When you or a loved one is charged with a crime, life as you know it will change dramatically. Every interaction and every relationship will be tainted by the accusation. The best thing you can do is to obtain the objective advice of a criminal defense attorney who can ensure that your voice is heard that you receive a fair trial. The Law Offices of Jonathan Franklin can assist with all your criminal defense charges, including:
- Assault & Battery
- Drug Crimes
- Fraud Crimes
- Theft Crimes
- or Sex Crimes.
All the significant aspects of your case - including settlements, negotiations and your trial - will be handled by a senior partner, rather than by inexperienced associates. Personalized attorney-client interaction ensures a more thorough success rate when it comes to criminal defense, while years of experience ensures that your rights are fearlessly and aggressively defended.
Criminal Defense Practice Areas Explained
There are many different criminal defense practice areas and sub areas. Here are just a few.
Assault and Battery
Although typically lumped together, battery and assault are considered two separate crimes under California law, and apply under both civil and criminal law. Known as intentional tort in civil law, this section focuses on criminal assault and criminal battery, which are covered in the California Penal Code (Chapter 9).
Assault is defined as the unlawful attempt to inflict violent injury on another person. To win the case, a prosecutor does not have to prove that physical contact occured, but must be able to illustrate that the defendant had the intent and present ability to follow through.
Battery is the action of willfully making contact with someone else through violence or force. Various levels of severity are established within the Penal Code, as well as code sections that apply to battery against emergency response personnel, school employees, police officers and so forth.
The law contains special laws used in domestic violence cases.
In the most severe cases, the law allows prosecutors to pursue aggravated assault or aggravated battery in cases where they are able to show aggravating circumstances, such as the use of a deadly weapon. Aggravated assault charges also include assault with the intent to commit a felony, such as rape or murder.
If you are convicted of simple assault, you may face the following punishments:
- 6 months in a county jail
- $1,000 fine
- and restitution to the victim.
If you are convicted of battery, you may face the following punishments for a misdemeanor:
- 6 months in county jail
- $2,000 fine
If your battery is considered a felony, it will be punishable by:
- up to three 3 years in a state prison or county jail and / or
- a fine (minimum $2,000 or maximum $10,000
- restitution to the victims.
Expert criminal defense lawyers will look at which of your rights have been violated when considering possible defenses, which may include:
- defending another person
- defending personal property or your home
DUI - Driving Under the Influence
It is a crime to drive under the influence of impairing drugs or alcohol. Known mostly as driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence (DIU), this crime is taken seriously and attracts serious punishment, since it is estimated that as many as 40% of all traffic deaths in the U.S. are caused by driving under the influence.
When you are arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), you have ten days to get in touch with the DMV to schedule a DMV Administrative Per Se Hearing, or you stand to lose your drivers license. An experienced DUI lawyer has dealt with many similar cases and can help provide expert criminal defense based on your constitutional rights.
Your legal representative will fight for your rights, including:
- investigating probable cause as to why you were stopped
- verifying the accuracy of preliminary alcohol tests (PAS) as well as that of your blood and chemical breath tests
- attempting to exclude any incriminating admissions or statements made during the arrest or while you were detained.
- preventing your license from being suspended.
Experienced drug defense lawyers deal with both felony and misdemeanor drug crimes on a daily basis and can help have the charges against you reduced or dismissed to help you avoid severe penalties such as fines, probation and prison or jail time.
Drug crimes vary, and may include:
- illegal cultivation of marijuana
- manufacturing of methamphetamine
- drug possession
- drug sales
- transportation or drugs
- drug distribution or trafficking
- and more.
When you are investigated or arrested for drug charges, it is important to get in touch with an expert criminal defense lawyer with experience in drug charges and can defend your rights against faulty search warrants and illegal search and seizures.
Additionally, a criminal defense attorney with drug crimes experience can help to have the charges against you dismissed by placing you into a residential drug rehabilitation center or obtaining drug counseling.
In recent years, the media have turned their spotlight onto white collar or theft crimes, which has resulted in more stringent regulation and corporate governance and financial misconduct can be subject to prosecution.
Fraud or theft crimes - also known as larceny - involve taking another person or entity's money or property and using it in an illicit manner. Most often, white collar crimes are motivated by financial gain. In most cases, these crimes involve abusing a position of trust, committing deceit or subterfuge. These are the elements that distinguish fraud crimes from common robbery or theft.
A knowledgeable fraud crimes attorney has the resources and experience to prepare a viable strategic defense that suits the specific factors of your case. White collar and theft crimes may include, but are not limited to:
- Bank fraud
- Bad checks
- Computer fraud
- Corporate misreporting of financial information
- Credit card fraud
- Elder abuse
- Grand theft
- Identity theft
- Insurance fraud
- Medicare fraud
- Mail fraud
- Money laundering
- Mortgage fraud
- Petty theft
- Racketeering / RICO
- Securities fraud
- Tax evasion
Depending on the charges filed against you, white collar crimes may breach a variety of federal and state laws, which will govern the potential punishments. It is important to retain an experienced criminal defense attorney with white collar crime experience to defend you against potential criminal liability.
