Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney
Dealing with criminal charges is an isolating and frightening experience for anyone facing criminal allegations. If you or a loved one has recently been arrested in Orange County, CA, you need the assistance of an experienced defense attorney. If you are facing additional punishments and legal ramifications upon conviction, this can only heighten that sense of fear and desperation as you work to build a legal defense for your case.
Researching penalties and punishments for specific offenses only adds to how dire your situation may be, with the California Penal Code clearly mapping out fixed penalties for common crimes. All may seem hopeless for your future, but in a court of law, the prosecution must also follow strict rules to secure your conviction. You need an expert Orange County criminal defense attorney who is there to fight for your legal rights and defend you against the prosecutor’s case.
That is why the Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann, APC, are here to handle your defense and get you the best results in your criminal case. With our Orange County legal team, you can have access to the tools you need to confront even the toughest aspects of your case. And with our attention to detail in your defense, our expertise makes a favorable outcome in your case more likely. When you choose the Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann, APC, to represent your defense, we can provide you with all our professional resources and extensive experience with California criminal law.
Know Your Rights in an Arrest in Orange County
No matter the circumstances surrounding an arrest, Americans are guaranteed two key constitutional rights at the moment they are arrested. Commonly known as your Miranda rights, you have the right to remain silent and not give any information that could be used against you in a court of law, which is protected under the Fifth Amendment. There is no requirement that you answer any police questions or testify against yourself.
The second right is that, under the Sixth Amendment, you have the right to legal counsel. This means that you have the constitutional right to obtain legal counsel and representation. This right also includes access to an appointed attorney to represent you in court, even if you do not have the money for one. This right is also part of the Sixth Amendment, which is in place to protect your legal access to representation in court.
As mentioned above, if a defendant does not have the means to pay for a private criminal defense lawyer, they are assigned a public defender. However, this is a safeguard option for defendants who cannot afford private counsel. If you can afford the costs of hiring a private Orange County defense attorney, your chances of obtaining the best possible outcome in your case will greatly increase.
Public defenders naturally work hard for their defendants. Even so, due to their full schedules and long lists of clients to represent, they are often unable to spend the time they need to properly review your case. A private Orange County defense attorney will have not only the expertise but also the dedicated hours to maximize your chances of getting the court results you need. You simply cannot expect the same results from a public defender as you would from hiring an experienced private Orange County criminal defense attorney.
The Key Reasons You Should Hire an Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney
When you hire a private criminal defense team, you are ensuring that you have all the tools and expertise to tackle every specific detail and challenge that might be presented in your case. Typically, the best defense attorneys will immediately begin to prepare your case with meticulous analysis of key details such as:
- How the police handled your arrest and booking.
- Studying and examining the recordings of your police report.
- Working with key witnesses and allies to strengthen your case.
In addition, the defense attorney will work well to secure any alibis that could help prove your innocence in a court of law.
A private criminal defense team will also be instrumental in assisting you with the many legal questions that will present themselves over the course of your proceedings. Having a private defense attorney there to explain nuanced laws and specific rulings and requirements can help you feel more at ease about your situation. It can also give you the knowledge to navigate your case with the best chance of a positive outcome.
The concept of innocent until proven guilty is a key component of the criminal justice system in the United States. All cases revolve around the concept of the presumption of innocence, which means that in every criminal case, the judge and jury must presume the defendant’s innocence. The defendant can only be convicted if the prosecution presents evidence and testimony that clearly proves the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Additionally, the defendant may only be convicted by a unanimous jury verdict.
Your Orange County criminal defense attorney's mission is to help their client avoid conviction by preventing the prosecution from meeting their burden of proof. If you were wrongfully accused of a crime you did not commit, your attorney can help you establish an alibi to prove that you could not have committed the crime in question. If you are guilty, it is still worth having reliable defense counsel on your side. They may be able to highlight issues with the prosecution’s case that prevent them from meeting their burden of proof. They can help you secure a lighter penalty, if possible.
The Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann, APC, work hard to help every client avoid conviction whenever possible. If conviction is all but a certainty, we move to help our client mitigate the damage of the results by avoiding the worst penalties and outcomes our client could face. When the police place you under arrest, say nothing and comply with their directions. Once your booking has been completed, you will be able to make phone calls, and you should reach out to an Orange County criminal defense lawyer you can trust to represent you.
How Can You Avoid Going to Jail in Orange County?
Unfortunately, incarceration is often a recommended penalty for many criminal offenses in OC, California. If you are convicted of a misdemeanor, you will go to county jail, and if you are convicted of a felony, you will go to state prison. However, judges are sometimes willing to consider alternative sentencing for certain defendants. For example, if you are arrested for your first offense, did not cause extreme harm to anyone, and demonstrated that you sincerely regretted your actions, the judge might find an alternative solution such as conditional probation or other lesser penalties in lieu of jail time. Your Orange County criminal defense lawyer will help you make the strongest case for leniency.
Is It Worth Hiring a Defense Attorney If You Know You Are Guilty?
