A criminal conviction could completely turn your world upside-down. Some criminal cases in California entail life-long imprisonment, a maximum of $10,000 penalty fines, and other case-specific restrictions. Luckily, you can do something to prevent this from happening. Our highly experienced Los Angeles criminal lawyer has a solid track record of helping defendants get the justice they deserve. Schedule your initial consultation with us and get practical legal advice.
If you're dealing with a criminal case, you might feel like everything around you is falling apart. The longer you try to understand what's going on in your case, the more confused you get; that's okay.
Criminal defense is a highly technical and intricate aspect of the law. If you don't know anything about criminal law, everything might sound like a riddle to your ear, and trying to handle your criminal case by yourself might cause more damage than good.
Because of this, it's best to leave your criminal defense cases to the capable hands of our knowledgeable and reliable criminal defense attorney at Shah Criminal Lawyers.
With over decades of experience in criminal defense, our legal team has handled everything, from theft crimes to drug crimes and even sex crimes. Whatever your case may be, you are sure to find the best resolution with our help. Start protecting your freedom today and schedule a consultation with our legal team.
One of the first things you need to understand when facing criminal cases is how the criminal justice system works. Generally, all criminal cases in California are divided into three categories, depending on the severity of the crime committed. This includes the following:
An infraction is the least serious type of crime you can commit in California. These are typically non-dangerous offenses that only result in fines, such as minor traffic violations. Because an infraction is not considered a crime, you cannot be sentenced to jail time if convicted. The maximum penalty for a California infraction is a $250 penalty fine.
Some widely known examples of an infraction in California are illegal U-turns, driving without a valid license, disobeying a stop sign, and rolling through a stop sign.
Just a step above infractions and below felonies sits misdemeanors. A misdemeanor offense is considered a less serious crime and is punishable by up to one year in county jail and a maximum of $1,000 in penalty fines. In California, misdemeanors are further classified into two, namely standard misdemeanors and aggravated misdemeanors.
A standard misdemeanor is a less severe offense that typically only results in 6 months of jail time in Los Angeles county jail and a thousand-dollar penalty fine. In contrast, an aggravated misdemeanor means you caused an injury which could result in a year of jail sentence and a $1,000 penalty fine.
Some well-known types of California misdemeanors are first to third driving under the influence (DUI), petty theft, public intoxication, and battery.
Felony offenses sit at the top of the criminal offense tier as the most serious type of crime you can commit in California. A felony is punishable by 16 months, 2 or 3 years, or even life-long imprisonment in state prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.
Committing a felony offense also has other long-term effects on your life, such as being barred from owning a firearm, losing your voting rights, and being ineligible for certain types of employment.
Some examples of felony offenses in California are arson, burglary, grand theft auto, rape, sexual assault involving a minor, and murder.
Wobbler offenses are indeterminable, meaning they can either be charged as a felony offense or a misdemeanor, depending on the prosecutor's discretion and the severity of the crime. The courts will also consider your criminal record when deciding how to charge you for a wobbler offense.
Some examples of wobbler offenses in California are first-degree burglary, child abuse, most white-collar crimes, and most types of forgery.
Following California Penal Code 667, the state has a "three strikes" law that imposes harsher punishments for offenders with prior convictions, mainly if those convictions are considered serious or violent felonies.
A "strike" is also given for nonviolent felonies, such as residential burglary, drug possession for sale, and grand theft. Under this law, a defendant convicted of a felony with two previous serious strikes or violent felony convictions will be given a life sentence in state prison.
The consequences of a third strike are severe, but you can still have a fighting chance if you hire an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer. Your attorney can request to dismiss your previous strikes or reduce your current conviction to a misdemeanor.
Part of knowing the fundamentals of California's criminal justice system is to understand how criminal cases are processed in the state. In the following sections, you'll be given a brief overview of the different stages of a criminal case in California.
The first step in criminal offenses is arrest. During your criminal arrest, law enforcement officers will place you under custody and inform you of the criminal charges against you.
The enforcers will take you to the police station for booking, where they will take your biographical information, fingerprints, and mugshot.
After being booked, you will either be released on your own recognizance or have to post bail. Bail is a set amount of money you must pay to be removed from custody while your criminal case is ongoing. The amount of your bail will depend on the severity of your offense and your criminal history.
After your arrest, the district attorney's office will determine whether or not to file criminal charges against you. If criminal charges are filed, your case will proceed to the arraignment stage.
The arraignment is the phase when you will appear in court and formally read the criminal charges against you. At this point, you will also enter a guilty or not guilty plea. If you plead guilty, your case will move on to sentencing. However, if you plead not guilty, your case will proceed to the pre-trial phase.
This is also the part when you can hire a Los Angeles criminal attorney to represent you. Your lawyer can help negotiate with the district attorney to reduce or dismiss your charges.
