

    Yes, you can get your bail bond money back in most cases. When you use a bail bond company, you will typically be required to pay a fee, which is a percentage of the full bail amount. This fee is non-refundable, and it is the payment that the bail bond company receives in exchange for posting bail on your behalf.
    However, if the person you bailed out appears in court as required, the court will release the bail and it will be returned to the bail bond company. The bail bond company will then return the portion of the bail that you paid, minus the non-refundable fee.
    For example, if the bail amount is $10,000 and the bail bond company charges a 10% fee, you will pay a fee of $1,000 to the bail bond company. If the person you bailed out appears in court as required, the bail bond company will receive back the full $10,000 from the court. You will not get back your $1,000, however, because that was the premium to get yourself or your loved one released from jail.
    Overall, you can get your bail bond money back in most cases if the person you bailed out appears in court as required. The amount that you will receive back will depend on the specific terms of your agreement with the bail bond company, and you should discuss this with them directly.

    MISCELLANEOUS QUESTIONS

    What is an expungement?

    A California criminal expungement is a process that petitions the Court to review a conviction. If successful, the expungement allows a defendant to withdraw their plea or finding of guilt. A “Not Guilty” plea is then entered by the Court, and the case is ordered dismissed, and the conviction set aside. If said petition for expungement is granted, you may honestly answer “No” to questions pertaining to whether you were convicted in that case.
    In particular, if you successfully obtain an expungement, on your official criminal history kept in Sacramento, next to the case number the words “set aside and dismissed” will be shown, instead of “convicted”. Note that an expungement does NOT mean that the conviction is sealed, wiped away or destroyed. The arrest is still there, charges are still there, but technically the conviction is delineated as “set aside and dismissed.” Also, in order to be eligible for expungement, a person must typically have completed all of their sentences, including any probation or parole periods, and must not have any pending criminal charges.
    An expungement can be a useful tool for people who have been arrested or convicted of a crime and who are trying to move on with their lives. It can help to remove the stigma of a criminal record and can make it easier for a person to find employment, housing, and other opportunities.
    Moreover, an expungement is also useful for the purposes of employment. It helps with state licenses (such as nursing licenses, etc) and for background checks done by private employers. Because expungements are rooted in California state law, they do not apply to or help with federal convictions or matters pertaining to federal law, such as immigration issues.
    Additionally,, an expungement is not available for all types of cases. For instance, more severe crimes, such as those related to child pornography and certain sexual offenses, may not be expunged.

    How do you expunge a record?

    To expunge a record, you must first determine if you are eligible for expungement. As stated above, only certain types of cases are eligible for expungement. You must typically have completed all of your sentences, including any probation or parole periods, and must not have any pending criminal charges.
    If you are eligible for expungement, a petition needs to be filed on your behalf with the court that handled your case.
    Once the petition has been filed,, the court will review it to determine if you are eligible for expungement. If the court approves your petition, it will issue an order directing the relevant agencies to amend and change your criminal records.
    While you are not required to have an attorney pursue your expungement petition, it is highly advisable for you to hire an attorney to undertake the process. It’s understandable that ome may hesitate in hiring a lawyer because of the perceived costs. But, in the long run, the value you receive in having the work done properly FAR exceeds the fees associated with hiring a lawyer.

    What does it mean to vacate a conviction?

    To vacate a conviction means to have a criminal conviction erased or nullified. If a conviction is vacated, it is as if the conviction never happened and the person is no longer considered to be convicted of the crime.
    Vacating a conviction is very different from expunging a record. Vacating a conviction applies to the actual conviction itself, and can have a wider range of effects and consequences. Vacating a conviction takes the case back to the point of the beginning (the arraignment), and the case may restart from there.

    How do you vacate a conviction?

    In order to vacate a conviction, a petition or motion must be filed with the court that handled the case. The person must provide a strong legal argument supporting the request to vacate the conviction.
    Once the petition is filed and heard, the court will review it to determine if the person is eligible for relief sought. If the court grants the petition, it will issue an order vacating the conviction, and the person will no longer be considered to be convicted of the crime.
    If you have any questions or concerns about vacating a conviction, you should contact an experienced attorney at the Tabibnia Law Firm who can provide guidance and advice.

    What does it mean to seal an arrest record?

    To seal an arrest record means to make it inaccessible to the public. If an arrest record is sealed, it will no longer appear on most criminal background checks. If you were arrested for a crime but never convicted, California law permits you to get your arrest records sealed and destroyed as a matter of right.  

    The process to seal a record involves three steps:

    1. A petition must be filed on your behalf in the city or county where the arrest took place.
    2. The arrest petition must be served on the local prosecuting agency and the police agency that made the arrest.
    3. Finally, a hearing takes place in a local court where a judge determines whether to grant or deny the petition to seal.

    If you have any questions or concerns about sealing an arrest record, you should contact an experienced attorney who can provide guidance and advice.

    What should I do if there’s a warrant for my arrest?

    If you have learned that there is a warrant for your arrest, it is important to take immediate action. A warrant is a legal document issued by a court that orders law enforcement to arrest you and bring you before the court. If you are aware of a warrant for your arrest, you should contact an experienced attorney who can provide guidance and advice on how to proceed.
    One option is to turn yourself in to law enforcement and present yourself to the court. This can help to demonstrate that you are taking the situation seriously and that you are willing to cooperate with the legal process. If you choose this step, however, it is important to remember that you should NEVER discuss the facts of the case with law enforcement. Your attorney can help you to prepare for your court appearance and can represent you in court.
    Another option is to have your attorney contact the court and attempt to have the warrant recalled or quashed. This may be possible if there are errors or discrepancies in the warrant, or if there are other mitigating circumstances that would allow the warrant to be recalled or quashed.
    Regardless of which option you choose, it is important to take action as soon as possible. Ignoring a warrant for your arrest can lead to serious consequences, including arrest, detention, and potential fines or penalties. If you have any questions or concerns about a warrant for your arrest, you should contact an experienced attorney who can provide guidance and advice.

    Does an arrest affect my immigration status?

    An arrest can potentially affect your immigration status, depending on the circumstances of the arrest and the specific immigration laws that apply to your situation.
    In general, an arrest for a criminal offense can potentially make you deportable, which means that you may be subject to removal from the United States. This is true even if the charges against you are later dropped or dismissed, or if you are found not guilty in court.
    However, whether an arrest is deportable depends on a variety of factors, not least, the severity of the offense. For example, some minor offenses, such as traffic violations, are generally not considered deportable offenses. Additionally, some offenses may be deportable if they are considered to be crimes of moral turpitude..
    It is important to note that an arrest is not the same as a conviction, and an arrest alone may not necessarily affect your immigration status. However, if you are arrested and charged with a crime, it is important to contact an experienced immigration attorney who can provide guidance and advice on how the arrest may affect your immigration status.
    Overall, an arrest can potentially affect your immigration status, depending on the circumstances of the arrest and the specific immigration laws that apply to your situation. If you are arrested and are concerned about how it may affect your immigration status, you should contact an experienced immigration attorney who can provide guidance and advice.