Bay Area Criminal Defense Lawyer
Facing a criminal charge can be one of the most confusing and scary moments of your life. The uncertainty that accompanies allegations of a crime almost always leads to anxiety and unrest. However, the best way to calm your nerves and get a strategic outcome in your case is to hire a dedicated Bay Area criminal defense lawyer. A skilled defense attorney could provide you with an idea of the penalties you will face, develop a defense strategy on your behalf, and work to get you the best outcome available.
At The Nieves Law Firm, our team understands the impacts of a criminal conviction and we work tirelessly to help our clients resolve their case in a way that allows them to go on to lead a joyful and fulfilling life. We work with you to ensure our defense strategy accounts for your goals and plans for the future. If you have been charged with a crime in the Bay Area, we can help. Contact The Nieves Law Firm today to schedule a free, 30-minute consultation with a member of our team.
Understanding Where Your Criminal Case is At
To understand the legal representation you need for your case, you first need to understand where you are at in the legal process. Typically, there are three different stages of the criminal process an individual may be in. You can be in the precharging stage, the stage where you are officially charged with a crime (most common stage), or the post-conviction stage. At The Nieves Law Firm, we help people at all three stages of the criminal process.
This is the stage in the criminal defense process where charges have yet to be filed but you have some idea that criminal charges may be filed against you in the future. While sometimes you may not know that you are in this stage, it is important that you understand how a defense attorney could help mitigate the damage and potentially help you avoid having charges filed against you altogether.
Criminal Charges Filed
The next stage in the process is when charges are officially filed against you. At this stage, you will know exactly what the prosecutors are charging you with based on a complaint that has been filed with the court. It is important that you reach out to a criminal defense attorney at this stage in the process. An attorney could assess your charges, determine the potential penalties you are facing, and begin making a defense strategy for your case. A Bay Area lawyer may also have an idea of plea bargains you may be able to secure in your criminal case.
This is the final stage of representation that we offer and occurs after your case comes to a close. At this point in the process, the goal of an attorney would be to help you mitigate the damage done by a prior conviction. For example, a previous criminal charge could have immigration consequences or a negative impact on your job prospects and future. An attorney could help you file a Motion to Vacate or apply for a Certificate of Rehabilitation to minimize the effect of the conviction, allowing you to remain a legal US resident or open up opportunities for employment and other personal or professional endeavors. Our successes in post-conviction relief cases are well-documented. In fact, some of our prior post-conviction legal work has been published in legal opinions from judges.
How Crimes are Categorized
In California’s legal justice system, there are three categories of crimes that you can be charged with:
- Infractions: The least severe offense, infractions are punishable by only a fine. A common example of a crime that can be an infraction is disorderly conduct.
- Misdemeanors: Although less severe offenses than felonies, misdemeanors still have negative consequences that can impact you. Misdemeanors in California are punishable by up to one year in county jail, a fine, and may also lead to probation.
- Felonies: More severe than a misdemeanor, felonies are the most serious level of a criminal offense in California. Individuals convicted of a felony may face lengthy prison sentences, lose many rights like the right to possess a firearm, have difficulty finding housing, and have trouble getting a job.
While crimes are often categorized as either a misdemeanor or felony, some crimes can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony depending on the circumstances of the case. These are known as “Wobbler” offenses, meaning they can “wobble” up to a felony or “wobble” down to a misdemeanor. Prosecutors have the ability to determine whether or not they want to charge an offense as a felony or misdemeanor.
It is important to note that there are also levels of severity of felony offenses. Some felonies are strike offenses – either serious felonies or serious violent felonies. Being convicted of a strike offense can create greater risk for lengthier prison sentences and harsher consequences.
Most Common Types of Crimes in the Bay Area
Some of the most common crimes we see at The Nieves Law Firm are:
- Assault and Battery
- Resisting Arrest
- Crimes involving Gross Bodily Injury
- Strike Offenses
- Domestic Violence
- Drug Crimes
- Gun Crimes
- Juvenile Crimes
- Sex Crimes
If you are facing any of the charges listed above or were charged with another offense not listed, contact a criminal defense lawyer on our team to schedule a free consultation in the Bay Area.
Contact a Bay Area Criminal Defense Attorney
Criminal charges can be overwhelming, confusing, and devastating. We understand that if you are currently under investigation for a crime or if you have been formally charged, you may be in the most important battle of your life. We’re here to help.
At The Nieves Law Firm, we take the “criminal” out of criminal defense. Our Bay Area criminal defense lawyers have experience defending individuals facing a wide range of criminal charges. Contact our team today to schedule a free consultation.