If you know you broke the law, it is understandable to feel hopeless. However, you should not simply throw yourself at the mercy of the court without mounting any type of defense. There are often alternative defense paths, and you could have more room to argue for leniency than you initially realize. It is also possible for additional factors you had not considered to influence your case proceedings, from police mishandling your arrest and booking to other holes in the prosecution's presentation and arguments. It is always worth hiring legal representation for a criminal case, even if you are sure that you will be convicted.
Can You Have My Criminal Record Expunged or Sealed in Orange County?
While California law enables certain individuals to have their criminal records expunged and/or sealed, eligibility for this depends on several factors. Only certain offenses can be expunged, and the process requires you to meet various procedural steps and make a compelling case before a judge. Typically, expungement is more common for non-violent crimes and if you were not sentenced to state prison.
If available, expungement and/or sealing of your record can prevent your conviction from interfering with your life any further than it already has. However, you will need an experienced attorney to guide you through the steps of your expungement process.
Types of Criminal Cases That Our Firm Handles
When you decide to hire an Orange County criminal defense attorney, you need to pick a representative with expertise in the specific law at hand and adequate experience handling criminal cases similar to yours. The Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann, APC, have years of experience helping Orange County-area clients through a variety of criminal cases. We can provide the defense counsel you need when you have been charged with a variety of crimes.
Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal in California, with varying penalties based on the offense. Typically, the penalties for a DUI conviction include paying fines, receiving jail sentences, and having the defendant’s driver’s license suspended. The sentencing penalties become much harsher if the defendant has injured or killed someone, as well as if there is a past record of multiple DUI offenses. It is vital to understand your rights when it comes to preliminary alcohol screenings like breathalyzer tests, as well as the implied consent law for chemical testing in California DUI cases. Knowing these details and having an expert assist with the scope of personal and professional consequences that your conviction may carry will help you better prepare your defense.
While drug laws in California are not as strict as they are in other states across the country, California and Orange County still see drug-related offenses as some of the most commonly prosecuted crimes each year. When facing drug offense charges, you should be aware of the various tiers of drug offenses. The first, simple possession, is typically the least punishable offense, with fines and potentially some jail time. Next is possession with intent to sell, which usually leads to more significant jail time. After that, illegal drug manufacturing (such as operating a methamphetamine lab or "pill mill" to produce counterfeit prescription narcotics) and drug trafficking are the most punishable drug offenses.
When fighting drug offense charges, you might have several defenses available that are not readily apparent. Some lesser-known defenses include having a substance abuse disorder, unknowingly taking drugs, or being coerced into participating in an illegal drug ring against your will. Our legal experts and defense attorneys will work to the best of their abilities to lower charges based on the information and facts we find.
Sex-related criminal offenses typically incur severe penalties upon conviction, including:
- Restitution to the victims harmed by the defendant’s actions
- Registration as a sex offender
The penalties for a sex offense typically depend on the severity of the act, the age and condition of the victim, and whether the defendant caused permanent harm. Our team will work to mitigate these charges based on factual evidence.
Theft and Property Crimes
According to the California Penal Code, there are various types of theft that correlate to the value stolen or damaged. Different types of theft all carry unique penalties, with things like shoplifting or petty theft often only incurring minor penalties, while grand theft is subject to more intense penalties. You can face severe penalties for the theft and intentional destruction of another party’s property. The penalties for theft can also vary widely based on what tools were used during the process. For example, if the defendant used force or a weapon to complete a theft, the penalties will be far greater.
Typically, speeding and moving violations will not qualify as crimes in California, but that does not mean that these offenses will not still carry severe penalties. There are a number of actions to avoid when dealing with tickets for traffic violations or accidents, as they could lead to painful payouts and additional penalties. One example is not fighting a speeding ticket and just paying the fine. By law, this is equivalent to admitting fault for the incident. You could face a host of consequences in response.
Similarly, for multiple traffic offenses, too many points on your license could lead to an automatic license suspension. You may also face mandatory driver safety training. These will be based on the severity of your offense and the number of past traffic offense convictions on your record. While these penalties are not necessarily life-altering, the costs of fines, classes, and the inconvenience of driver’s license suspensions can make life considerably more difficult. That is why our team is here to help give you the resources you need when contesting penalties and defending your rights, from a traffic offense as simple as a speeding ticket to helping you in cases involving a major car accident.
California lawmakers recently passed controversial new legislation that works to reduce many violent crimes to misdemeanors. But unchanged is the fact that any acts of violent crime resulting in or inflicting harm on a victim will still likely be eligible for felony prosecution. If you find yourself in this position, there are still several defenses that are viable in this type of case. The first is self-defense, which involves using violence to protect yourself, or defense of another, which involves using violence to protect another party.
Similar to other offenses listed above, penalties can and will escalate significantly if the defendant used a weapon during the crime, caused severe bodily injury, or killed the victim. If you are charged with a violent crime, our team is here to mitigate penalties and find the right defense to protect your rights.
