If you’ve been accused of a crime in Escondido, CA, it’s crucial that you have an experienced criminal defense lawyer to help you navigate the criminal justice process.
Whether you’ve been charged with a minor infraction or a serious crime, a knowledgeable attorney will explain your rights, protect your interests, and ensure that you get a fair shake in the justice system.
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How Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers Can Help If You’ve Been Charged With a Crime in Escondido, CA
Peter Blair, our firm’s founding attorney, is a nationally recognized trial lawyer and has over 10 years of criminal law experience. He has received the following recognitions:
- Super Lawyers
- National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Attorneys and Top 40 Under 40 Trial Attorneys
- Perfect-10 Avvo Rating
- America’s Top 100 Criminal Defense Attorneys in 2020
When you hire our criminal defense law firm, we will work diligently to help you receive the best outcome in your criminal case. You can expect us to:
- Gather exculpatory evidence to help build your case
- Review the prosecution’s evidence and determine whether it should be challenged or discounted
- Interview witnesses and other relevant parties to obtain information about your case
- Research the relevant case law to develop a defense strategy
- Draft, file, and argue motions in your case
- Negotiate with the prosecution to have your charges dropped, reduced, or to reach a plea deal
- Take your case to trial, if we aren’t able to reach an agreement with the prosecution
- File an appeal on your behalf, if you aren’t satisfied with the outcome of your case
To learn more about how our attorneys can help if you’ve been charged with a crime, contact our office serving Escondido, California, today.
What Are Your Rights if You Are Accused of a Crime in California?
If you’re accused of a crime in California, knowing your rights can have a favorable impact on the rest of your case. Keep these rights in mind if you are questioned or arrested by the police, and when your case goes to court.
Your Rights With the Police
You have many rights with the police if you are being accused of a crime, including:
- The right to due process, which means to not be deprived of life, liberty, or property without certain legal safeguards
- To be free from unreasonable searches and seizures
- To be told you are being arrested and the charges against you
- To be told your constitutional rights if you are under arrest, which are often called Miranda rights
- To contact someone to tell them you’ve been arrested
- To consult with an attorney and speak with them privately
- To a court-appointed attorney if you can’t afford to hire one yourself
- To remain silent and to stop answering questions at any time
- To see a judge within a reasonable amount of time after you’re arrested
If you’re arrested, keep these rights in mind and contact a criminal defense attorney as quickly as possible. The attorney at Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers is here to help you navigate this stressful process, and we offer a free consultation regarding your case.
Your Rights in Court
If you’ve been charged with a crime, you have certain rights in court. These rights include:
- To due process
- To be represented by an attorney when you appear in court
- To adequate representation by your attorney
- To a speedy and public trial
- To a jury trial
- To defend yourself, confront witnesses, and present evidence
While you are allowed to represent yourself in court if you choose, you will benefit from legal representation by a trained attorney. They will help you be on a level playing field with prosecution, ensure that your rights are protected at each step, and advocate for you to receive the best outcome in your case.
What Are the Steps in a Criminal Case in California?
Understanding the steps of the criminal justice process in California will help you feel more comfortable and make informed decisions. Not every case will include each of these steps. The basic steps in a California criminal case include:
Charges Are Filed
The prosecution will typically file a complaint that contains the basic information of the crime, including who is accused, what type of crime they are charged with, and when it occurred. If you are arrested, it could occur before or after this step, depending on the circumstances of your case.
At the arraignment, the defendant is informed of their rights and what crime they are being charged with. They are given a chance to enter a plea, which may be a guilty plea, a not guilty plea, or a plea of no contest.
During this stage, the prosecution and the defense will exchange information relevant to the charges against the defendant. This is known as “discovery.” The parties may file motions asking the court to make decisions about the discovery. For example, a skilled defense attorney will seek to exclude unfavorable evidence if it was obtained in violation of your constitutional rights. The parties will also attempt to reach a plea agreement or prepare the case for trial.
In addition, if the crime the defendant is accused of is a felony, there will be a preliminary hearing during this stage. At a preliminary hearing, the prosecution must show the judge that there is enough evidence for the charges to proceed any further.
If the defense and the prosecution are unable to reach a plea agreement, then the case will proceed to trial. This will usually be a jury trial. There, the prosecution must prove to the jury beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the accused crime.
If a defendant is found guilty following a jury trial, or if they plead guilty to an offense, they will be sentenced by a judge. The parties may present evidence at sentencing, and the judge will decide which penalties to impose.
If you are not satisfied with the outcome of your case after you are sentenced, then you can file an appeal. An appeal is not a new trial. However, it does allow you to challenge errors made in your case. In some cases, you may be able to have your record cleaned at a certain point after sentencing.
What Are the Possible Penalties for a Crime in Escondido, CA?
If you’re convicted of a crime in California–meaning you plead guilty or are found guilty by a jury or judge–then you may be sentenced to certain penalties. The most common penalties are:
A monetary penalty is often imposed for infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies.
A court-ordered period of supervision for someone convicted of a crime. As part of their supervision, individuals must comply with a set of conditions imposed by the court, which may include sobriety monitoring, reporting regularly to a probation officer, maintaining a job, and staying within a certain geographical area.
Jail Time or Prison Time
Jail time or prison time is a harsher penalty and may be imposed for more serious crimes, including misdemeanors and felonies. Jail time is served in a local or county jail and usually includes sentences of less than one year. Prison time is served in a state or federal facility and includes lengthier sentences of over one year.
California has an alternative sentencing program in which some individuals are able to serve their sentence out in the community, rather than in a jail or prison. The sentence may include obligations such as attending counseling, completing community service hours, attending substance abuse treatment, or paying restitution to the victims of the crimes.
Do I Need To Hire a Private Defense Attorney in San Diego County?
In California, you may qualify for a court-appointed attorney, known as a public defender, if your financial circumstances show that you are unable to hire a private defense attorney on your own. The court will consider your assets, debts, and other financial factors to determine whether you may qualify for a court-appointed attorney.
While the San Diego County Public Defenders are skilled, hard-working attorneys, public defenders in general are often overworked and handle a very large caseload. A private defense attorney will have more control over their caseload and be able to devote more time and resources to defending your case.
At Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers, our attorneys limit the number of cases they handle so they can work diligently to get you the best outcome in your case.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Escondido Criminal Defense Attorneys
If you or a loved one has been accused of a crime in California, you are probably feeling frightened, frustrated, or overwhelmed. A skilled Escondido criminal defense lawyer can step in to guide you through the criminal justice process and fight for your rights. Contact our Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers today, you can call (619) 357-4977 to schedule a free consultation with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney.