Seek Legal Assistance for your Criminal Case
If you are facing criminal charges due to being accused of a crime, consider turning to an experienced criminal defense attorney San Francisco CA clients trust from The Morales Law Firm for legal assistance. Regardless of what you are being charged with, we will work tirelessly for your protection. Seeking a criminal defense attorney in San Francisco CA may help prevent you from serving an unnecessary length of jail time, immense fines, and an unjust verdict.
We started our business protecting those who are wrongly accused in our community more than 25 years ago. Within that time we have proudly established a respected reputation for professional yet compassionate legal services. We do not suggest going through a criminal defense trial without proper legal representation. Doing so may result in catastrophic damage to your finances, freedom and future. We can offer advice and emotional support for the challenges you may face during the litigation.
In our eyes, a client is innocent unless proven guilty within the court system. We acknowledge that our clients are likely going through a turbulent time and will do what we can do take the weight off your shoulders. When you hire a criminal defense attorney from The Morales Law Firm, we can speak up in your defense and answer any questions or concerns you may have along the way.
Common Types of Criminal Defense Cases
– Drug Offenses
– Violent Crimes
– Domestic Violence
– Drunk Driving
– White Collar Crimes
– Theft Crimes
– Sex Offenses
We understand the immense stress you may be under and the impact this criminal charge against you may have on your future. At The Morales Law Firm, we may defend your rights, work for your fair trial, and build a solid foundation in support of your innocence in front of the jury.
After performing a thorough investigation of your case, we may uncover inconsistencies that can result in evidence being thrown out and no longer held against you. It is important you go over every detail with your attorney, so they can potentially find flaws in the prosecution evidence of what happened. Even the smallest of details may change the case outcome.
If immigration issues are a component of your case, we can still offer you legal assistance. We can use tactics to aid in preventing you from deportation and can work around the clock to help you stay in this country. The last thing you need during this process is to be removed from your home and family.
Three Things You Need to Know if You are Facing Criminal Charges
Being charged with a crime can be an overwhelming experience, particularly if it is your first time facing criminal charges. The best decision you can make after being charged, or if you think you may be charged in the future, is to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney in San Francisco CA who can help you understand your rights and obligations. Although you might be eligible for court-appointed legal counsel, you may still wish to seek affordable representation from a local law firm like The Morales Law Firm. In the meantime, consider these three things:
- You have guaranteed rights.
Criminal charges are brought against you by the government. Typically, these will be brought by a prosecutor on behalf of your state. When you are accused of a crime by the government, you have several important Constitutional rights that provide you some protection. For example, you are guaranteed access to an attorney, even if you cannot afford to pay one out of your own pocket. You also have to right to remain silent, meaning that you are not required to give a statement to the prosecuting attorney, the judge, or any investigating police officer. You should take advantage of your rights and strongly consider requesting access to an attorney before making any statements regarding the incident leading to your arrest.
- Timing is important.
The San Francisco CA criminal justice system moves on a tight timeline and can be extremely rigid. This means that if you have a hearing scheduled, you must appear in court on that day, with your attorney if you choose to use one. If you are arriving at court from your own home, you should plan to arrive early and make sure that you allow yourself time to find your assigned courtroom. Failing to appear for a hearing or trial can result in harsh penalties, including additional charges.
- Preparation is key.
Make sure that you are well-prepared for any court appearance that you have. Know what you plan to say and practice it with your criminal defense attorney if you are going to give a statement. Make sure that you have given your attorney all of the facts regarding the incident. Be honest and thorough with your attorney. Being prepared for your hearing can ensure that the court is able to make a ruling, potentially shortening the amount of time that you will have to wait before your case is resolved. Also, consulting with an attorney well in advance of your assigned hearing date may ensure that he or she is able to consider your defense carefully.
The criminal justice system is just that: a system. There are many rules in place to keep the system moving efficiently. This may seem like a difficult burden at times, but there are also many rules that are meant to protect your rights and make sure that justice is served. Talking to a criminal defense attorney you trust will help you navigate this system and may ease the stress of facing a criminal charge.
Timeline of a Criminal Case
When you have been charged with a crime, it can be a very frightening situation. It often is even more intimidating when you don’t have the understanding of just how the criminal justice system works in California. Not knowing what to expect and how long the whole process will take can definitely make the whole situation even that more stressful.
A misdemeanor criminal defense attorney from The Morales Law Firm can evaluate your case and explain to you what to expect during this legal process.