A separate legal definition exists for theft, which refers to crimes whereby someone takes another person's property without explicit permission. However, due to the broad nature of the crime, theft may encompass various legal crime categories and differing degrees. It is generally defined by two distinct elements:
- taking possession of another person's property without authorization
- the intent to permanently deprive the person of his or her property.
Within the defense of theft crimes, various key elements are considered, namely:
the type of property that was stolen, and
- the value of the property that was stolen
Depending on the jurisdiction, theft crimes may be assigned a degree. For example, property with a low market value may be considered a third degree theft, whereas the crime of stealing property with a value above the law established limit will be considered first degree theft. It may also be considered petty theft or grand theft.
- Petty theft typically involves stealing property with a low value, and is often considered a misdemeanor.
- Grand theft involves stealing property with a higher market value. Grand theft (or grand larceny) is considered a felony offense in states across the U.S. and is a serious offense that carries severe punishment for the convicted individual.
An experienced criminal defense attorney can help defend your rights and design a defense strategy based on the facts of your case. The alleged theft may have been a result of an honest misunderstanding regarding the ownership of the property, or you may have taken it under duress. If you and your attorney are able to establish that you had an honest belief that the property belonged to you, or that you had a valid claim to it, you will have to provide evidence that supports your case.
If you were intoxicated at the time at which the alleged theft took pace, you may be able to use intoxication as a viable defense. However, you still need to provide proof.
While returning stolen property may not provide a defense against theft charges, it may help to paint a sympathetic picture to help secure a plea deal and to help reduce penalties.
Another possible defense would be to claim that you intended to borrow the property at the time and that you had permission to do so, and that you forgot to return it.
Different types of defenses will apply to a larceny case.
While a variety of offenses are categorised as sex crimes, most involve coerced or illegal sexual misconduct against other individuals. All U.S. states have laws that prohibit sex crimes, including sexual assault and rape, as well as statute of limitations (time limits) that determine the amount of time a victim has to report a sex crime.
A person who is convicted of any type of sex crime, regardless or the severity of the offense, is considered a sex offender and their names will be added to the federal and state sex offender registries. In recent years, the number of cases relating to online sexual solicitation of minors has increased tremendously.
Sex crimes include, but are not limited, to:
- indecent exposure
- pandering and lewd conduct
- prostitution and pimping
- sexual assault and battery
- rape and date rape
- statutory rape
- spousal rape
- child enticement, molestation and pornography
- internet sting operations
Being investigated for or charged with sex crimes - whether you are guilty or innocent - carries a stigma that can turn your entire life upside down. Not only does it affect your social life, but the devastating effects can carry over into your personal life, family life and career, making it impossible to find employment in the future.
In addition to the ripple effects of the charges, a conviction will probably result in:
- time spent in county jail
- state prison confinement
- compulsory attendance of counseling programs
- payment of fees and fines
- probation, and
- lifetime registration as a sex offender
An expert criminal law attorney with sex crimes experience will be able to formulate your best defense, based on the details of the case. The goal is to defend your rights and to ensure that your side of the story is heard in order to reduce or drop charges against you and keep you off the sex offenders registry.
Understanding the Steps to Successful Criminal Defense
The statutes of limitations will determine the amount of time available for a person to file charges against you.
When the case is lodged with the office of the State's Attorney, they will issue a summons to you - the defendant. The issue serves as a notification that you have been charged and that you are expected to appear in court. The summons will contain the court date.
A warrant for your arrest may also be issued at the same time as the summons, in which case you will be held in custody until after your bail hearing.
During your first court appearance, the judge will inform you of:
- the charges levied against you
- your right to legal counsel
- the nature of charges levied against you
After this court appearance, discovery begins. Discovery involves collecting the information to be submitted during your trial, as well as any pretrial requests regarding hearing or suppressing evidence.
Depending on the evidence, your criminal defense attorney will advise on your decision to plead guilty, and the prosecutor and defense attorney may reach an agreement regarding the charges that will be brought and the sentence that will be imposed.
If you decide to plead not guilty, your case will likely go to trial and evidence will be presented to the jury who will decide on whether or not you are guilty beyond reasonable doubt.
Your Right to Criminal Defense
Don't wait until you are charged with a crime to obtain legal counsel. You are entitled to have an attorney present whether you are questioned as a bystander or a suspect.
Call the Law Offices of Jonathan Franklin today on 310-273-9600 to ensure that your civil rights are protected during the course of a criminal investigation, or if you require criminal defense.