Criminal Defense

– Overview

At Empire Law, Inc. we understand that our clients seek our help during some of their most trying times.  If you are under investigation for a crime, or if you have already been charged, it is important to understand just how much is at stake. Criminal charges of any severity have the potential of stripping you of freedoms, costing you expensive fines and, in many cases, resulting in jail time. A criminal conviction can also permanently damage your reputation, your ability to get a job, your personal relationships and all other aspects of your life. This is a difficult time. When the government is prepared to bring the full weight of its influence down on you, you need a lawyer you can trust to skillfully navigate the system and aggressively defend your rights.

​We defend against all types of criminal charges, including DUIs, drug crimes, violent crimes, domestic violence, theft charges, and other felony and misdemeanor offenses. We are also prepared to handle difficult prior offense and third strike cases.  ​Our track record of zealously defending the interests of those accused of committing crimes have earned us the respect of our local community including those involved in the criminal justice system.

Some of the types of cases we handle are:

  • Assault / Battery
  • Criminal Threats
  • Driving Under The Influence (DUI)
  • Domestic Violence
  • 3 Strikes Offenses
  • Various Theft Charges
  • Various Drug Charges
  • Trespassing
  • Prostitution
  • Reckless Driving
  • Live Scan Services

F.A.Q.

What will happen in my first appearance in Court?

One of three things can happen. First, you learn that the prosecutor is not going to file criminal charges. In this instance, the case is over and you are free to go. Second, the prosecutor has not filed criminal charges due to pending investigation. For example, the prosecutor is waiting for drug or alcohol test results. In this case, you will be given a new court date or told by the court that you will receive a letter in the mail if and when the prosecutor decides to file charges. Lastly, the prosecutor has filed criminal charges against you. If this happens you will be asked if you want to accept a plea agreement or request a new court date to hire an attorney.

How do I find out whether someone is incarcerated?

There are a number of factors that affect whether or not you can find out of someone is in custody.  For example, to be “in the system”, they need to have been, at least, booked into custody.  In addition, most inmate locator systems only refresh once per day.  Finally, there is no central location system that allows us to find anyone, anywhere.  So, a good place to start is the county in which the individual was last known to be.  

We have provided a couple of those options here:

Riverside County Sheriff’s Department Inmate Locator:
http://jimspub.riversidesheriff.org/

San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department Inmate Locator: 
http://web.sbcounty.gov/sheriff/bookingsearch/bookingsearch.aspx

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Inmate Locator: 
https://app5.lasd.org/iic/ajis_search.cfm

Orange County Sheriff’s Department Inmate Locator: 
http://ws.ocsd.org/Whoisinjail/Search.aspx

What do I do if I am placed under arrest?

We understand that being arrested is a hectic time, but we want to remind you that there are only a few things that you should do at that time. It’s important to remember that everything that you do from that point on will be on record and could be used against you.

If you are arrested the only thing you need to tell the police is your name and address. It is your right to speak with legal counsel, like someone from our legal team, before saying anything further. Speaking with a criminal defense attorney can then determine what should be said when you go to court, based on what is the greatest good for your case. If the police try to coerce you into signing anything, do not do so until you speak with your lawyer!

How long do criminal cases take?

Every case is different depending on the details of your case, especially depending if you’re facing misdemeanor charges versus felony charges. The legal process will only begin when you’re able to gather the correct information, file the appropriate paperwork, and hopefully develop a strong legal team with your criminal defense attorney.

We highly recommend giving us a call as soon as possible if you or a loved one is facing criminal charges. Our legal team is here to help you get organized, develop a plan, and tirelessly represent you throughout this trying time. Don’t hesitate! Pick up the phone today.

How can a lawyer help me with a violation of my probation?

At the time of conviction, you may be required to meet certain expectations with a probationary period. Should you be accused of violating the terms of your probation, you could face spending time in prison among other consequences.

