Experience Makes the Difference
Call us at 310.312.0220
for a FREE Consultation

Free Case Evaluation Form



I’ve Been Arrested, What Do I Do?

When you have been arrested, insist on your right to remain silent. The most important piece of advice for anyone charged with any criminal offense is: don’t talk to the police, your family, the alleged informants or anyone before you are represented by an experienced attorney. Contact a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Once notified of the arrest your lawyer can arrange for bail. A lawyer may also contact Detention/Release officers at the jail to reduce your bail  or negotiate an own recognizance release. Do not discuss the facts of your case with anyone other than your attorney.

Do I need an Attorney?

When your liberty is at stake, having the best defense may mean the difference between resuming your life versus years of incarceration. Even in less serious matters, the collateral consequences are sometimes the most costly as a criminal conviction remains in your record FOREVER in law enforcement data bases. Even a midsemeanor conviction may jeopordize professional licenses (state board membership, medical licenses, CPA status, teaching credentials). Moreover, in the information age, more and more entities are gaining access to criminal records in the course of routine hiring procedures. Thus, it becomes crucial to retain a criminal defense lawyer so your temporary problem does not result in long term regret.

What will you do to help me?

Right off the bet, we initiate thorough investigation into the facts of your case. We direct outside investigators to use state of the art databases and equipement to uncover critical information and evidence to defend our clients. The investigators use any and all means to legally obtain the evidence or statements needed to get the results you deserve. As such, they will take photogagraphs/videos of the alleged crime scene, conduct witness and, if possible, victim interviews, and background investigation of involved parties.

Should I represent myself? 

You can always represent yourself without the services of any attorney; however that decision is one that you may regret for the rest of your life. If you are facing a misdemeanor which may result in county jail time, or facing a felony which may entails years in prison, or you wish to avoid any kind of conviction, you MUST retain a private criminal defense attorney to look after your interests.

Do I need an attorney at my arraignment?

Yes! Although many people believe they may be able to handle this hearing without the presence of a criminal lawyer, it is critical to have a criminal attorney defending you. A criminal defense attorney may be able to lower your bail or even negotiate to have you released on your own recognizance (O.R.) without putting up any money. Arraignment may give your attorney a unique opportunity to interact with the filing deputy district attorney on the case and work out an plea agreement without the need of going through the additional phases of criminal litigation process.

Should I obtain a public defender?

If you can't afford to hire a lawyer from the private legal community, the court can appoint a government-paid lawyer called a "public defender" to represent you. In order to have a public defender, you'll have to convince the judge that you can't afford to hire an attorney on your own. The judge may ask you to fill out a form detailing your financial resources, assets, income and debts. You may also need to provide the court with documentation such as paystubs to prove your income level.

The downside of being represented by a public defender is that these government-paid lawyers often have a huge overload of cases, and cannot devote a lot of time to any one case. As a result, you may have little or no access to your lawyer except during actual court hearings. Public defenders also often lack office equipment and adequate research access, and can't afford to hire investigators to properly flesh out your case.

If you do not like your public defender, your rights are limited to the appointment of the public defender that is chosen for you. To receive a new public defender, you must prove to the court that his/her representation is incompetent. It can be very difficult. To avoid this predicament, it is best to hire a criminal defense attorney who are comfortable with and know will get the job done right. You should not take chances with your freedom. Contact our criminal defense law firm now at 310.312.0220 so that we may provide you with a confidential and free consultation.

Can I just have my attorney represent me, so I don't have to show up?

In misdemeanor cases, there are stages of the criminal process where you do not need to appear. However, it is very important to check with your attorney before you decide to be absent. If you are not able to appear you must contact your attorney and inform them of your situation. Please contact our criminal law firm to discuss whether or not your appearance is necessary at your next court date.

What is the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony?

A misdemenor usually carries a maximum sentence of one year in county jail. A felony is a very serious crime that may carry a sentence of over one year in state prison. Felonies can result in life imprisonment or even the death penalty.

Why should I ever plead guilty to the charges?

Most judges and prosecutors will offer a lighter offense and/or sentence in exchange for a guilty plea. By pleading guilty and avoiding a trial, you may receive a lesser punishment and avoid the risk of being convicted of a more serious offense and receiving a harsher penalty. In additiona, a guilty plea quickens the criminal process and eliminates a lengthy and extremely stressful trial process.

If I am convicted of a crime, will anyone know that I have a conviction on my record?

Although a conviction is public record and may be viewed by the general public, you may be able to expunge a conviction dependeing on the nature of the crime committed.

Why Choose Bernard & Bernard

In matters of criminal defense our clients’ individual rights are carefully guarded and never compromised. By virtue of our exceptional experience, knowledge and qualifications we have been extremely successful defending those who have been wrongfully accused or have, by other circumstance, fallen into trouble with the law. We will start working on your case immediately, whether it has been accepted for filing by the district attorney's office or not. Call our office at 310.312.0220 24/7 to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney within minutes.

Free Consultation | All Major Credit Cards Accepted | 24-Hour Phone Service