FAQs: Criminal Defense
In California, violating the law or committing an offense may lead to criminal charges. Unfortunately, a criminal conviction may result in devastating punishments, including massive fines, lengthy imprisonment, a criminal record, and other severe life-changing consequences. Regardless, understanding what to expect from the criminal justice system is crucial when facing criminal allegations to protect your rights and ensure that you do not end up in the worst possible situation.
At Darryl A. Stallworth Law Office, I'm dedicated to offering aggressive representation and skilled legal guidance to individuals facing criminal charges. As a strategic California criminal defense attorney, I can work to understand all of the facts of your case details and answer some of your frequently asked questions about the criminal justice system. My firm proudly serves clients across Oakland, Alameda County, Northern California, San Francisco, and the Bay Area, California.
Frequently Asked Questions About Criminal Defense
In California, an individual arrested and charged with a crime must trudge through the criminal court process to determine if they're innocent or guilty. Here are some frequently asked questions about criminal charges and the California criminal court process:
Do I have to speak to the police after I'm arrested?
Once you've been arrested by the police, you have the right to remain silent. Never speak to the police without your legal counsel. You may provide the police with your name and address. However, do not give any additional information, excuses, stories, or other details. Generally, refusing to respond to questions asked by the police isn't an offense.
I just want this to go away. Should I accept a plea deal?
If you plead guilty or accept a plea bargain, you are admitting that you committed the offense. In addition, once you accept a plea deal, you will automatically waive your right to a jury trial. Likewise, you will lose your other constitutional protections. As a result, the California court will determine the next steps in your case. Therefore, even if you believe you may be guilty of the charges against you, it is still in your best interest to retain a strategic lawyer to help fight your allegations.
When are police allowed to search my person, vehicle, or home?
The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects you from any unlawful search and seizure by law enforcement officers. The police can only search your person, home, or vehicle if:
They have written permission or a valid search warrant issued by the court.
You are being arrested.
You consent to the search.
The evidence was in plain view.
They have probable cause that your home or motor vehicle contains items or evidence connected with the crime.
What is the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor?
A misdemeanor is a less serious crime in California. Misdemeanors are usually punished by fines and jail time. In contrast, a felony is a very serious criminal offense in California. Felonies often attract severe penalties, including imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
The police didn't read me my rights. Am I still under arrest?
Essentially, the police must read you your Miranda rights after an arrest before you're asked any question. However, if law enforcement officers fail to read you your rights, you will still remain under arrest. However, any answers provided to the police won't be used against you in court because they failed to read you your Miranda rights.
If I'm completely innocent, do I still need a lawyer?
While you may believe that you're innocent, it is important to understand that the California criminal justice system isn't perfect. After an arrest or criminal charge, you cannot save yourself by simply telling the police or judge that you're innocent. Hence, even if you think you're totally innocent, it is advisable that you retain a skilled lawyer to defend your rights and help establish your innocence.
Can I clear a criminal charge from my record?
In California, an expungement or dismissal allows you to clear a criminal charge or conviction from your record. This often requires filing a petition with the California state court to start the expungement process. However, you must meet the necessary eligibility requirements for an expungement. Also, you may need to wait for a specific period before your request can be granted.
Do I really need a criminal defense attorney?
Defending your criminal accusations without reliable representation might increase your risks of getting convicted and suffering the maximum punishments. This is why hiring a strategic criminal defense lawyer is imperative to protect your rights and help build your case.
In addition, your attorney can assess and investigate every aspect of your case thoroughly and strategize a solid defense to help fight your charges. Above all, your attorney can fight intelligently on your side, refute the accusations against you with overwhelming evidence and facts, and improve your chances of a better tomorrow.
Don't Hesitate to Contact an Attorney for Help
The ramifications of a criminal charge or conviction are often far-reaching and might impact every aspect of your life, career, and future. Nevertheless, getting experienced legal guidance and representation is imperative to pursue a favorable outcome in your case.
At Darryl A. Stallworth Law Office, I have the skill and diligence to defend and represent clients in their criminal cases. Using my extensive knowledge, I can help you navigate the California criminal justice system and represent you intelligently at every phase of the court proceedings.
Contact me at Darryl A. Stallworth Law Office today to schedule a simple case assessment with a highly-skilled criminal defense lawyer. I will fight aggressively to defend your rights and help keep your record as clean as possible. My firm proudly serves clients across Oakland, Alameda County, Northern California, San Francisco, and the Bay Area, California.