Being arrested and charged with a crime is a traumatic experience. You are handcuffed and transported to a police station. You are deprived of your freedom until you make bond. It can be overwhelming, especially if you or a loved one is a first-time offender. Questions begin flooding your mind about the charges, the potential penalties, and how your life could be changed forever depending on the outcome.
If you or a family member is in this situation, the most important thing you can do is speak to an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney about your case. Below are four questions you should ask any criminal defense lawyer you meet with during a consultation.
What Evidence is the District Attorney’s Office Using to Proceed with these Charges?
The State is required to hand over any evidence or testimony it plans to use against you at trial to your Los Angeles criminal defense attorney. Your attorney needs to thoroughly examine this evidence in order to properly assess the legal options and defense strategies available to you. For example, if you were arrested for a DUI and the only evidence is a police report with no Breathalyzer results, there are a larger number of defenses available compared to someone who blew a 0.08 or above.
What will Happen if I am Convicted of these Charges?
Understanding the minimum and maximum penalties for a conviction is important. It gives you a better idea of the risk you may be taking if you decide you want to go to trial rather than work out a plea agreement. Though, you also need to know the ancillary penalties of a conviction. For example, a criminal conviction may result in you losing your job, losing a professional license, and/or losing the right to vote.
What Defense Strategies do You Recommend?
A quality criminal defense lawyer studies criminal law and successful defense strategies. You may want your lawyer to simply negotiate with the district attorney and reach a plea agreement, but you should still ask about defense strategies so you are aware of all your options before making a decision.
What Can I Do to Help You with My Case?
Your assistance and collaboration is vital to achieve a successful outcome in your case. Some people think that when they hire a lawyer, they absolve themselves from taking any further action. This is not true. You can provide assistance to your attorney (and thereby your case) by providing contact information for witnesses on your behalf or offering information about another potential suspect that the police may have overlooked.
In addition, you will need to abide by the rules and conditions set forth by the court when you were released on bond. Complying with these conditions will (i) prevent you from being returned to custody while your case is pending and (ii) show the judge handling your criminal case that you do not need to be incarcerated if you are ultimately convicted (judges have the discretion to sentence people to jail or prison time, depending on the offense).
Take Action Today: Speak to an Experienced Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney
No matter what criminal charge you are dealing with, the Law Offices of Peter Berlin can help. With nearly two decades of experience in criminal defense, we know what it takes to provide a strong defense against any charge and are ready to help you or a loved one. Contact us today for a free consultation at 310-289-5418.