San Bernardino Criminal Defense Attorney

San Bernardino Criminal Defense Lawyer

Being accused of a crime in San Bernardino, CA is incredibly stressful, especially when considering the long-term repercussions of a conviction. Regardless of whether you are facing a felony or misdemeanor charge, speaking with and hiring a defense attorney is always recommended. A good defense is one of the most crucial aspects of any criminal trial. Finding a great defense attorney in San Bernardino starts with contacting Exum Law Offices.

What Is a Criminal Defense Attorney?

Counsel needed to defend against criminal allegations is provided by criminal defense attorneys. They help a wide spectrum of clients facing criminal charges. Criminal defense lawyers can represent anyone accused of a crime, ranging from misdemeanors to felonies.They can also assist them in presenting their case in court. These cases could range, for most attorneys, from simple misdemeanors to more serious offenses like murder. This necessitates a complete knowledge of all state criminal statutes.

Criminal defense attorneys have a sense of familiarity and experience from working with the criminal justice system. This allows them to assess your case from every angle. They are familiar with the methods used by both the state and the defense to create a case. Your attorney can use that to manage your testimony and support you when facing these criminal accusations.

Crimes Handled by Criminal Defense Attorneys

Criminal defense attorneys handle matters involving alleged violations of California’s penal code. In these cases, their client is named as a perpetrator of these crimes. Depending on the specifics of the case, the severity and escalation of these accusations may vary. A criminal defense attorney can represent their clients in court when dealing with offenses like:
  • Murder: According to California law, homicide is the deliberate or accidental act of causing the death of another person. However, depending on the intent, the California Criminal Code classifies murder separately from homicide. Section 192 of the Penal Code goes into detail about what constitutes murder. It highlights the deliberate killing of a person through premeditated, malicious intent as the motivation for murder. The potential penalties and severity can vary based on the offense. This is particularly true in murder cases. The degree and motivation of the crime might influence the level of the charge.
  • Domestic Violence: According to California Penal Code Section 273.5, domestic violence is described as the use of intimidation, threats of violence, sexual assault, or the use of illegal physical force and/or verbal abuse to harm a spouse, domestic partner, girlfriend, boyfriend, grandparent, parent, or child. Victims of domestic violence are typically relatives or members of your immediate family, such as a spouse, live-in domestic partner, etc. Victims can also be lovers or partners in a relationship who do not live with you but have a romantic relationship with you.
  • Sex Offenses: Nonconsensual or unwanted sex acts or the sexual objectification of another person are classified as sex offenses. Sexual offenses can be prosecuted as felonies or misdemeanors. They can range from violent offenses such as rape to cases of public indecency, which are usually prosecuted as misdemeanors. Because of the vulnerability and sensitivity of the victims in various sex offenses, especially those that involve children, the sentences and punishments for these crimes are especially harsh.
  • Drug Crimes: The likelihood of a conviction for a drug violation in California depends heavily on the schedule of the substance, the quantity found at the time of the arrest, and the product’s intended use. Drug charges can be felonies or misdemeanors. The most stringent regulatory restrictions apply to substances listed in Schedule I due to their likelihood of developing dependency and potential for harm. This implies that possession of even trace amounts of substances like heroin or PCP might lead to a felony conviction. Whether the drug charges you are facing are considered felonies or misdemeanors, hiring legal representation is crucial for creating a strong defense in court.
  • Burglary and Theft: Those accused of illegally obtaining property are charged with theft. Theft includes stealing from a home, business, person, or vehicle. It is always illegal. If the items in question were taken from a residence or piece of property without consent from the owner, this would constitute a theft charge. The severity and length of theft punishments will depend on how much was taken. Entering a building with the intent to commit grand larceny, petty larceny, or any other felony is considered burglary. This applies whether it is residential, commercial, or any other form of structure.
Depending on the specifics and seriousness of each case, charges may warrant a misdemeanor or a felony charge. Certain crimes, like murder, are perpetually prosecuted as felonies. This requires the use of an experienced defense attorney to build a solid defense for their client. For both state and federal accusations, hiring a criminal defense attorney is essential for a fair trial. They are vital regardless of whether the charge is prosecuted as a misdemeanor or felony.

What Crimes Are Considered Violent Crimes?

Section 667.5 of the California Penal Code specifies what constitutes a violent crime. All serious felonies and varied offenses in the first and second degrees are included in the definition of violent crimes. Any crime involving the use of a lethal weapon, a substantial threat to another person’s life, or both is considered violent. Three groups are used to categorize violent crimes, including:

The law establishing sentence enhancements for some major and violent offenses is Penal Code section 667.5(c). According to the statute, enhancements may be imposed on anyone found guilty of a violent felony. These are intended to make major and violent felonies punishable by harsher sentences for offenders.

