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Canoga Park Criminal Defense Lawyer

Canoga Park Criminal Defense Lawyer

Any criminal charge can be overwhelming, emotional, and difficult to process. The accusation alone can leave you feeling hopeless. If you are convicted of a crime, it can be a life-changing experience that makes you or your loved ones feel isolated. Penalties can include long prison sentences, hefty fines, probation, and other assigned damages. It can also make it difficult to find work, a place to live, and additional educational opportunities, as well as harm your social reputation. However, with the right criminal defense attorney fighting for you, those criminal charges can be dismissed or reduced. You could even reach an acquittal.

Whether this is your first criminal charge, or you are facing your third strike, you deserve to have an attorney who can fight for your rights and challenge the circumstances that led to your arrest. At the Law Office of James E. Silverstein, we offer a full-service criminal defense. Our firm has a long history of defending cases ranging from small misdemeanors to felony murder. No matter the circumstances of the crime or the type of charges you are facing, we have the experience and knowledge to provide you with the best defense that you deserve. We know that each case is unique, and yours deserves an individualized approach. We fight for you by putting your needs first so that you get the best outcome possible.

Canoga Park Criminal Defense Lawyer

What Makes a Good Criminal Defense Lawyer?

When you are facing a crime in Canoga Park, CA, you may not know where to begin. You find yourself thrown immediately into the criminal justice system. Most people do not retain attorneys on a regular basis. The attorney you select could make a big difference in the outcome of your case. Deciding which attorney is right for you can be complicated. Following these tips can help ensure that you have done your due diligence.

  • Look for an attorney with experience in the type of charges you face: While there are many types of attorneys with sound legal knowledge, choosing an attorney with experience and knowledge for your type of case will help you get the best defense. Familiarity with the laws and circumstances that apply to your case means they are focused on your defense and are not learning the law along the way.
  • Identify an attorney who will be available and responsive to your needs: When you ask a question of your attorney, the last thing you want is a slow response or difficulty reaching them to ask the question. You are the one facing life-altering penalties, so your case matters. An attorney should be accessible and responsive to your questions.
  • Choose an attorney that you feel comfortable with: The rapport you share with your attorney is important. If you hire an attorney that you do not trust or feel uncomfortable sharing details with, they will not have all the information they need to properly defend you. In any criminal defense case, communication and trust are vital to a successful partnership.
  • Choose an attorney who demonstrates compassion and empathy for your situation: Facing criminal charges can instill fear, confusion, and many other emotions. Your attorney should understand the emotions that you are experiencing and help you through that process. If your attorney is only focused on the facts of the case and not your well-being, then there is an important element of criminal defense that is missing.
  • Check the success record of an attorney and choose the one with a proven history of success: Knowing the success of your attorney will help you gauge the energy and time they will put into your case. An attorney who has a successful track record proves they not only understand the law, but they will also put in the time to challenge the evidence against you. It can also show they are a strong litigator in the courtroom.

Knowing Your Rights

No matter the circumstances of your crime, you still have rights that are guaranteed to you by the US Constitution. Many of these rights are specifically designed to protect you throughout the criminal justice system. They were established to defend you from unjust due process or mistreatment by law enforcement officials.

The federal government has also passed legislation to protect you from malfeasance. One of the most crucial of these acts protects you from discrimination based on a protected characteristic such as your gender, gender identity, age, religion, race, or other personal identifiers.

The first experience you will have with law enforcement is at the time of your arrest, where your Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights will be most challenged. The Fifth Amendment protects a person from incriminating themselves. When a person is accused of a crime, they have the right to say nothing to law enforcement. This is why, when you are suspected of a crime, law enforcement is required to read you your Miranda rights. This reminds suspects that they do not have to say anything, but if they choose to, it could be held against them in court. If you are arrested, you should exercise this right and simply comply with law enforcement directions. Refrain from speaking about the circumstances of your arrest until you can have an attorney present.

This leads to the Sixth Amendment, which states that you have a right to be represented by an attorney in any criminal case. Even if you cannot afford an attorney, you are entitled to receive one. This will also be read to you as part of your Miranda rights. If you are unable to hire one or refuse to hire one, you may be appointed a public defender, whose job it is to provide you with legal representation. Public defenders are provided at no cost. However, it is best to have an attorney who understands the situation and cares about your well-being. While public defenders may have a great understanding of the law, they are often overwhelmed with multiple clients. They are not able to provide the individualized attention your case may require.

Types of Cases We Handle in Canoga Park, CA

Criminal defense has been a part of the practice at the Law Office of James E. Silverstein for years. With our experience, we have helped clients who are facing a number of different criminal charges. While the circumstances of each case are unique, the law does not change. Our experience has helped clients with charges including:

  • Violent Crimes: Violent crimes encompass a variety of charges, including assault, armed robbery, and homicide. Because of the nature of these crimes, convictions often bring the heaviest penalties, including heavy fines and lengthy prison sentences.
  • Drug Offenses: The state of California has relaxed its stance on many criminal drug charges. However, that does not mean you can avoid a conviction. You could still face fines and time in jail or prison.
  • White-Collar Crimes: Business crimes may not seem harmful. However, they often leave an impact on victims that could last years, particularly if the crime involves fraud or deception. Being accused of financial crimes could cost you more than just time in prison. It could leave your family paying for your crime.
  • Sex Crimes: Considered the most heinous of crimes, these are the crimes that prosecutors work hardest to convict. A conviction can lead to a long prison sentence and extensive fines. You could also need to register on the sex offender database. This could hurt your ability to locate a place to live or work.
  • DUI: Whether under the influence of drugs or alcohol, driving while impaired can be a costly mistake. Not only do you risk injuring or killing another individual, but you do the same to yourself. If convicted, you could spend time in jail as well as have the potential to lose your driving privileges.

These cases, and many others, all carry penalties that can change our client’s life forever.

Common Evidence in Criminal Law Cases

In a court of law, it is not up to you and your attorney to prove that you did not commit the crime. Rather, the prosecutor must show beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty of the offense. That requires an understanding of the types of charges you face and what evidence could be presented against you. Common elements of a criminal case include the following:

  • A Police Report: The police report is meant to be an objective report on the facts presented by law enforcement. It is written based on direct observation or conclusions drawn from statements made by the victim or accused. If, however, the report involves subjective input, is misleading, or is inaccurate, then the report can be challenged. A faulty report could be used to cast doubt on the prosecutor’s case.
  • Testimony of the Arresting Officer: The officer who arrested you will need to testify during the trial and answer as to why you were arrested. Using this testimony and other evidence, it could be used to challenge the arresting officer’s testimony.
  • Testimony of Any Witnesses: While witnesses can be a strong addition to any case, the reliability of witnesses will be a point of contention. However, witnesses for both sides of the case could be called.
  • Physical Evidence: Physical evidence is important for proving various facts in a case. Evidence could include DNA, fingerprints, or blood tests. This type of evidence is used to prove you were present for the crime, or it could prove that you were not. However, whichever side presents this type will be challenged by the other for its validity.
  • Photos and Videos: While a memory can recall an event, a picture or video can tell a story. Often, though, attorneys will argue what the picture or video does not show rather than what it does.

This evidence, along with others, can be used by both the prosecutor and the defense. Both sides will try to prove the other wrong.

How Do You Defend Criminal Charges?

While both sides attempt to discredit each other, there are other ways to cast doubt on the charges that you may face. No two cases are alike. Therefore, your defense needs to be unique to your circumstances. However, it is common to use certain defense strategies, including:

  • Alibi: If you claim you were not present during the crime, providing an alibi that can put you in a different place at the time the crime was committed could keep you from conviction. Witnesses are not the only source of an alibi. Video or photo evidence and other documents can establish your presence elsewhere than the crime scene.
  • Self-Defense: If you believed that you were being threatened with physical violence, or that you needed to commit a crime to protect yourself or others, then you may be able to claim self-defense.
  • Mistaken Identity: If you were not present at the time the crime was committed, then you could not have committed the crime. Faulty witness statements or improper facts could lead law enforcement to suspect you. However, with the right evidence, it can be easy to show that you were not at fault.
  • Improper Law Enforcement Procedure: Just as you have rights that protect you at the time of arrest, there are certain procedures that must be followed by law enforcement as well. If they fail to do so in their questions to you, or if they fail to properly collect evidence, then the affected elements of your case could be suppressed. This will significantly hurt the prosecution’s case.
  • Mental Impairment: While many people experience temporary misjudgment, there may be factors in your case that show you were not in the right mind at the time the crime was committed. This could be due to mental anguish, mental illness, or even intoxication.
  • Coercion: This defense is particularly useful if you can prove someone forced you into committing the crime. Coercion often occurs through the threat of violence or blackmail.

While these are common types of defenses, they are not the only ones. Because your case needs a unique defense for your situation, your attorney can review the facts and build the best defense possible. To do that, it is important that your attorney has all the facts. Therefore, you should be as open and honest as you can.

Attorneys and their clients have a confidentiality agreement, under which your attorney is not permitted to discuss conversations they have with you. Being honest is vital to a proper defense.

When building a defense, it is important to follow the guidance and suggestions of your attorney. This will keep you from harming your case. Other ways to avoid that include:

  • Using your Fifth Amendment rights
  • Avoiding social media posts
  • Avoiding witnesses
  • Arriving to court on time
  • Keeping hope that you can fight the charges against you

How Much Does a Criminal Defense Lawyer Cost in California?

Each criminal case is unique and requires a distinct plan of defense. Therefore, there are no set fees for criminal defense attorneys. The circumstances of your case will determine the amount of time your attorney will need to spend on it. This, in turn, determines the fees you will pay. Impacts on the cost include any pretrial work and the amount of time the case is in court.

You should speak with an attorney directly about their prices in your initial conversation. However, the cost of a good defense should not deter you from hiring one. A great criminal defense attorney may be costly. Still, you will have greater long-term savings in money and time not spent in prison. Expert legal help can minimize the impact of the charges on your life.

Canoga Park Criminal Defense Attorney

No matter if this is your first offense, or you have been previously convicted of a crime, facing criminal charges is a difficult process that can be emotionally harmful. Your life can be significantly impacted by the outcome of the case against you. The effects last beyond any time you may be in prison. They also affect your life afterward as you try to secure housing, employment, or other basic living needs. Unfortunately, there is still a stigma associated with those who have been convicted of a crime, even after they have served their time.

With the help of the Law Office of James E. Silverstein, your case can get the attention it deserves. We can keep you from having to worry about these long-term impacts. Beginning with your version of the events leading up to your arrest and the process leading up to litigation, we can provide a comprehensive review of your case and determine the best defense. In many cases, there are details that seem insignificant, but they could be the key to keeping you out of prison. We listen to you to ensure that we understand the case inside and out.

Our team has the knowledge and experience to handle any situation you bring to us. Our priority is to prepare you for every step of the defense process and achieve the best possible outcome. Choose an attorney you can trust—one who believes in you and knows that your life depends on them. Contact us today and let us give you the representation you deserve.

Schedule A Free Consultation

Call (747) 230-4468


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