Van Nuys Felony Lawyers
Tough Attorneys Serving the San Fernando Valley
California law recognizes three types of crimes: infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies. As the most serious variety of criminal offense, felonies carry a prison sentence of at least one year, and for especially dangerous crimes, even a life sentence. Some felonies can even be punishable by the death penalty.
Very few people who are convicted of a felony receive a death sentence, however, especially first-time offenders. Whether you’ve got a strike on your record or you’re facing criminal proceedings for the first time, you need a skilled team of Van Nuys felony lawyers to help you get through this.
Types of Felonies
Most felonies are serious crimes against people or property. Though some crimes are “straight” felonies (only ever charged as felonies), some crimes can be charged as either misdemeanors or felonies, depending on circumstances. These crimes are sometimes referred to as “wobblers.”
Here’s a list of some wobbler crimes in California:
- Assault on a custodial officer
- Battery, if against certain public officials resulting in bodily injury
- Bringing a firearm, knife, or deadly weapon into a state or local public building
- Conspiracy to obstruct justice
- Vehicular manslaughter involving either drugs/alcohol or gross negligence
- Misdemeanors combined with a death or serious bodily injury charge
If you cannot be cleared of charges, it may still be possible to argue down to a misdemeanor charge on these and other offenses. It’s also possible for a felony conviction to be expunged and reduced to a misdemeanor. In order to do this, a special petition must be filed.
A Legal Team On Your Side
More is at stake in a felony charge than there would be for a misdemeanor or infraction. Your personal life, finances, future employment, and more could be affected by the prison time or fines you’re facing.
Calling a team of Van Nuys felony attorneys right away could change the course of your future. At Williams And Seemen, we are criminal defense lawyers with a combined 25 years of experience, and we’re not intimidated by difficult cases or by the prosecution. We are skilled defenders at trial, and treat our clients like members of our team, working with them every step of the way.
Reach our Van Nuys felony lawyers at (818) 536-7776 today and ask for a free consultation.
I've been arrested, what should I do?
First, remain silent. Just because you are arrested, it does not automatically mean charges will be filed against you. Staying quiet, however, is the most important decision you can make If you are ever questioned by police, do not give a statement. Be polite, calm, and state, “I am choosing to remain silent, I want a lawyer.” Once any statements are made, those admissions can very well be enough to have the case filed. Do not consent to searches, this too allows officers to do anything they want to your property and you, and by giving them consent you make their jobs even easier. Once you are arrested, it is true the police no longer need your permission or a warrant to search–they are allowed to search your person and what is within your immediate control–however, they still will need your permission or a warrant to search certain things, for example a cell phone, so, never consent to a search when the officers ask for your permission. Never flee or run–this makes things worse–additional charges can be added, and worse you can be hurt–tased, shot, beat, you name it. Once in a holding cell, stay quiet as well. Anyone can be a snitch and the jail cell or even the backseat of the patrol car could be wired for sound–save the conversations with your lawyer, which are confidential and cannot hurt you. Also, once you are out, do not post about your case on social media. District Attorneys, City Attorneys and yes police monitor social media–and what you say or WRITE can and will be used against you.
I have my first court appearance-what chould I expect?
The first Court date is called the arraignment. That is where an accused will enter a plea (not guilty, guilty or no contest), bail and release can be determined, and a future court date is set: either a pretrial or in a felony case, the preliminary hearing. You will also be advised of your Constitutional rights and know your specific charges. In most misdemeanor cases, your attorney can make the appearance on your behalf without you having to be present. If you are charged with a felony, there are essentially two arraignment hearings –one occurs at the very start of your case. The second occurs after the preliminary hearing. If you are in custody, you MUST be arraigned within 48 hours (not including weekends or holidays). Once you enter a plea of not guilty, you have the right to a speedy trial. In a misdemeanor trial, a speedy trial must be done within 45 days unless your defense requests a delay. If you are in custody, the trial must be done within 30 days, unless your defense requests a delay. In a felony case, you have the right to a preliminary hearing within 10 days of your arraignment. After your preliminary hearing, you also have an “Information Arraignment,” in which case you have the right to trial within 60 days of this second arraignment.
So what is a preliminary hearing?
The DA presents evidence and witnesses to the alleged crime–and the standard to determine if there is enough evidence to justify holding the defendant to answer for the alleged crime. The Defense has the opportunity to cross examine all witnesses and even call their own witnesses. By the end of the hearing the Judge must determine if there is enough evidence to allow the case to enter the next stage of the proceeding (information arraignment) before the matter is set for trial. If there is insufficient evidence presented at the preliminary hearing, the Judge will dismiss the case.