California is one of the strictest states when it comes to gun laws and control in the country, meaning there are a number of harsh penalties for even the smallest of offenses. These charges can include:
- Illegal possession of a firearm
- Being a felon in possession of a firearm
- Using a firearm while committing a crime
Thousands of Californians experience various forms of domestic violence each year, with both men and women being victims and potential perpetrators. Any defendant who is convicted in a domestic violence case will not only face severe penalties but could lose important personal rights. There could also be a host of additional consequences, like the loss of custody rights over their children.
Victims of domestic violence can also take out a restraining order as a protective measure. This will prevent their attacker from contacting them or coming within a certain distance of them, even if they are on previously shared property, such as a home.
Penalties for domestic violence mirror those of other violent crimes. However, the severity of those penalties typically exceeds those assigned for standard criminal offenses.
White Collar Crime, Fraud, and Other Financial Offenses
White collar crime refers to any illegal activity in which criminal offenses unfold in the business world. This term encompasses a number of crimes, such as various forms of fraud, embezzlement, and money laundering. And while these offenses are not violent in nature, they are still incredibly damaging to their victims and society at large. The penalties for conviction typically entail restitution to any victims harmed by the defendant, along with heavy fines, incarceration, and more.
Criminal Court Petitions
A criminal court petition covers any petitions like expungement, early termination of probation, and other client-focused requests. The Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann, APC, can guide our client through any court proceedings related to another case. For example, if you believe that you qualify to have your probation terminated early due to good behavior and fulfilling the other terms of your sentence, we can help you file a strong petition. We also have experience helping Orange County clients secure criminal record expungement.
Whatever your case, our team is fully prepared to provide the robust defense counsel you deserve against whatever type of criminal charges you currently face. We take time to develop an individualized defense strategy for each client we represent. This ensures that we address their unique needs and concerns through all the proceedings they must endure.
The Benefits of Hiring Defense Representation You Can Trust in Orange County
Confronting any criminal charge in Orange County can be distressing for a multitude of reasons. You could be subjected to expensive fines, jail time, and countless other penalties at the discretion of your sentencing judge. However, the penalties you could face if you are convicted are not limited to what the judge orders. You may also have to deal with ramifications for many years after your criminal case, such as:
- Difficulty finding employment
- Financial and emotional hardships for your family
- Removal from professional organizations
- Revocation of professional licenses
- Loss of respect and trust from the community
It is even possible that you may encounter civil claims from the people you hurt, continuing your legal and courtroom issues. This can be a never-ending ordeal if you do not have legal representation to mitigate the consequences.
When you have an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney handling your case, you will be far better equipped to mount the most effective defense you possibly can. The Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann, APC, can help you identify the best available defenses in your case, prepare you for each stage of your proceedings, and assist you in reaching the best outcome possible. Time is a crucial concern after an arrest for any crime in Orange County, so it is vital that you connect with defense counsel you can trust as quickly as possible.
Q: What Is the Strongest Defense for a Criminal Charge?
A: The ideal criminal defense strategy for your case will vary depending on the charges. For violent crimes, self-defense is often a key defensive tactic. For drug charges, arguing substance abuse or coercion are strong tactics. Whatever your charge, your Orange County defense attorney will know the best strategy to employ in your defense.
Q: What Are the Four Broad Categories of Criminal Defenses?
A: There are four ways you can plead in any defense case:
- Innocent, meaning that you do not believe there is enough evidence to convict you of a crime.
- Constitutional violations, meaning that, during the criminal process, your constitutional rights were violated.
- Self-defense, which is violent action taken to protect oneself.
- Insanity, in which the defendant was out of control of their actions due to a mental breakdown or illness.
Q: What Is the Difference Between a Felony and a Misdemeanor?
A: A misdemeanor is less serious than a felony, often incurring fewer penalties. Penalties for a misdemeanor typically include fines, community service, rehabilitation, or, at worst, less than a year in jail. Felonies typically require at least one year in prison. However, prison terms can be extended to decades or even lifetime sentences, depending on the severity of the offense.
Q: What Are the Most Common Types of Criminal Cases?
A: According to official records, the most common types of criminal cases in California are
- Drug offenses: These include the manufacture, possession, or distribution of controlled substances.
- Firearm offenses: These involve the possession of banned firearms, the unlawful carrying of firearms, and the use of a firearm in the commission of a crime.
- Theft: This is the taking of objects or property without permission from their owners.
- Fraud: This is the use of deception to steal money from others.
Q: How Much Do Orange County Criminal Defense Attorneys Cost?
A: Prices can vary for a private criminal defense attorney because of the hourly rates that they charge their clients. This means that the length of your case will determine the final legal costs. Some attorneys will track time spent on a case and bill their clients on an as-needed basis throughout the case. Others will tally a bill that the defendant must pay at the end of their case. It is true that many criminal defense attorneys are expensive to hire. However, if you can handle the investment, they can offer a higher caliber of legal representation than you could expect from a public defender.
Contact the Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann, APC
The Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann, APC, have years of experience in California criminal defense, and our firm has successfully represented many clients from the Orange County area. We know the challenges you are likely to face in your upcoming criminal court proceedings and the many questions you have about what to expect in your case. Contact our team today to schedule a consultation with us and get the answers and support you need in this challenging situation.