Criminal Defense FAQ

Answers from an Orange County Criminal Lawyer

Am I required to allow law enforcement to search my house or my car?

No. You are never obligated to consent to a police search. Generally speaking, it isn't wise to let the police search your car or home. However, the police may attempt to detain you until they obtain a search warrant. Don't be intimidated. Under certain circumstances, law enforcement may search your car of home without a warrant- but only if they have "probable cause" to do so. If you believe that your home or car was searched illegally, contact the Law Offices of Jacqueline Goodman today.

Are the police required to read my rights when I'm arrested?

No. law enforcement is not legally required to "read your rights" at the time of your arrest. The Miranda Warning is only required if law enforcement plans on using your statements against you in court. Additionally, the warning is only required if you are in police custody. If police want to ask you questions that might elicit incriminating answers, they will probably read the Miranda Warning. Consult a criminal defense attorney before speaking with law enforcement.

What happens if the police ask for a statement and I refuse? Will I be arrested for refusing to cooperate?

You cannot be arrested or charged with a crime for exercising your right to remain silent. The Fifth Amendment allows you to remain silent and avoid giving testimony against yourself. If a police officer tries to intimidate you into waiving your rights, do not believe him / her and speak with a lawyer as soon as possible. Judges cannot set a high bail for not cooperating with law enforcement, but some officers try to make you think that you are required to give a statement. In reality, officers may try to scare you into making a statement so that it will be easier to obtain a conviction in court.

What is a Grand Jury and how will it affect my case?

A grand jury is a collection of individuals used to determine whether or not there is enough evidence to take a case to trial. For example: If you were arrested for a drug crime, a grand jury might be used to figure out whether or not the prosecution has a legitimate case against you. The grand jury will base its determination on witness testimony, documents, and other evidence. At the end of the proceedings, the jury will decide whether or not the case will actually go to trial. If there is not enough evidence to conduct a trial, your case will not move forward.

How does the prosecution determine the charges I will face?

Typically, the prosecution pursues charges with enough evidence to back them up. In other words, the prosecution will look for a legally sound case. If a case contains some kind of inherent flaw, it probably isn't worth pursuing. Then, prosecuting attorneys decide whether or not there is enough evident to pursue a conviction. If there isn't, the case will probably be dropped or another charge will be considered. "Enough" evidence is determined by the quantity of the evidence held against you and the quality. For example, if the prosecuting attorney has a large quantity of questionable evidence, he / she probably won't pursue that particular case.

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What is a plea bargain? Is it ever a good idea?

Plea bargaining occurs when the prosecution and the defense try to make a deal with each other. For instance, the prosecution might offer the defendant a lesser charge if he/she agrees to plead guilty. Sometimes, plea bargaining is your best legal option. If the evidence is stacked against your favor, the Orange County criminal defense attorney from the Law Offices of Jacqueline Goodman can help you get a reasonable plea bargain.

Do I really need a lawyer if I'm going to plead guilty?

Yes. A skilled defense attorney is imperative – even if you plan on taking a plea bargain. A lawyer can help you decide if the plea bargain is really your best option. Additionally, your lawyer can help you determine whether or not the prosecution has enough evidence to offer you a plea bargain for a specific offense. Without a lawyer, the prosecution might assume that you are going to plead guilty and offer you an unreasonable bargain. An attorney can help you negotiate for an agreement.

Is there a difference between probation and parole?

Yes. Parole occurs after an individual has been imprisoned for a criminal offense; probation may be employed as an actual criminal sentence. Generally speaking, parole is used to monitor an individual after they are released from prison. On the other hand, probation is an actual criminal sentence used to monitor people who were convicted for lesser offenses. DUI, theft crimes, and certain juvenile offenses are often punishable by probation.

I'm innocent. Do I still need a criminal defense lawyer?

Yes. It doesn't matter if you actually committed a crime; you are subject to the same fines and penalties as everyone else in the event of a conviction. A defense attorney can fight aggressively to make sure that your rights are protected. If you've been accused of a serious crime, contact the Law Offices of Jacqueline Goodman today. Attorney Goodman has served clients in Orange County for many years and is ready to fight for you. Contact the firm today for the legal representation you need.

Contact an Orange County Law Firm for Help

If you have questions about how to fight the criminal charges you face, contact an Orange County criminal defense attorney from our firm for the answers you need. Attorney Goodman has focused exclusively on criminal defense for 20 years and is prepared to aggressively defend you from a conviction.

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