If you are in the unfortunate position of needing a criminal defense lawyer Los Angeles has many to choose from. Regardless of who you choose to help you, it benefits you to have as thorough a grasp as possible of the procedure, and what to expect.
The initial consultation with a criminal defense lawyer is typically free, while they determine whether to take your case and how best to handle it. It’s important to understand that legal representation is highly recommended, regardless of the type and severity of crime you have been charged with, although no attorney is obligated to take your case. It’s also important to understand at the outset what their fees might be, and to make sure you can afford to use their services; you may be expected to pay a retainer fee at this time.
Once an attorney has decided to accept your case, one of the first steps they will take is to determine how to come up with the best strategy for your defense. Providing full and accurate information and answering any questions honestly is important at this early stage, to ensure you have the best chance of success. Of course, the exact nature of the crime will make a difference to your possible defense, as well as whether you have been accused of a crime or a misdemeanor. A misdemeanor includes resisting arrest, vandalism or driving while intoxicated, while more serious crimes include robbery and murder.
Assuming that you have found a criminal defense lawyer and they are prepared to take your case, they can also help you with the bail process. Being able to post bail depends on several factors, including how serious a crime you have been charged with, your past criminal record, and your overall good character. In general, bail is more likely to be granted if the crime isn’t too serious and it’s your first offense, and it means that you won’t have to go to jail – at least not yet.
In every felony case, the accused has the right to have what is known as a preliminary hearing, at which it is decided whether the case will go to trial or not. This hearing has to take place within a certain amount of time after being arrested, and you do have the right to waive the hearing; again, it’s an area where an experienced criminal defense attorney can help. The next step is a pre-trial conference at which you can talk about possible resolutions to avoid bringing the case to trial. You may be able to bargain for a lesser sentence and therefore avoid the need to go to trial.
During this time, your defense lawyer is busy trying to find the best possible solution for the case and do all possible to avoid a trial. He or she will gather together as much information as possible, talk to witnesses and basically try to get together as strong a case as possible. Depending on the circumstances and the nature of the crime or misdemeanor, video, audio or photographic evidence may be researched and used either against you or in your defense. It’s important to maintain regular contact with your attorney throughout the process, and remember that they are doing their best to help you.
Of course, your goal is to avoid a trial if possible, but if a trial does take place, it can be months after the initial charges were made, especially for less serious crimes. Sentencing may take place at the time, or it may be scheduled at some point in the future. Your defense lawyer is still working tirelessly to prepare for the trial and doing their best to ensure a favorable outcome.
Although it’s easy to find a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles, it’s worth taking time and doing some research to find the ideal person. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to narrow down your choices, and it’s also recommended to work with someone with the right combination of relevant experience and qualifications. Because legal requirements and procedures vary from state to state, you should work with a lawyer who knows the system in California. Keep in mind you will be working closely with your lawyer for weeks or perhaps longer; the process can take a lot longer from start to finish than most people imagine.