Fullerton Criminal Defense Lawyer
Criminal charges are serious. Unlike civil cases, criminal cases can result in serious punishments that have long-reaching effects on your life. Yet, despite the severity of these cases, defendants always have rights under US law. These rights can help you navigate the days and weeks following an arrest and allow you time to find a criminal defense lawyer to fight for you.
If you have been arrested on criminal charges, you should understand your rights, the court process, and what to expect when it comes to your case. Understanding these key factors can help you develop a strategy, navigate your case intentionally, and prepare for all possibilities.
Whether you are guilty or not, the serious nature of criminal cases requires a strong attorney to help build your case. Our team at the Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann can help you develop a strong argument and give you the best chance of avoiding serious and life-changing consequences.
The Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann: Your Fullerton Criminal Defense Attorneys
Not all criminal lawyers are the same. Our team has over 15 years of experience working in criminal defense of all kinds. We have a thorough understanding of the criminal justice system and what you can realistically expect when it comes to your case. We promise to be straightforward and honest with you and never to pass judgment on your experiences, story, or case. No matter what has or has not happened, you deserve fair representation in court.
Though we are sympathetic and compassionate with our clients, we fight ruthlessly in the courtroom. The justice system has failed many people, and it is our mission to ensure that you are not in that group. Whether you are facing serious drug crimes or a simple driving under the influence (DUI) charge, we give every case the best care and passion that we have.
If you need an Orange County criminal attorney, no firm can better represent you than our team at the Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann.
What Is a Criminal Case?
Criminal cases make up a significant part of the judicial system. In fact, it is one of two categories of cases that go through the court. Civil cases are the other major judicial category.
Civil cases involve one individual bringing charges against another individual for something that they have done. The prosecuting individual can drop these charges if they want. However, if the case goes through court, the jury must have a majority to decide.
Criminal cases are much stricter. In criminal cases, the government brings charges against the defendant. Their aim is to enforce the law and punish those who do not follow it, and the government rarely drops its charges in these cases. The jury must make a unanimous decision rather than coming to a simple majority. The consequences of a guilty criminal verdict are often more serious than in a criminal case. Prison, large fines, and other serious repercussions are possible in a criminal case.
Why Do I Need an Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney?
Trying to navigate a criminal case without an attorney is a fool’s errand. The state has powerful, experienced attorneys working for it, and they all know how to do their jobs well. These attorneys can spin any story to meet their needs, meaning that they can paint you in a terrible light if that is their aim. Your only hope is to refute or dismantle their claims so that the jury doubts whether you are guilty. If the jury has a reasonable doubt about your guilt, they must find you not guilty.
It is extremely difficult to refute the state’s claims on your own. These arguments require precise use of the law, which is difficult to accomplish without extensive training and practice. If you represent yourself, you will likely be unable to properly refute the prosecution’s claims, which will leave the jury no choice but to convict. State prosecutors can turn even the smallest charges into significant cases if they are uncontested.
Take your criminal charges seriously and hire an attorney. This is not an opportunity to take chances or represent yourself. You need serious legal help for serious charges.
Common Criminal Charges
Though criminal law is a large portion of the legal system, there are some offenses that are more common than others. Understanding these offenses can help give you a better idea of the criminal justice system and how it operates.
Common criminal charges include:
- Drug crimes
- Assault and battery
- Murder and homicide
- Sex crimes
- Shoplifting or theft
- Domestic violence
This is not an exhaustive list, and many more offenses fall under criminal charges. It is also important to note that not all criminal offenses carry the same charges. While some may come with jail or prison time, others require only community service or fines.
Consequences for Criminal Charges
Because the criminal category of the justice system is so large, each offense is charged differently. If you are found guilty of a crime, the judge will choose from a punishment range based on the severity of your actions. You may receive a reduced punishment if you strike a plea deal before the court process.
Most crimes are divided between felonies and misdemeanors. While misdemeanors can carry jail time, felonies almost always require time in prison. In addition, these offenses will stay on your record, which can make it difficult to find a job, secure housing, and set up lines of credit. This is especially true with felony charges, whereas misdemeanors can be overlooked by potential employers, landlords, and creditors.
Ultimately, if the court finds you guilty, your punishment will depend on your case’s circumstances. Three major factors that a judge will assess are:
- If you have prior offenses.
- If you harmed someone else physically.
- If you had a weapon when you committed the crime (this is considered an aggravated offense).