Anyone convicted of a major or violent felony will get an additional term of imprisonment, according to Criminal Code § 1192.7(c). A conviction for a serious felony shall result in a sentence of three, four, or five years in prison. A conviction for a violent felony shall result in a sentence of five, six, or seven years in prison.

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney?

Just as each case differs vastly from one another, the cost of these proceedings varies as well. Criminal defense attorneys in California typically charge between $200 and $500 per hour, but courtroom experience, amount of time spent practicing, and other factors may have an impact on these prices. The severity of your charges, as well as how long the case takes in a courtroom, could significantly impact the amount you spend on representation. For more complex cases, such as murder trials, the time it takes for a jury to deliberate, and the time it takes to present all the evidence to the court, can drastically prolong the case.

Should You Tell Your Defense Attorney Everything?

In every criminal case, the idea that the defendant is “innocent until proven guilty” must be followed. Whether the accused committed the crime or not, the role of a defense attorney is to aid in their defense. After being charged with a crime, the goal of appearing in court is to truthfully recount the sequence of events that ultimately resulted in the defendant’s criminal charges. Your conversations with an attorney are confidential under the law when you speak with them, especially if you have been charged with a crime.

Even if you confess to the crime to your lawyer, it will not be used as evidence against you in court. Attorney-client privilege is a well-established legal doctrine that states that client-attorney communications are private and confidential. This privilege makes it possible for you to speak openly and without concern for retaliation with your lawyer about your legal position. Evidence Code 954 of California law establishes the confidentiality and nondisclosure of communications between clients and their attorneys.

Is a Private Lawyer Better Than a Public Defender?

Just as every case is different, every person accused of a crime comes from a different background. The ability to pay for representation is a privilege for some. This also means that using a public defender may be the only viable option for some people accused of different crimes. The biggest differences between a public defender and private representation are as follows:

  • A public defender is a lawyer who has been appointed by the court. They are typically utilized by defendants who cannot afford private legal counsel. Public defenders are employed by the court and given case after case. This frequently results in them being overworked. Dealing with a public defender differs from meeting with a private lawyer because public defenders are not personally invested in your case. They are there to explain your accusations to you as well as any potential penalties you may incur if you plead guilty or are found guilty. If your case goes to trial, they can also offer a defense for you. It is preferable to settle criminal cases outside of court. Therefore, public defenders can also exert significant effort to persuade a criminal defendant to settle the case before it goes to trial.
  • Private attorneys are those who represent you in court. They work for and are paid by you directly. They can act in your interests and not in a way that will shortchange the court’s resources or time. Depending on where they are located and how much experience they have, private attorneys can charge hourly or flat rates. They usually request a retainer fee to secure their services. Your private defense counsel can inform you of the allegations against you and the potential outcomes, as well as your rights. If you choose to contest the charges in court, private attorneys can represent you. They can also help you settle the matter before the trial.

The person who provides our representation is the biggest difference between private representation and public defense. When you choose your representation, you can be sure that your attorney is working diligently on your case. Many public defenders do not have the time or desire to vigorously defend you. They also lack the time to properly understand your situation and craft a solid, all-encompassing defense.

Private attorneys are hired by you to defend your case. Since you are paying them, they can set aside the time necessary to properly represent your interests and defend your legal rights. Your attorney can both support your case and help you avoid prison time. Hiring a private attorney does cost money. However, the effort they put into your case can help you avoid the consequences associated with a criminal conviction.

What Is California’s Three Strikes Law?

California’s Three Strikes Law was passed in 1994. It guarantees those with prior criminal convictions a harsher sentence if they are found guilty of three felonies. Only “violent offenses” are subject to these statutes. These refer to charges brought to court and upgraded to felonies if they call for harsher punishment. Consequently, regardless of the weight of the evidence, if you were convicted of a violent crime three times in a row, it would be considered your third offense. This automatically demands a 25-year sentence without the possibility of parole.

One way to avoid receiving a heavier sentence is to hire a defense attorney to fight your criminal accusation. What may appear to be a felony offense can be understood to warrant a reduced sentence. Your attorney can demonstrate this with a more thorough understanding of the law and your particular situation. Of course, each case is unique, and some charges appear beyond dispute. However, in some circumstances, the correct defense may allow the final sentence to be different than expected.

Finding a San Bernardino Criminal Defense Attorney

After being charged with any criminal offense, the first thing you should do is contact a criminal defense attorney. Preparing your case, helping you avoid self-incrimination, and evaluating any presented evidence are what make the services of a defense attorney critical for a solid defense. At Exum Law Offices, we can evaluate your case and provide you with the representation you need for a trial. For more information on our firm, including a full list of our defense services, visit our website and contact us today.