Corona Criminal Defense Lawyer

Facing criminal charges is not a situation to take lightly. The consequences of a conviction can be severe and far-reaching, even outside of criminal penalties like jail and fines. Speaking with an experienced Corona criminal defense lawyer is one of the most effective ways of protecting yourself or a loved one.

The My SoCal Lawyers team can evaluate your situation and give a straightforward assessment, ensuring you understand what the charges could mean for your future. Afterward, we can then move forward with finding the legal strategy that has the highest likelihood of a positive outcome.

Criminal Case Process

Most people charged with a crime are unsure of how the process will proceed. Even if it is not your first exposure to criminal charges, the confusing and complex criminal justice system is likely to bring about many uncertainties. Understanding the sequence of events that are likely to occur can help relieve some of the stress associated with facing criminal charges.

  • Initial Investigation: First, it is important to note that police officers do not file criminal charges. The relevant agency—like the Sheriff’s department or the police—will respond to a report of a crime. A report can come in multiple forms, including a 911 call or a formal statement made by a witness directly to an officer. During the initial response, the officers will conduct an investigation and determine if any arrests are warranted. Whether an arrest is made or not, an investigation will be completed to gather evidence of the alleged crime. The investigation can be a lengthy process, potentially taking days, weeks, months, or even years, depending on the circumstances of the case and the current caseload of the agency.It is possible for the case to be dropped before formal charges are filed by the prosecution, especially if an effective defense position is offered to the investigators of the case.
  • Filing Criminal Charges: Once the investigation is complete, the evidence will be presented to a prosecuting agency. The Deputy District Attorney or City Attorney evaluates the facts of the case and determines if the case should progress to formal criminal charges. It is most common for this decision to be made prior to the first court date, but more time may be required. If this occurs, the defendant will be informed that no case is currently filed and given proof of appearance. In that instance, the prosecution still has until the pertinent statute of limitations to file charges.
  • Arraignment: If the prosecution has brought charges against the defendant, the first formal court date is called the arraignment. This is the defendant’s opportunity to enter a not-guilty plea and gain access to initial discovery information, such as witness statements, police reports, etc. Requesting increased or decreased bail at the bail hearing also occurs during the arraignment. In most instances of a minor crime or non-violent misdemeanor, the defendant is typically granted an own-recognizance release. In cases when a protective order is warranted, the court may order the defendant not to contact the alleged victim while the case is ongoing.In misdemeanor cases, the accused does not need to be present at arraignment if they have retained a private defense attorney. However, the defendant must always be physically present during arraignment in felony cases.
  • Status Conference: The court date that follows arraignment will be some form of status conference. Depending on the courthouse and even the specific courtroom, different terms can be used to refer to this hearing. The terms include preliminary hearing, early disposition, or pretrial conference. One factor that determines the type of status conference that applies is the type of charge. In felony cases, the defendant is entitled to a probable cause hearing, or preliminary hearing, in which the government must show the court enough evidence to demonstrate at least some proof of the defendant’s guilt. Defendants accused of a misdemeanor do not share this right and must proceed to a jury trial or settle the case.
  • Trial and Sentencing: Once charges have been brought and the case has progressed through each prior step, a conclusion must be reached. It is still possible for the prosecution to drop the charges, but this is less likely once the case has progressed this far. The case can also be settled by the prosecution and defendant agreeing to a deal. If no deal can be reached, the case will be presented to a jury, which will determine if the prosecution has shown the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The defendant is convicted of the crime if found guilty and acquitted if found innocent.If the defendant pleads guilty or no contest per a plea agreement, the judge may approve the terms of the deal with the prosecution. The defendant will be aware of the terms of the deal before sentencing. If found guilty by the jury, the judge will impose a sentence following the applicable guidelines.
  • Appearances Post-Conviction: If parole is granted in either a misdemeanor or felony conviction, there will be some affirmative obligations that must be completed. These obligations can include things like community service, payment of fines and fees, anger management, counseling, or other conditions imposed by the judge. There will likely be court dates scheduled to ensure these obligations are being met.

This entire process is complex and can take a significant amount of time to complete. Effective legal representation can help ensure your rights are protected through each step of the process.

Different Criminal Charge Severities

There are three types of criminal charges in California: infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies. The potential punishments and rights you are afforded during the process depend on the severity of the charges you face.