For example, someone who shoplifts as their first offense will get less severe punishment than someone who shoplifts by threatening employees with a knife.
DUI Criminal Charges
The most common criminal offense is driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Anyone can commit this crime, and many people may commit it without realizing that they are doing it. The laws are precise when it comes to DUIs, and it is often difficult to determine which actions are okay and which are not.
California state law dictates that a person cannot legally drive a car if they are under the influence of drugs or if they have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or higher. However, different people need to consume different amounts of beverages to reach this limit, which can make it more difficult to track.
The law takes DUIs very seriously. While the court charges most as a misdemeanor, you can be charged with a felony DUI if:
- You harmed or killed someone.
- You have had three or more prior DUIs.
You can also expect a license suspension after a DUI, regardless of whether it is your first or not.
What to Do If You Are Arrested
If you are arrested on criminal charges of any kind, you should follow a strict set of instructions. These tips will help you preserve your case and prevent you from inadvertently admitting guilt or involvement. Follow these tips for the best results:
- Do not resist arrest. The more you resist or try to get away, the more the court will assume guilt. The court can also add charges if you attempt to run from a police officer or otherwise harm them during an arrest. Your best option is to follow their instructions.
- Do not talk. You have the right to remain silent, a fact that the police must state to you when you are under arrest. They can use anything you say against you in court, so it is best to remain silent about what happened. Do not answer questions or make any statements until your lawyer arrives.
- Call your attorney right away. Even if you are innocent, it is important that you have your attorney present when you speak with officials. It is easier than one might think to say the wrong thing and cause significant problems, even if you have not done anything wrong.
These three tips can help preserve your case and give you the best chance at freedom. First, never rely on the circumstances; always remain diligent and assume that the court will find you guilty if given a chance.
What Do People Hire Criminal Defense Attorneys For?
One of the pillars of our democracy is the concept that the defendant is “innocent until proven guilty.” This means that, technically, the defense does not have to do anything. The burden of proof is on the prosecution. It is their job to create a convincing argument that shows that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The defendant technically does not have to prove their innocence.
Though this seems easy, it rarely is. Prosecuting attorneys create very convincing arguments against their defendants. They can infuse evidence with meaning that is inaccurate and sways the jury. In order to maintain your innocence, you need to reveal weak spots in the prosecution’s logic and give convincing evidence that refutes their claims. Otherwise, the jury will likely find you guilty on all charges.
Your Fullerton defense attorney’s job is to create doubt in the prosecution’s argument. We do this by collecting evidence, bringing forth witnesses, and cross-examining the prosecution’s witnesses to find inaccuracies.
How Much Do Fullerton Criminal Defense Lawyers Charge?
It is difficult to say how much your criminal defense attorney will charge. All law firms and attorneys charge differently; some charge a flat rate while others charge by the hour. Their rates and fee structures often depend on their expertise, the length of time in business, and the complexity of your case.
Always speak with potential defense attorneys about their fees and costs before you hire them. If you fail to discuss your budget with them, you run the risk of being unable to afford their services halfway through your trial. If this happens, you will be left without an attorney, and your prospects will be grim.
Most attorneys are accustomed to discussing finances with potential clients. However, if an attorney is hesitant to talk about costs, you should find someone who is more straightforward.
Are Defense Counsel and Defense Attorney the Same Thing?
Defense counsel and defense attorneys are terms that refer to approximately the same thing. Both describe an attorney or attorneys who represent someone being charged with a crime. Remember, the defense is the person charged with the crime, while the prosecution is the government aiming to enact the charges.
The term “defense counsel” is more frequently used in common law jurisdictions, while “defense attorney” is a slightly Americanized version of the same thing. In the United States, we use the word “attorney” much more frequently than in other parts of the world, which is how the term developed its popularity here. Regardless, both terms refer to the same thing.
Qualities of a Good Fullerton Criminal Lawyer
Most people hire a defense attorney only once, so it can be difficult to know what to look for. Qualities of a good defense attorney include:
- The ability to listen to your entire story or statement without interruption.
- A strong history in the field of criminal defense.
- A strong history in cases like yours.
- The ability to make you feel at ease and comfortable in their presence.
- Honesty, even when the information is not positive.
- Confidence in your case.
Always find a defense attorney with whom you feel comfortable, as you have to divulge a large amount of information to them.
Contact the Fullerton Criminal Defense Lawyers at the Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann
For more information on how we can help you build your case and offer the best potential outcome, contact the Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann online today.