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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 Joaquin County Criminal Lawyer

There are constitutional rights in place to protect you from unlawful criminal prosecutions. The law guarantees your right to personal defense counsel through every critical stage of a prosecution.

If you are facing criminal charges, you could benefit from speaking with a San Joaquin County criminal lawyer immediately for assistance. Whether you wish to discuss a plea, challenge an illegal stop, or take your case to trial, a dedicated defense attorney could stand by your side.

Evaluating a San Joaquin County Plea Bargain

Many criminal defendants accept a plea deal after reviewing their cases with a legal professional. However, accepting a plea means waiving critical legal rights and privileges. The legislator recently amended California Penal Code § 1016.8 governing plea agreements, which sets forth that:

  • Defendants’ must enter pleas of guilty or nolo contendere voluntarily, knowingly, and intelligently
  • Before entering a plea, defendants must understand and explicitly waive their essential trial rights, such as the right to trial by jury
  • Defendants have the right to benefit from future legislative amendments and appeals decisions after pleading guilty to a crime
  • Any forced waiver of these future legal changes is void

Prosecutors count on plea bargains to reduce their caseloads and preserve state resources. As such, district attorneys frequently charge defendants with multiple crimes hoping the lengthy charging document will frighten suspects into accepting an unfavorable bargain. Experienced defense attorneys recognize this common tactic and can take necessary steps to reduce those charges through negotiations, substantive motions, or at evidentiary hearings.

Understanding Essential Criminal Pre-Trial Rights

Before a trial begins, defense counsel may review all prosecution evidence during a phase called “discovery.” Prosecutors must disclose all witnesses, relevant documents, and even exculpatory evidence to defendants before trial under Cal. Pen. Code § 1054.1. The accused could then obtain contradictory evidence or challenge the admissibility of the state’s proof. Under Cal. Pen. Code § 1054.7, defendants may also argue that prosecutors cannot introduce essential evidence they failed to disclose at least 30 days before trial.

Criminal prosecutions place extraordinary stress on the accused and their loved ones. Suspects commonly plead guilty to unsustainable charges for this reason without fully understanding their rights and defenses. An experienced attorney could challenge aspects of the San Joaquin charges and bring forth evidence to weaken the prosecution’s case.

Defending Against Criminal Charges at Trial

California Penal Code § 1096 specifies that defendants are innocent of all charges until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Judges and juries operate under this assumption. District attorneys need to introduce evidence sufficient to prove every element of each alleged offense before the accused must raise a defense.

Challenging a single piece of evidence brought by the prosecution may defeat a necessary element of the crime.  Defense counsel could move for dismissal of San Joaquin criminal charges under California Penal Code § 1118.1 if the prosecutor’s evidence cannot sustain a conviction. Even if found guilty at the trial court level, appellate courts can review the evidence after such a motion and retroactively grant acquittal.

Call a San Joaquin County Criminal Defense Attorney

Numerous procedural and evidentiary defenses to criminal accusations exist. Do not accept a plea bargain or speak with the police before invoking your right to counsel. All criminal convictions, including misdemeanors, carry direct and collateral consequences.

A dedicated San Joaquin County criminal lawyer could review your case from investigation through appeal and fight for an acquittal. Our experienced legal defenders could discover potential legal and procedural violations in the case and could begin building a strong defense against the charges.  Call today to discuss your matter.

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