We want you to know that when you are put on probation for a misdemeanor or felony crime, it does not mean your case is over. If you have the correct representation in court, your criminal defense attorney may be able to prove that you were not in violation or at least lessen the consequences that follow.

In felony probation violation matters, you will likely be held in custody for many weeks or months waiting for your probation violation hearing. This is the case even if you in fact later prove that you did not violate your probation

The most important advice that we can give you is that you should never enter a plea to a misdemeanor or felony crime until you completely understand all of the terms of your probation. It’s best to get in contact with our office right away to begin preparing for the upcoming legal processes you are going to face.

Your lawyer can represent you throughout the entire probation violation process and help you navigate the complex legal system. With an experienced lawyer representing you, you may be able to obtain the results you truly desire.

Can I own a firearm if I’ve been convicted of a felony?

Since crimes including firearms are more common than the state would like, California’s firearms laws have become more strict over the years and federal laws are even stricter. If you are convicted of a felony or certain misdemeanors, you will lose your right to possess a gun in California.

This is especially true if you are:

  • addicted to narcotics drugs,
  • mentally ill,
  • involuntarily committed on a psychiatric hold twice in one year,
  • under the age of 18,
  • prohibited from possessing a gun by court order or as a condition of probation, or
  • prohibited by federal law from possessing a gun.
  • Conviction of a felony results in a lifetime ban on gun possession.

There is a difference with certain misdemeanor charges that could affect your right to own a firearm, but that depends on the details of your case. To better understand your rights and limitations after criminal convictions, give our criminal law office a call!

Will I have to post bail?

It depends. Usually by the time your case comes into court it has already been reviewed, and a specific bail amount has been set according to what is known as the Bail Schedule. Your bail can go up or down at the arraignment depending on what charges are filed and what can be shown about your background and history in the community. In many misdemeanor offenses, however, you may be able to avoid posting bail.

Can I be arrested or searched without a warrant?

Yes, in some instances. If a police officer has probable cause to believe that you have committed a crime or are in the process of committing one the law allows the officer to conduct an appropriate search. A good defense attorney, however, can get illegally obtained evidence suppressed. Furthermore, there are situations where you can be arrested without a warrant. For example, if a police officer witnesses you committing a crime you can be arrested immediately.

What is the difference between misdemeanors and felonies?

A misdemeanor is considered to be a less serious crime than a felony. Felonies are the most serious crimes you can commit and have long jail or prison sentences, fines, or permanent loss of freedoms. Misdemeanors usually involve jail time, smaller fines, and temporary punishments.

While you may be facing different charges and the goal is to completely dismiss all of them, depending on the details of your case we can work hard to develop a legal strategy to at least get hard felony charges minimized to a misdemeanor charge. Of course, this all depends on the details of your case.

To better understand what charges you may be up against and the best legal strategy to fight them, don’t hesitate to give our criminal law office a call. We are here to help you in these difficult times!

Should you exercise your right to remain silent?

Absolutely! The main thing that we like to remind our clients is that when it comes to the legal process, it’s all about what can be proven in court. When you say things on record — even with the best intentions of defending yourself — they can be misconstrued in court and used against you.

It’s best to let your criminal defense lawyer speak on your behalf with a strong legal strategy in mind so that your case is more likely to go in your favor. If you or a loved one has recently been arrested, please contact our office as soon as possible to get the representation that you need moving forward.

How can I get my record expunged?

If you were convicted of a felony or misdemeanor and were not sentenced to serve time in state prison, you may be eligible to apply for a California state penal code that will allow you to have your case dismissed.

A dismissal (also known as an expungement) has many benefits that can help you build a better future without your record following you. If you are eligible, it may help you to find the fresh start you are looking for! We are here to help you through this process without missing a beat so that you can move on with confidence.

We would need to know the details of your past case, gather the correct files, evaluate any of your convictions and probationary period (if you have one), and file for your expungement. Then, there is a hearing that will take place that your criminal defense lawyer can represent you in to ensure that you get the results that you truly desire.

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