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If you have been charged with a crime of violence, my office will you pursue an effective defense strategy for crimes like assault, aggravated assault, battery and domestic violence. If you are being charged with a drug crime, such as the possession of an illegal narcotic or transportation, my office is ready to aggressively pursue your rights today. If you are being charged with the manufacture, possession or distribution of a synthetic drug, my office is ready to fight for you. We also represent individuals charged with other drug-related offenses such as distribution, cultivation, and crimes involving medical marijuana. If your charges include a theft related offense, such as burglary, robbery, or shoplifting, contact us today. My office will also defend your rights if you have been charged with a serious sex crime, including rape, child pornography, sexual assault or more. We also handle juvenile crime matters.

Arraignment/ First Appearance

Both felony and misdemeanor cases begin with an arraignment or first appearance in the lower courts. The first appearance must happen within 24 hours of your arrest. This is where you will be informed of the charges against you and made aware of some of your rights. If you are charged with a misdemeanor, this will be your first opportunity to tell the judge how you plan to plea (guilty, not guilty, no contest).

If you plead guilty at a misdemeanor arraignment, the judge may sentence you on the spot. Also at your first appearance, the judge may set bail. This is entirely up the judge and the statutes that govern the charges you face. Some very serious crimes are not eligible for bail. Otherwise, the judge will take your situation and the circumstances of your offense into consideration when determining if you can be released pending further court proceedings.


Bail is simply an amount of money that a defendant puts up as a promise to return for future court dates. The judge will take into consideration both the severity of your crime and your stability within the community.

Before setting bail, a judge wants to ensure that:

1. You are not a risk to the community, and

2. You are not a “flight risk” (you will return).

There are a few different release options the judge may consider in your case. Own Recognizance- If a judge releases you on your own recognizance (O.R. bond) she is trusting that you will return and not requiring you to put forth any money. Cash Bail- A judge may require that you pay the entire bail amount in order to be released. Surety Bond- Only a portion of the bail is required in a surety bond. Often times a bailbondsmen will promise the court that they will be responsible for the remainder of the bail if you fail to appear.

Pre-Trial Misdemeanor Proceedings Following the arraignment and entering a plea of not guilty or no contest, a pretrial conference may be held between the defense and the prosecution. The pretrial conference will most likely include discussions about plea bargains and pre-trial motions.

Pre-Trial Felony Proceedings

Preliminary Examination or Hearing All defendants charged with a felony in California are entitled to a preliminary hearing. This is where the prosecution shows the court that they have enough evidence to go to trial. It is very similar in format to a trial; however your guilt or innocence does not have to be proven at this stage.

Your right to a preliminary hearing can be waived. Anytime you wish to waive a constitutional right, you should be certain of your decision. Conferring with an experienced attorney ensures your decision is well informed. If the preliminary hearing finds sufficient probable cause, your case will be “bound over” to Superior Court for felony arraignment.

Felony Superior Court Arraignment

If you are charged with a felony, you will face arraignment at the Superior Court level. This is where you will have the opportunity to enter your plea. Your bail may also be reviewed at this stage. Your attorney can also petition the court to lower your bail.

Plea Bargains Prior to trial, whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, the prosecution will most likely offer you a plea “deal”. Because the majority of criminal cases in the country end in plea bargains, it is important to understand what exactly they are.

The prosecution for the State of California wants you to either admit to certain elements (or all elements) of your offense, or they want you to be found guilty. A plea bargain ensures they get the guilty plea they are looking for.

In exchange for your guilty plea, the prosecutor may offer a reduction in your charges, a lower sentencing recommendation, or both. Entering a guilty plea will forever mark your record.

However, in some situations a plea is the best option. It is vital that you have an experienced attorney to consult when considering plea agreements offered by the prosecution.

Pre-Trial Motions

The period of time between the arraignment and trial in a felony case can last a long time. Attorneys for both sides may enter motions to continue the case if they need more time to prepare. They may also make evidentiary motions to ask the court to rule on evidence prior to the trial.


Typically, no matter the charges you are facing, your trial will follow a set guideline. There are certain steps that each trial goes through. Some trials may last a few hours, while others can drag on for weeks. An experienced attorney can help set your expectations about trial.

1. Opening Statements: This is where the attorneys introduce the case to the judge and jurors.

2. Presentation of Evidence: This stage of the trial can be the longest. It is during the presentation of evidence that the prosecution attempts to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that you committed the crime you are charged with. The prosecution and defense take turns both in presenting evidence and questioning witnesses.

3. Closing Arguments: Closing arguments are the last opportunity each side will have to address the jury and judge.

4. Judge’s Instructions to the Jury

5. Jury Deliberations: The jury will retire to private chambers to decide your fate. A jury’s decision must be unanimous.

6. Verdict: Once the jury has reached a decision, the judge will enter a verdict. If you have been found guilty, the judge may sentence you that day but will most likely set sentencing for a future date.

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