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Frequently Asked Questions: Van Nuys Court and Defense

Consult with a qualified criminal lawyer before taking any steps towards defending your case. The following questions are frequently asked of our Van Nuys Criminal Defense Attorneys:

1. What happens after someone is arrested?

Police officers involved write reports about the crime, obtain witness statements, run a background check of the suspect, and do further investigation as needed before submitting their work to an investigating detective. Often, this is the most important time for a Van Nuys Criminal Defense Lawyer to make a dramatic impact in a Pre-Filing Intervention, as the police usually know very little about the person arrested. The police then bring their written investigation to the District Attorney's Office. A prosecutor reviews the documents to determine whether criminal charges - a misdemeanor or a felony - are warranted. The prosecutor has the option of rejecting the case for criminal prosecution, filing a misdemeanor, or filing a felony charge. IN SUM, THIS IS WHEN CRIMINAL CHARGES COULD BE DROPPED OR REDUCED BEFORE COURT. AN IMMEDIATE PRE-FILING INTERVENTION BY A DEFENSE LAWYER IS VERY IMPORTANT!

2. "Should I speak to the police…I can explain everything"?

If the police arrest you, immediately ask to call an attorney. Do not say anything to the police that could incriminate you. Even if you are innocent and were in no way involved in the crime for which you have been arrested, ask for an attorney and do not speak to the police without a criminal defense attorney present. THE POLICE ARE LEGALLY ALLOWED TO LIE TO SUSPECTS. WITHOUT AN ATTORNEY, YOU HAVE NO ONE TO PROTECT YOUR INTERESTS.



3. When should I speak to an attorney?

It is always in your best interest to consult a criminal defense lawyer as early as possible if you suspect you will be facing the criminal justice system. Whether or not you believe you have been wrongfully accused, an attorney will fight for your legal and constitutional rights and monitor the proceedings for legality and fairness. If you cannot afford an attorney, you may be eligible for free legal counsel.

4. How does bail work?

Bail is financial assurance that a defendant will return to court after being released from custody. There are two ways to post bail.

First, "cash" bail may be posted with the custodial agency to cover the entire amount of the bail. At the end of the case, if bail is exonerated, the defendant will receive a check for the entire amount posted (takes about 8-10 weeks).

Second, a "bond" through a bail company may be posted. A defendant pays about 10% of the entire amount to a bail company, which puts up the entire bail amount through a bond. The premium payment is not returned to the defendant after the case ends.

5. If the complaining witness wants to "drop all charges," will the case be dismissed?







Not necessarily. There are many reasons why the alleged victim or reporting party may have a change of heart. It may be that the report of crime (violence, theft, or other violation) may have been false or inaccurate. It may also be that the person is scared to proceed with a prosecution. The police and the prosecutor's office are aware of all the reasons, and do not just "drop charges" especially in domestic violence cases. They attempt to re-interview the reporting party to understand the reason behind the change of heart.


6. What happens at the first court hearing after charges are filed? What is an arraignment?


Arraignment is the initial court proceeding where a defendant is advised of his charges, and usually enters a "Not Guilty" plea. This proceeding is not a trial, and witnesses do not come forward to testify. It provides defense counsel an opportunity to obtain the police reports, the criminal complaint, and set a preliminary hearing date.

7. In a DUI case, what is the first thing to do?

Your license will be suspended unless you request a DMV hearing 10 days after your arrest. You or your attorney must call and request a hearing immediately. Even if you have the DUI dismissed in court, the DMV will still suspend your license if you fail to set a hearing date.

9. If I was arrested for a felony, does that mean I will face felony charges in court?





A prosecutor makes an independent decision on what charges to file, irrespective of what the arrest was for. As an example, in most domestic violence cases, the Los Angeles Police Department arrests people for felony charges carrying $50,000 bail. After many of these arrests, prosecutors file misdemeanor offenses, rather than felonies, especially after an immediate pre-filing intervention.

10. What if I feel that the police violated my constitutional rights?

A criminal defense attorney seeks to exclude evidence obtained as a result of police misconduct. At times, police misconduct occurs in searches that take place during ordinary traffic stops or in a suspect's home. Additionally, if law enforcement is too aggressive in trying to obtain an incriminating statement from a suspect, it may violate the suspect's Miranda rights. Litigation in the criminal court allows a defense lawyer to protect his client's rights by submitting motions to the judge seeking to exclude the recovered evidence or received statements from trial. Often a successful motion to suppress evidence cripples the prosecutor's case, causing the case to either be dismissed or substantially reduced in plea negotiations.

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Address: 14401 Sylvan St. Van Nuys, CA 91401 Phone: (818) 781-1570