Moreover, they can also help prepare you before the arraignment takes place and instruct you on what you should say and do during the proceedings.
If the arraignment results in a not-guilty plea, your case will proceed to the pre-trial conference stage. At this point, your criminal attorney and the prosecutor assigned to your case will have a meeting to negotiate or explore your chances of entering a plea bargain.
Plea bargaining is an agreement between you and the prosecutor where you agree to plead guilty to receive lesser charges in exchange for a lighter sentence. Your case will go to trial if no plea bargain is reached during the pre-trial conference.
A preliminary hearing happens if you're involved in a felony crime. During this phase, the prosecution will present evidence to a judge to determine whether or not there is reasonable cause that a crime transpired and that you're the one who committed it.
The preliminary hearing is necessary because this is the first time your criminal attorney can cross-examine witnesses and challenge the evidence against you. After the hearing, the judge will decide if your case should proceed to trial.
The last phase of the criminal process is the trial. Both sides will present their evidence and witnesses to the jury during the trial. After which, the jury will deliberate and come up with a guilty or not guilty verdict.
If you're found guilty, the sentencing phase will commence. The judge will hear arguments and dialogues from both sides before deciding on an appropriate sentence, including jail time, probation, penalty fines, and other case-specific punishments.
Shah Criminal Lawyers is a full-service criminal defense law firm based in Los Angeles, CA. Our team of highly experienced and reliable Los Angeles criminal lawyers handles all types of criminal cases, including the following:
DUI, or drinking under the influence, is a grave criminal offense in Los Angeles. The California Vehicle Code 23152 defines DUI as operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol level (BAC) of 0.08% or greater.
If caught driving while intoxicated or drugged, you will be arrested, and your driver's license will be suspended. You will also face severe penalties if convicted, such as jail time, probation, mandatory DUI classes, license suspension or revocation, and installation of an ignition interlock device.
Gun crimes are hot-button issues in Los Angeles. California established various legal statutes to regulate firearms and mitigate weapon violations. If you're caught carrying a concealed weapon, or even an unloaded weapon without a permit, or using a gun to commit a crime, you will be charged with a weapons violation.
The penalties for a conviction depend on the type of crime committed and the severity of the offense but may include jail time and heavy fines.
Burglary is a criminal offense referring to trespassing on a property to commit a theft or any felony inside. In Los Angeles, burglary is classified into two types: first-degree burglary and second-degree burglary.
First-degree burglary is breaking and entering an inhabited dwelling or residential property. This offense is considered a serious felony, punishable by up to six years in state prison and a penalty fine of $10,000.
Second-degree burglary is breaking and entering a commercial property or an empty dwelling. This offense is considered a wobbler offense, meaning the court can charge you with misdemeanor burglary or a felony.
As a misdemeanor, you could face up to one year in county jail and a fine of up to $1,000. As a felony, you could face 16 months, two years, or three years in county jail and a maximum fine of $10,000.
Domestic violence refers to inflicting harm or causing fear of bodily injury to a family member, spouse, cohabitant, or dating partner. This crime is outlined in California Penal Code 273.5.
Domestic violence is a severe offense in Los Angeles and may be charged as misdemeanor or felony charges, depending on the severity of the abuse. A domestic violence conviction will likely result in jail time, probation, mandatory counseling, and restraining orders.
Expungement of record refers to the removal of criminal activity in your record. Once your criminal record is expunged, potential employers and landlords will not be able to see your criminal history.
If you have been arrested but not convicted of a crime or completed your sentence and remained crime-free for a certain period, you may qualify for an expungement.
Getting an expungement can be complicated and time-consuming, so it is advisable to hire a criminal defense lawyer to assist you. At Shah Criminal Lawyers, we can help you get the clean slate you deserve to get back up with your life.
Experienced representation matters, especially in criminal defense cases. You can't afford to have an inexperienced lawyer handling your case.
At Shah Criminal Lawyers, we have a team of highly experienced criminal defense lawyers who are well-versed in California law and know how to navigate the complex legal system.
Our criminal defense attorneys have a near-perfect success rate in court and have helped hundreds of clients get the best possible outcome for their cases. We know what it takes to win and will fight tirelessly to give you the best possible results.
When you partner with our criminal defense team, you can expect the highest quality legal representation and personalized attention to your case. We will work closely with you to understand the facts of your case and build a strong defense strategy.
Nobody should have to go through a criminal case alone. At Shah Criminal Lawyers, we will be with you every step of the way, providing the experienced legal guidance and support you need to get through this difficult time.
Contact our Los Angeles criminal attorneys today for a free consultation if you or a loved one has been accused of a crime. We will review your case and help you understand your legal options. Call us at (213) 385-1555 or contact us online to get started.