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    Know and Protect Your Rights in a Criminal Defense Matter

      Download Our Free Guide

      Know and Protect Your Rights in a Criminal Defense Matter

          San Fransisco Criminal Defense Lawyer

          An arrest should be taken seriously, regardless of the crime you are accused of. If the charges lead to a conviction, you could have a criminal record that limits your employment, housing, immigration benefits, and even access to your kids in child custody cases. You may also face serious criminal sanctions such as fines and jail time. If you aren’t convicted the record of the arrest can remain on your background unless you take affirmative steps to seal the arrest or be declared factually innocent.

          If you were arrested, served a search warrant, or asked for an interview with law enforcement, call a San Francisco criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Having a capable and confident criminal attorney on your side to explain the process and provide support can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case.

          Know Your Rights When Detained

          One of the worst mistakes a defendant could make is to answer police questions without a lawyer present or speaking on their behalf. Before police interrogate you, they must read your Miranda rights, informing you of the right to remain silent and to have an attorney present. It is best to be firm in requesting to speak with an attorney and refusing to talk to police or answer questions before the attorney arrives.

          Right to Phone Calls

          California Penal Code §851.5 offers arrestees the right to make three free phone calls in the local calling area. This could include an attorney, a family member, or a bail bond agent. Within three hours of the arrest, an officer must ask whether the arrestee is responsible for children and, if so, allow two more free phone calls to arrange for childcare. If necessary, the arrestee can make additional calls at their own expense.

          Legal Process after an Arrest

          In the hours after an arrest, the District Attorney reviews the police report and other evidence and decides whether to file formal charges. If the District Attorney has not had the chance to review the matter or make a charging decision the individual will be released.  Being released does not mean that charges will not be filed in the future unless the DA specifically rejects the charges. Otherwise, the DA has until the statute of limitations expires to make a decision about whether or not to charge the matter formally. A skilled criminal defense attorney in San Francisco could approach the prosecutor at this time to present the suspect’s side of the case and point out weaknesses in the evidence. In many cases, the prosecutor can be persuaded not to file charges, and the suspect can then pursue remedies to clean up and seal the record of the arrest.

          Representation During the Pre-Trial Phase

          If the prosecutor decides to bring charges, a criminal attorney could try to get the suspect released from custody at the arraignment. Except for those charged with capital crimes or who have a history of missing court hearings, California Penal Code §1270 allows suspects to be released on their own recognizance. Judges have the discretion to impose bail and other conditions of release, such as wearing an electronic monitoring device, entering drug or alcohol treatment, surrendering firearms, surrendering passports, and other restrictions.

          Pre-trial takes place before the trial phase. During this time, a criminal defense lawyer will gather evidence about the crime, law enforcement’s investigation, the arrest, and the events after the suspect was detained. If there is any indication that law enforcement violated the suspect’s rights, the attorney could bring a pre-trial motion such as a:

          • Motion to Suppress Evidence that was collected in violation of a suspect’s Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.
          • California Penal Code §995 Motion to Set Aside the Information post preliminary hearing, which is a motion requesting to dismiss the charges in a felony case due to a lack of probable cause.
          • Pitchess Motion to see the contents of an officer’s personnel file, if the suspect might have been the victim of police misconduct

          In addition to preparing pre-trial motions, a San Francisco criminal lawyer will work to identify weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case and use them to negotiate the best possible outcome for the defendant. Even if the outright dismissal of all charges is not obtained, a solution such as first-offender diversion, pre-trial diversion to a treatment program that leads to a dismissal, or an alternate plea to lesser charges and reduced penalties is possible in many cases.

          Criminal Trial in San Francisco

          Sometimes, the best strategy in a criminal case is to force the prosecutor to prove their case at trial. The law defines most crimes with several elements, and a prosecutor must prove each element of the crime to get a conviction. A skilled local criminal attorney could attack any weaknesses in the prosecution’s case to raise doubt in a juror’s mind.

          Work With a Dedicated San Francisco Criminal Defense Attorney

          We do not recommend trying to navigate the criminal justice system alone. Even though the Constitution requires that everyone be presumed innocent until proved guilty – it is an unfortunate reality that police and prosecutors will assume you are guilty and may use various tactics to collect evidence of your presumed guilt. It is important to have a San Francisco criminal defense lawyer to protect your rights and advise you throughout the legal proceedings. Call our firm today to learn how a legal advocate could fight for you.

          Free Consultation

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