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Serious Defense for Serious Criminal Charges

When you have been arrested, it is vital that you take immediate action to defend your rights and avoid a conviction by retaining an experienced criminal defense attorney. A conviction could not only lead to harsh penalties — such as jail, prison, fines, and probation — but would also force you to live with a criminal record, potentially affecting your future career and educational opportunities.

You owe it to yourself to do everything you can to resolve your criminal defense case efficiently and with minimum damage to your reputation and freedoms. Choose The Law Offices of Jacqueline Goodman and work with a Certified Criminal Law Specialist: Attorney Jacqueline Goodman. With her track record of success built across decades of legal experience, she stands ready to protect you and your rights, no matter what charges have been filed.

California Criminal Law

When being charged with a criminal offense, there are three categories your case can fall into. They are:

Misdemeanors

Some crimes that are most likely to be charged as misdemeanors include public intoxication, theft, and trespassing. A misdemeanor can result in a sentence of up to a year in prison. Misdemeanors also often come with a fine between $1,000 to $2,000.

Felonies

Felonies are used for the most significant criminal charges. A felony can result in life in prison or probation. Crimes under this category can include domestic violence, some cases of DUI or DWI, murder or manslaughter, and assault.

Infractions

Infractions do not result in prison time. These are often traffic violations or other minor issues. Infractions may result in a fine, and there is usually not a full trial conducted for an infraction. This means there’s no jury or public defender assigned to these cases. Infractions are the least severe of the types of criminal offenses in California.

Some crimes can fall into multiple categories or a gray area between misdemeanor and felony. In these cases, the defendant can be charged for either a misdemeanor or felony and they are called “wobbler offenses.” Prior convictions or the use of a weapon can have a significant influence on whether the case is determined a felony or misdemeanor.

The following are some examples of wobbler offenses:

  • DUI
  • Possession of a controlled substance
  • Assault with a deadly weapon
  • Spousal abuse
  • Domestic violence
  • Child abuse

This is not an exhaustive list, but these are some of the crimes that may fall into multiple categories.

Understanding which category your offense falls into is important in determining what kind of sentence you may be facing if you are convicted. If you have been charged with a crime, it is crucial to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss your case and your options.

California Arrest Process

There is not necessarily a quick process to go from being arrested to court. There are a few steps in the court process when you are arrested.

Arraignment

Arraignment is after you have been arrested, and it’s your first time in court for the claims brought against you. During this time, you are:

  • Getting familiar with your judge and the prosecution for the first time.
  • Read your rights. This encompasses your right to an attorney, even if you cannot afford an attorney.
  • Getting familiar with what you are being charged with.
  • Determining whether to plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest.
  • Finding out if bail is possible.

It’s important to have a trusted attorney by your side during this process.

Bail

If bail is an option for you, it will be set during your arraignment. Bail is an amount of money that can be paid for your release. This is to ensure you are committed to your future court dates and are less likely to try and run away.

Pre-Trial Conference

The pre-trial conference, also referred to as a “status conference,” is a meeting between you, your attorney, the prosecutor, and the judge. You might be offered a plea bargain or an agreement between you and the prosecutor that might lower your charges if you plead guilty. You want to have an attorney during this time so they can help determine if the plea bargain is fair. The case can also be dropped during this phase of the process as well.

Trial

There are two choices if your case goes to trial — a jury trial or a court trial. A court trial is listened to and decided on by a judge, while a jury trial includes a jury of peers to make the decision. They must find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt to prosecute the defendant.

Sentencing

Once a verdict is reached, the judge will announce the sentence. If you are found guilty, you might have to serve jail time, probation, pay fines, or do community service. If you are found not guilty, then you go free and receive no punishment.

Appeals

If you are not happy with the decision or sentence, you can file an appeal. This is a request to have a higher court review your case. Not all cases are accepted to be reviewed by an appeals court. You must have new evidence or show that there was some legal error for your case to be appealable.

FAQs About California CriminaL Law

How Much Does a Criminal Defense Lawyer Cost in California?

Criminal defense attorneys often charge an hourly rate instead of a flat fee for their services. Sometimes, if a case is complex, attorneys will charge an hourly rate as well, and these rates vary between different criminal defense attorneys. Since rates can depend on the skill level of the lawyer, they can vary from anywhere between $250 to $750 an hour.

How Can You Find a Criminal Defense Attorney?

You can ask family or friends for recommendations, look up attorneys in your area online, or contact your local bar association. Look for reviews and testimonials of each lawyer as well to help you make the best decision.

What Can a Criminal Defense Lawyer Do for Their Clients?

