Our Los Angeles County criminal defense attorneys fight for the best possible outcome in our clients’ felony, misdemeanor, and infraction cases. Our legal team includes former prosecutors and law enforcement officers, so we know how the District Attorney operates — and how to outsmart the system. We can usually win significant charge reductions and dismissals without a trial.
Learn more about our attorneys in your particular LA County city:
- Beverly Hills
- Long Beach
- Los Angeles
- Santa Clarita
- Van Nuys
- West Covina
There are more than 20 courthouses in the County, and each of them handles cases differently. Fortunately, our Los Angeles County criminal defense attorneys have experience working in each of the courthouses, and we know the policies, dynamics, and workings of each locality.
Right or wrong, the simple fact is that the location where a crime occurs makes a major difference in terms of what charges get filed, how aggressively it gets prosecuted, the terms on which it gets plea-bargained, and the types of sentencing that judges hand down.
A felony case that gets filed in the Los Angeles County cities of Pomona or Torrance, for example, is likely to be much harsher than the same case if it got filed in Lancaster or Pasadena. Prosecutors will give higher offers, juries are more likely to convict at trial, and judges are likely to give tougher sentences.
All that said, it is critical to understand what each case “is worth” in the courthouses where it gets filed. It is also critical to have good relationships with the prosecutors and judges and to know the best strategies for getting the client the best outcome.
Our Los Angeles County criminal defense lawyers enjoy decades of experience navigating the county court system and each courthouse. We use this experience and knowledge to craft the most effective defense for each particular client.
Effective criminal defense
Our legal team defends people accused of every kind of criminal charge, from traffic infractions and minor drug offenses to serious crimes and violent felonies. Common cases we see include:
- Assault with a deadly weapon (PC 245a1)
- Domestic violence
- Drug crimes, including drug possession (HS 11350)
- DUI cases
- Fraud, including credit card fraud
- Hit and run (VC 20002)
- Juvenile crimes
- Lewd conduct criminal offenses
- Probation violations
- Restraining order violations (PC 273.6)
- Sex crimes
- Theft crimes, including petty theft (PC 484)
- Violent crimes
- White-collar crimes
Other legal services we provide include bail hearings, expungement of criminal records, and restoration of firearm rights. And our DUI lawyers always appear at our clients’ DMV hearings and fight to save their driver’s licenses.
The Los Angeles County criminal justice system
Most criminal cases begin with someone getting arrested by the local city police or the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD). After the booking process, the majority of arrestees are permitted to go if they can post bail. And some are released on their own recognizance (OR), which means they don’t have to pay bail at all.
After a criminal case ends, the court will return the bail money to the defendant. But sometimes bail is too high for the defendant to put up in the first place. In these cases, it may make sense to hire a bail bondsman. Bondsmen pay the entire amount to the court in exchange for a premium (usually 15% of the bail amount).
Once the defendant gets formally charged during the arraignment hearing, the case goes into the pretrial phase. The defense attorney will try to persuade the prosecutor to dismiss the criminal charges. Otherwise, the defense attorney may get the prosecutor to agree to a plea bargain where the charges get lessened or dropped in exchange for various terms. This way, the trial is avoided.
If the defendant is facing a felony charge, the court will hold a preliminary hearing (unless the case settles first). A preliminary hearing is similar to a trial, but the issue is not guilt or innocence. Instead, the prelim is where the prosecutor demonstrates to the court that the state’s case against the defendant is strong enough to go to trial.
Prosecutors usually win prelims since the standard of proof is very low. But if the prosecutor loses the prelim, then the felony charges get dismissed. (Misdemeanor cases do not have preliminary hearings. Nor do felony cases where the defendant was indicted by grand jury.)
If the defendant decides to plead guilty or no contest as part of a plea agreement, the judge almost always imposes the sentence that the state and defendant agreed to. But if the defendant has a bench- or jury trial and is found guilty, then it is less likely the judge will take the defendant’s or prosecution’s preferences into account.
Many defendants – particularly first-time offenders – may be eligible to avoid doing any jail time by going on probation. But as a condition of being on probation, the defendant would need to follow various other sentencing terms. Typical examples include paying fines, submitting to random alcohol testing, and performing community service.
Our experienced criminal defense lawyers near you in Los Angeles create attorney-client relationships throughout northern, central, and southern California, including Santa Barbara, Ventura County, Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Compton, Hollywood, Santa Monica, Encino, the San Fernando Valley, and more. Our practice areas include personal injury and family law in addition to criminal law and DUI defense. Our criminal trial lawyers and DUI attorneys provide legal defense for both state and federal crimes.