The first step in the State criminal justice process is the arrest. In order to arrest a person suspected of a crime, law enforcement must have conducted a thorough investigation in order to document the suspect’s activities connected to the crime. In other words, an arrest must be made on more concrete evidence than a “hunch.” After arresting the individual, police are required by law to read them their Miranda rights. This law clearly states that the person has the right to remain silent as to not incriminate themselves and they have the right to a criminal defense attorney San Francisco, CA.
The arraignment is the court appearance where there is a formal reading of the charges against the individual who was arrested. This is the part of the process where they will enter a plea of not guilty or guilty. It is in the best interest of the charged individual to have a misdemeanor criminal defense attorney present during the arraignment to ensure their rights are protected against the prosecutor and police.
Although we are addressing misdemeanor charges in this post, it is also helpful to know that if the charges against the individual are felony charges, there would have been either a preliminary hearing or grand jury hearing where the prosecution is required to present the evidence against the individual and to ask that charges be issued against the suspect. In a preliminary hearing, it is the judge who makes that decision. In a grand jury hearing, it is the grand jury who decides.
A person who has been charged criminally may have the choice of pleading guilty in a plea bargain deal, which would avoid the need for a trial. It is the criminal defense attorney San Francisco, CA and the prosecution who enter into these negotiations. If a plea bargain cannot be reached, or if the defendant isn’t interested in one, then a trial date will be scheduled.
Before the trial actually takes place, your misdemeanor criminal defense attorney San Francisco, CA will spend the necessary time needed for trial preparation. This preparation may include contacting witnesses, reviewing all the evidence obtained from the prosecution during the discovery process, and coming up with the best strategy for a not guilty verdict.
During the trial, the prosecutor will present their evidence. Once they have rested their case, the misdemeanor defense attorney will present their case. Either a judge or jury will decide the verdict. In order to find a defendant guilty, the judge or jury must believe beyond a reasonable doubt that the he or she committed the crime.
When both sides have rested their case, the jury will deliberate to decide what the verdict should be. Once reached, that verdict will be read in the courtroom. If the defendant is found not guilty, they are free to go. If they are found guilty, there will be a sentencing hearing scheduled at a later date for the judge to determine what the sentence should be.
What Legal Rights Do You Have if You Are Arrested?
Whether it is because of a terrible mistake, willful disregard or a false accusation, getting arrested is never a pleasant experience. This situation can be embarrassing and damaging to your reputation and future outlook. Still, no matter what crime you’ve been accused of committing, you do have legal rights. These can protect you from unfair treatment and help assure that you’ll get a just trial.
The Right To Remain Silent
Anyone who knows anything about Miranda rights recognizes this protection. It is the first sentence the officer should say to you when you are formally placed under arrest. This means you don’t have to answer questions or say anything about yourself or the circumstances that led to your arrest until you have an attorney with you. Unfortunately, too many people waive this right or ignore it. Another part of the Miranda reading states that “anything you do or say can be used against you in a court of law.” Realize that your actions at this time could incriminate you or lead to further charges. Don’t say a word at this time.
The Right To an Attorney
It is critical that you have a lawyer present with you at the time of questioning. Your lawyer will advise you what to say and what questions to answer or ignore. An experienced criminal justice lawyer understands the arrest process and how you should act during this time. The lawyer will also make sure that the investigators don’t ask inappropriate questions and that your rights and interests are upheld. If you don’t have an attorney or can’t afford to hire one, you have the right to ask for a public defender to represent you.
The Right To Decline Being Searched
Unless the arresting officers have the legal right to do so through a search warrant, they can’t search you or your home without your permission. You are at liberty to deny them this request. Make sure you are calm and polite about making this refusal. Getting emotional will only increase your chances of law enforcement officials detaining you.
The Right To Ask Officers To Let You Leave
If the interrogation following your arrest does not lead to a formal charge, you may ask the officers if you are free to go. If there are no criminal charges filed against you, there are no requirements for you to stay.
Of course, you never intend to be in a position where you are arrested. However, some preparation and foreknowledge can protect you.
Let a Criminal Defense Attorney Help Your Case
Please call us today to schedule an appointment with a San Francisco criminal defense attorney from The Morales Law Firm. Your first consultation is free, so do not hesitate to speak with a member of our legal team to go over the charges being held against you. The sooner you find the right criminal defense attorney San Francisco California can provide for you, the sooner you can receive legal guidance and support for your case.