A criminal defense lawyer’s job is to protect their client’s constitutional rights and make sure they are treated fairly by the criminal justice system. The attorney investigates the case against their client, negotiates with prosecutors, and represents their clients in court. Criminal defense lawyers can help reduce the number of consequences for your criminal case.

What Should You Ask When Hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney?

Choosing a criminal defense attorney can be a difficult task. The following are some good questions to ask a potential criminal defense lawyer for your case:

  • How long have you been practicing law?
  • What is your experience with cases like mine?
  • What are your fees and how do you charge?
  • What are the potential consequences of my case?
  • What are my chances of winning at trial?
  • What could happen if I am found guilty?
  • Can I get the charges against me dropped?
  • Can you help me understand the evidence against me?
  • Do you have any experience with witnesses in my case?
  • If I am found guilty, what kind of sentence am I looking at?
  • What are the chances I will have to go to trial?
  • If I do go to trial, what can I expect?
  • What are my rights during the criminal justice process?

Is law enforcement allowed to search my house or car?

Property and privacy rights are some of the most important for American citizens. Police are only allowed to search your vehicle or home if they have a warrant, if they have probable cause, or if you give explicit consent for them to do so. You are never required to consent a police search of your property, and you should never feel pressured to do so. If you believe that you were the victim of unlawful search and seizure, contact The Law Office of Jacqueline Goodman immediately to safeguard your rights.

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

No. Law enforcement officers are 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 the police want to ask you questions that might elicit incriminating answers, they will probably read the Miranda warning just to be safe. Consult a defense attorney before speaking with law enforcement so you can be safe.

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 them and insist on speaking 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 later.

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 available 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. Grand juries are typically reserved for high-level felonies and federal crimes.

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 evidence 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, they probably still won't pursue that particular case because of its potential holes. You can only be prosecuted once per alleged offense, so prosecutors have to be careful when deciding when to act.

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.

I'm innocent. Do I still need a criminal defense lawyer in Orange County, CA?

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, though.

If you are facing criminal charges in California, it is important to hire a qualified criminal defense attorney to represent you. The outcome of your case could have serious consequences, and an experienced lawyer can help you navigate the criminal justice system and give you the best chance at a favorable outcome.

Arrested?
Make The Right call

Schedule A Consultation Now  >
While charges such as DUI and drug possession are common across the country, it's difficult to find a criminal defense attorney who has thorough experience with serious crimes such as manslaughter or human trafficking. When the stakes are so high, you need the experienced, expert criminal defense services of Attorney Jacqueline Goodman.

She combats your charges head-on by utilizing a variety of strategies and working tirelessly to come to a favorable result. If it can be proved that a search was made illegally or you were arrested improperly, your case could be dismissed, for example. Each case is unique, so she uses a unique approach to evaluate and perfect each one. With her help, you could avoid the heavy fines and prison time of a criminal conviction.

Put your trust in a proven criminal defense lawyer

Attorney Jacqueline Goodman has more than 20 years of experience in criminal defense. As the President of California Attorneys for Criminal Justice and the standalone vice chair of the Sex Offenses division of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, she has been at the forefront of criminal law in California and across the nation.
Initial consultations are free at The Law Offices of Jacqueline Goodman in Orange County because everyone deserves a chance to defend themselves. Call (714) 733-1737 now.

facing criminal charges?

Attorney Goodman handles a wide variety of criminal cases and accused crimes. Don’t see your charges below? Contact us for a consultation.

dedicated to criminal defense
for over 20+ years

  • If you need a lawyer,
    she is the one you want.

    “Her knowledge and professionalism are what helped me get through a difficult time.”
    avvo review
  • If you need a lawyer,
    she is the one you want.

    “Her knowledge and professionalism are what helped me get through a difficult time.”
    avvo review
  • If you need a lawyer,
    she is the one you want.

    “Her knowledge and professionalism are what helped me get through a difficult time.”
    avvo review

Real clients. real cases.
Winning Results.

Protecting yourself in the face of criminal accusations or charges is serious and, when it comes to your defense, experience counts. Attorney Goodman has tried countless cases and achieved numerous successful outcomes for her clients. She was at the forefront of several high-profile cases, including the murder of an MLB pitcher and the widely known free speech case known as the “Irvine 11.” Browse some of Attorney Goodman’s recent case results to learn more about her exceptional track record.
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case dismissed

Case dismissed

criminal car accident

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case dismissed

Case dismissed

criminal car accident

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case dismissed

Case dismissed

criminal car accident

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case dismissed

Case dismissed

criminal car accident

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