Criminal Defense in Southern California - Goldstein Law Offices Criminal Defense Lawyers Goldstein Law Firm Overview Attorney Profiles Criminal Defense Case Results Contact the Goldstein Law Offices
Click Here to read more of our Case Results
Practice Areas for Criminal Defense in Southern California
You are in:
Practice Areas
Introduction
Criminal Process
Drug Offenses
Drug Possession
Drug Possession For Sale
Domestic Violence
Medical Marijuana
Violent Crimes
Theft Crimes
Sex Crimes
DUI Defense
Federal Crimes
Criminal Appeals
Expungements
Goldstein Firm Resources
You are in:
Firm Resources
Introduction
Court Locations
San Fernando Valley Criminal Attorneys
Van Nuys Criminal Defense Attorneys
Hollywood Criminal Defense Attorneys
Beverly Hills Criminal Defense Attorneys
Burbank Criminal Defense Attorneys
Glendale Criminal Defense Attorneys
Sylmar Juvenile Criminal Defense
Client Testimonials
Addiction & Rehab
Prosecutorial Agencies
Inmate Information
Rehab Resources
Additional Resources
In The Media
Free Case Evaluation
Frequently Asked Questions

California Criminal Process


Do you understand your Miranda Rights? The United States Supreme Court has ruled: "The prosecution ... does not need to show that a waiver of Miranda rights was express. An implicit waiver of the right to remain silent is sufficient to admit a suspects statement into evidence. ... Where the prosecution shows that a Miranda warning was given and that it was understood by the accused, an accused's uncoerced statement establishes an implied waiver of the right to remain silent. ... Thus, after giving a Miranda warning, police may interrogate a suspect who has neither invoked nor waived his or her Miranda rights."


Arrest & Bail

The criminal process begins with the arrest. After a person has been arrested, he or she will typically be detained at a local or community police station and held until the time of arraignment and formal charges are filed. A bail amount is then set based on the most serious crime he or she is booked on. The defendant will then appear before a magistrate or judge within 72 hours of the arrest. California has a bail schedule which suggests the appropriate bail amount depending on the nature of the crime. In rare cases such as capital murder, the judge may choose not to set bail. The judge may refuse to set bail where a defendant has committed a probation violation. It is important to immediately retain a skilled criminal defense attorney who will be prepared to appear at the time of the arraignment and address the bail issue. Often, a skilled defense attorney will be able to secure a substantial reduction in the bail amount which may be the difference between freedom or detention pending the outcome of the criminal proceedings.

Arraignment

At the arraignment, the defendant will appear before the judge, where the judge will read the charges being brought against the defendant. After listening to a description of the charges, the defendant will then enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest. If the defendant pleads not guilty, which is usually the case, the judge will set a date for a preliminary hearing or probable cause hearing. Then, depending on whether the defendant is facing felony or misdemeanor charges, his or her case will move to either a pre-trial conference or a preliminary hearing. During the arraignment, the defense can also negotiate with the judge to have bail lowered or dropped completely. This is common in cases involving first-time arrests.

Pre-Trial Conference

This meeting occurs between the defense and prosecution when the case involves misdemeanor charges. At this time, the defense can negotiate with the prosecution for a reduction or dismissal of the charges, or the defense can work with the prosecution to reach a plea bargain. Generally in a plea bargain, the defendant agrees to plead guilty in exchange for reduced penalties or sentencing. If an agreement of some sort can be reached during the pre-trial conference, then the case will not move to court, but rather be resolved during this part of the criminal process.

Preliminary Hearing

Preliminary hearings are held for cases involving felony crimes, and are slightly different than pre-trial conferences. At this hearing, the judge will review all evidence and hear witness testimony to determine whether or not sufficient evidence exists to send the case to trial.

A person charged with a felony has a right to a preliminary hearing within ten days of an arraignment. A preliminary hearing is an evidentiary hearing where witnesses testify and are subject to cross-examination by your defense attorney. At the conclusion of this hearing, a judge or magistrate decides whether sufficient cause exists to make the defendant stand trial. It is important to understand that the standard of proof at a preliminary hearing is not guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Rather, the standard of proof at a preliminary hearing is whether a reasonable suspicion exists or whether it is “more likely than not”.

The preliminary hearing stage of a criminal prosecution is critical and it is imperative that you retain an experienced attorney that will aggressively cross-examine all witnesses. Effective cross-examination at this hearing can highlight the weaknesses in the case and also provide a preview as to how the government may proceed at trial.

Additionally, an effective defense attorney may convince a judge to reduce a felony to a misdemeanor at the conclusion of a preliminary hearing. Where this occurs, the government is precluded from seeking a felony conviction at trial on that particular charge.

Trial, Verdict & Sentencing

If the judge believes there is enough evidence to try a case, or if a plea bargain has not been reached, the case will move to trial, where both the prosecution and defense will have the opportunity to present and argue their cases before a judge and jury. At the end of the trial, the jury will convene and make a determination, based on the evidence and testimony presented during the trial, as to whether or not the defendant is innocent or guilty. If the jury finds the defendant not guilty, the trial ends there and the defendant is free to move on with his or her life. If the jury finds the defendant guilty, the judge will schedule a sentencing hearing, where he or she will read the defendant their punishment for committing the crime.

Contact a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you are interested in scheduling a free consultation to discuss your criminal charges, please contact a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney at Goldstein Law Offices today.


lexis nexis

national association of criminal defense lawyers

los angeles county bar association

Attorney Web Design
The information on this California Defense Attorneys & Lawyers / Law Firm website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this or associated pages, documents, comments, answers, emails, or other communications should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information on this website is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing of this information does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

Address: 1645 Vine Street #809 Los Angeles, California 90028 Phone: (323) 461-2000
Address: 15260 Ventura Blvd #1810 Sherman Oaks, California 91403 Phone: (818) 905-7272