Q: Although I Have Not Yet Been Arrested And Charged, It Looks Like A Strong Possibility. When Should I Contact An Attorney?

A:  As a Person of Interest, your case is in Investigation status. You need to hire an experienced attorney for damage control immediately. The Police and investigators are looking for anything of benefit to the prosecution to press their case.

Your best move is to hire the Right Attorney to keep the situation under control. Our Lead Attorney Jerrold Bodow is a former prosecutor who understands the complexities and strategies that are used against you and will step in to protect your freedom before things go sideways.

Q: What Happens When I Am Arrested?

A: You will likely be handcuffed and taken to jail. There, you will be Booked and your personal belongings confiscated. You are fingerprinted and your mug shots are taken and entered into a nationwide Database.

Q: The Police Demand I Tell Them What Happened. How Do I Handle That?

A:  IT IS ENTIRELY IN YOUR BEST INTEREST TO REMAIN SILENT. This means no talking to ANYONE in jail with you or to friends, co-workers, or bystanders. Especially NOT to the Police or Prosecution Investigators.

DO NOT WAIT FOR YOUR MIRANDA RIGHTS TO BE READ TO YOU. TALK TO NO ONE about your case, even in passing, because it can and will be used against you.

Q: Exactly What Does Misdemeanor Mean?

A: A Misdemeanor is any crime for which you can be placed in county jail for up to a year. In a Misdemeanor arrest there are three outcomes:

  • You are released immediately and given a future date to appear in court;
  • You have family or friends who will pay bail for your release;
  • You may be jailed until you make bail OR we can obtain lower bail or a personal recognizance release for you. We will, when hired, argue persuasively to save you thousands of dollars in bail/bond fees.

Q: What Does Felony Mean?

A: In California, a felony charge means you could go to a county jail for far longer than one year or to a California State Prison.

An experienced attorney can lower some felonies to misdemeanor status. In a Federal prosecution you could be sentenced to a Federal prison or other facility. Certain drug or Domestic Violence charges, known as “wobblers,” can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony.

ALL CONVICTIONS, whether of a Misdemeanor or a Felony, become a part of your permanent criminal record and can follow you for the rest of your life if you take no action. It will likely appear on potential employer background checks. Your Coastal Legal Center attorney can advise you of ways to clear your record.

If you are a convicted drug or sex crime offender, you may be ordered to register with the local Police where you live. Sex Offenders are required to register for their entire lives. You may lose your right to vote, travel, and drive.

If you are not a citizen, you may have deportation issues.

All of this is critical to the quality of the rest of your life. Hire the best attorney you can to defend your freedom. Your Coastal Legal Center attorney will help you with all these potential problems.

Q: What Should I Expect At Court?

A: The first time you appear in court will be your Arraignment and, if in custody, Bail Review. At this appearance, you will be formally charged. In many Misdemeanor cases, we can make the appearance on your behalf, allowing you to attend work or school that day. Your attorney will give you a copy of all the papers and information available at that time. A good attorney will have spoken with the prosecutor and gotten a sense of the evidence against you. Understand that this may not stop any ongoing police investigation of this crime. However, early contact with a prosecutor may allow you to avoid being arrested before your court appearance and help you with bail issues.

Our attorney will likely plead you NOT GUILTY, as further negotiations down the line may create a better offer, and investigations or trial may lead to a finding of NOT GUILTY. In this country, you are presumed innocent until proven guilty. That requires the Prosecutor to have enough evidence to use against you to get a conviction. It is their burden to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Many times cases can be settled in negotiations rather going to trial. At this time, in the case of domestic violence charges, you will be given your Stay–Away (No Contact) order.

Q: What If I Already Confessed?

A: This is a good question. If we can show that your “confession” was obtained under duress, for example, or that there is not enough evidence against you, we may be able to argue successfully to dismiss the case.

Q: What Happens Next?

A: Between your Arraignment and resolution of your case, there is a great deal to do. There are a lot of tools at our disposal. All available information is looked at and our own investigations are done. It is critically important that you be completely honest with your attorney.

At this point, we will present you with the best strategy for your case. Then we will negotiate for a potential settlement of your case without a trial. There are many steps and factors involved in the resolution of your case, and few of these will be in your control. We will guide you through this legal maze with effective strategies to increase your control.

Q: What Is A Plea Bargain?

A: There are only two options left to you at this point: to prepare for trial and to begin vigorous negotiations for a resolution. This is called the Plea Bargain phase. Our strategy is to keep your record clean and to provide alternatives to jail such as community service, therapy, and counseling programs, first offender programs and home monitoring. You may be required to attend various types of community meetings on a regular basis.

Our goal is to put you in the best possible light for the prosecutors and judge and to get the best possible outcome. Coastal Legal Center attorneys are known for their skilled negotiations. When it comes right down to it, it is better to hire an attorney with excellent negotiating as well as trial skills.

Because ours is for the most part a system of Pleas, not a system of Trials, the negotiation of a plea bargain rather than the unfolding of a trial is almost always the critical point for a defendant.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, U.S. Supreme Court Justice

The last step is to go to trial. Coastal Legal Center has excellent litigators who will fight on your behalf in trial. We have consistently had successful wins for our clients in a wide range of cases.