  • Infractions: Infractions are considered the least severe type of crime. Potential penalties for this type of crime generally include fines, but infractions will not result in jail time or a criminal record. Examples of infractions include traffic violations, local municipal violations, fish and game violations, and violations of park/recreation rules. It is important to note that a person charged with an infraction is not entitled to a court-appointed attorney or a jury trial like defendants facing misdemeanor or felony charges.
  • Misdemeanors: Misdemeanors are more severe than infractions but less severe than felonies. Most misdemeanors carry a maximum penalty of a year in county jail and a fine of up to $1,000, though aggravated misdemeanors can potentially carry more severe penalties. Examples of misdemeanor crimes include shoplifting, domestic battery, a first-time DUI, public intoxication, and vandalism.
  • Felonies: Felonies are the most severe type of crime. Any crime with a potential penalty of a sentence lasting more than a year in county or state jail is considered a felony. Other potential consequences include a term of parole and fines of up to $10,000. The most severe penalties include life in prison or even capital punishment, though the death penalty in California has not been imposed in over a decade. Examples of felony-level crimes include sexual assault, rape, embezzlement, arson, kidnapping, and murder.

Some crimes can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances of the crime and the previous criminal history of the defendant. Examples of wobbler offenses include grand theft, DUI with prior DUI convictions, child endangerment, vehicular manslaughter, and assault with a deadly weapon.

This choice in charging a defendant allows the prosecutor and judge flexibility in determining the appropriate severity of charges and appropriate penalties. It also allows some room for a skilled defense attorney to negotiate a plea that includes reducing a felony charge down to a misdemeanor.

Best Corona Criminal Defense Lawyer

Questions a Defense Attorney Can Answer

Criminal law is a complex topic that is incredibly nuanced. In Corona, charges and penalties can vary immensely depending on each defendant’s specific case. Attempting to navigate criminal law is not easy, especially if you are also dealing with the complicated emotions that will come with being charged with a crime.

Though there are multiple online resources for criminal law, it can be difficult to understand exactly how you will be impacted by your charges and potential conviction. Some questions you may have will pertain to the criminal trial process, such as:

  • Do I have to go to trial?
  • Is it possible for the charges to be reduced?
  • Will I go to jail or prison if I am convicted?
  • How much could I be fined?

There are also multiple concerns outside of the criminal trial process that you may have questions about. These can include:

  • Will my arrest be a public record?
  • Can I have the arrest or conviction cleared from my record?
  • Am I required to inform my job that I was arrested?
  • Will an arrest or conviction affect my professional license (real estate, medical, etc)?

Unanswered questions are likely to make your situation seem much more oppressive than it is. Speaking with a knowledgeable Corona criminal defense attorney is one of the most effective ways to have your questions answered by a professional who can factor your specific circumstances into the answer.

When You Should Contact a Defense Attorney

The importance of a criminal defense attorney cannot be understated, but you may have questions about when it is wise to reach out to a defense team. Some scenarios in which it is recommended to contact a criminal defense lawyer include:

  • You have concerns that past actions may be criminal violations, even if you are not currently under investigation.
  • You were contacted by law enforcement and may be under criminal investigation, even if you have not yet been cited or arrested.
  • You were not arrested for a crime, but you were cited for a criminal violation.
  • You were arrested under suspicion of having committed a crime.

Ultimately, the moment you have any concerns that you may be cited or arrested for a crime is the moment you should speak with a defense attorney. Law enforcement and the prosecution are likely to have years of experience pursuing evidence that targets the person they believe committed a crime, so you should have the same level of experience in your corner when fighting criminal charges.

The result of a conversation may be the attorney informing you that you should have no concerns, but you will have at least established a relationship with an attorney should you later need their services. Erring on the side of caution is much better than regretting not speaking with an attorney.

Why Hire a Corona Criminal Defense Lawyer?

All criminal defense attorneys share the same purpose: to ensure their clients’ rights are protected during criminal cases. A defense attorney must also effectively advocate for their clients by providing efficient legal representation. These are actions taken by every defense attorney, but choosing an attorney with experience in the geographic area where you have been charged should be a factor when you decide to retain an attorney.

Building a strong defense will require a thorough understanding of the applicable laws in the area where the defendant has been charged. Familiarity with the prosecutor and the presiding judge can also assist a defense attorney in building their case. This information helps the defense attorney to build their defense with the attitudes of these individuals in mind. A defense attorney will only have such insight if they are familiar with the court in which a case is being tried.

The My SoCal Lawyers team provides a full range of criminal defense services to clients primarily in the Inland Empire. This means our team stays up-to-date on how the courts generally handle numerous types of cases, allowing us to craft defenses tailored to your situation and the court hearing your case.

Competent Corona Criminal Defense Attorneys

Whether you are under suspicion of having committed a crime or you have already been charged with a crime, My SoCal Lawyers is ready to ensure your legal rights are upheld throughout the process. Our team can evaluate your case and develop a powerful defense strategy that will be an invaluable asset as you navigate the legal system. Schedule a consultation with us today.