Frequently Asked Criminal Defense Questions (FAQs)
Get Answers from Our Criminal Defense Attorneys in Ventura
If you have been charged with a criminal offense, then you may have many questions related to your charges and the criminal court process. Obtain legal counsel from the Ventura criminal defense lawyers at Wilfert Law, P.C. Our firm is well-equipped to handle any type of criminal case, having a team of highly trained former law enforcement professionals to litigate on your behalf.
To find answers to questions commonly asked by our clients, you can continue reading below or you can call our firm. An experienced criminal lawyer can discuss the details of your case and build a unique defense plan for you.
My family member has been charged with a crime. What should I do?
We are proud to represent the families of individuals who have been accused of crimes. We understand that you care for the well-being and future of your loved one, which is why we are dedicated to standing by your side as we fight for their rights.
First, remember to remain calm and focusing on gathering information. Do not do anything that would incriminate you or get yourself arrested as well. Acquire the arresting officer's name and jurisdiction, and get clarification on the exact charges being brought against your family member. Next, you should contact a criminal defense attorney.
Our team is readily available to answer your calls and respond promptly to written inquiries. We prioritize each and every case that comes our way, so you should expect to receive prompt and frequent communication. We will discuss your family member's situation in a free, initial consultation and begin preparing a defense on his or her behalf.
Your attorney will guide you through the next phases, which include attending the initial hearing, posting bond (if applicable), visiting your relative in jail (if applicable), and the trial process. Know that with us, your loved one's case is in good hands and that we will fight aggressively to have his or her charges lessened or dismissed.
Why should I hire a lawyer?
When you are arrested for a criminal offense, your charges will involve very complex laws. If you don't understand your rights or how to defend the various charges against you, then you may be risking your future and freedom.
By hiring an experienced criminal defense lawyer that understands the law and has had proven success, you will have a much better chance of getting your charges dropped or reduced.
Not only will a criminal defense attorney know the court rules and procedures, but he or she will also be able to negotiate with prosecutors, advise you on plea bargains to take or reject, challenge the evidence, and much more. Without a skilled legal representative, you may be vulnerable to prosecutors and juries who believe that you are guilty. In a criminal case, especially those that involve felonies, there is much at stake. Don't risk incarceration, fines, and other penalties by failing to hire a legal defender.
What should I look for in an attorney?
You should be considering an experienced attorney, but also you should consider the attorney's particular background. An attorney with a background in law enforcement understands exactly how cases are put together and what the District Attorney's office is considering when prosecuting. Having a background in both policing and prosecuting cases has given our lead attorney great insight into mistakes that are often overlooked or not considered by attorneys with non-law enforcement backgrounds. Each attorney's background makes them uniquely situated to handle your case differently, you must decide who you feel the most comfortable with.
How much does an experienced criminal defense attorney cost?
It is fair to say that attorney fees vary as much as their backgrounds. At Wilfert Law, P.C., we charge reasonable rates which we can usually relay during the initial consultation often over the phone. We understand that no one expects or anticipates the hardship that comes with being arrested or having a loved one arrested and try to make every accommodation possible including offering payment plans and even accepting most major credit cards.
Will I have to go to trial?
Once charges are filed against you, there are a number of options you may choose to pursue. The outcome often depends on your case and the attorney that advises you. One option would be to enter a plea agreement or plea bargain, which is a settlement between you and the prosecutor. In a plea agreement, you plead guilty or no contest to a lesser charge in return for a more lenient sentence, or you may please guilty to one charge in exchange for the prosecutor dropping other charges against you.
You may also be able to avoid a trial if your attorney files a pre-trial motion that proves your charges weren't filed on legal grounds. If the judge agrees with the motion, he may dismiss the case altogether. By avoiding a trial, you save valuable time and money for you and the prosecution. Talk to a criminal lawyer from our firm to find out your different options.
Should I wait until I go to court to hire a lawyer?
It is best that you hire a criminal defense attorney as soon as you are arrested for a crime. If you wait until you go to trial, then your attorney will have lost valuable time to negotiate and prepare. Once you are arrested, your defense lawyer will be able to research the evidence against you and challenge it if necessary. When your formal charges are read at the arraignment, your criminal attorney will already have a case strategy and can advise you on your plea.
If you wait to hire an attorney until after this stage, he or she will be unable to counsel you through this stage and will have less time to get ready for the trial.
In a perfect world, we would want to be retained immediately so that we can immediately begin evaluating the police reports and tape-recorded interviews and have an investigator assist in preparing your defense while the District Attorney's Office is still evaluating prosecuting. With an aggressive early defense, we have found that it is possible to provide the filing Deputy the additional evidence he needs to make the correct filing decision- a “non-file” or “rejection” of the arrest.
What are the penalties for my crime?
The penalties for your offense will vary, depending on the crime. You may be charged with a misdemeanor, which could incur consequences of six months in jail and fines of up to $1,000. An aggravated misdemeanor could double the sentence to a year in jail and fines of up to $2,000. Those who are facing felony charges may incur much stricter penalties. A conviction could land you with multiple years in jail and fines of up to $10,000. Felonies also come with other consequences. You may lose some of your professional licenses, employment opportunities, your right to vote and own firearms.
What should I tell the police when they arrest me?
Once the police arrest a suspect, they often ask many questions, hoping that the suspect will incriminate himself. Anything and everything a suspect says will be used against them by the prosecution. If you are arrested, try to say as little as possible to the police. Be respectful, but don't provide them with any information that you don't need to. Get in touch with an attorney at our firm as soon as you can after the arrest and we can help you make the proper statements.
Can I get rid of my criminal record?
If you've been convicted of a criminal offense, then you may be wondering how you can get the conviction off your record. The technical term for cleaning up your criminal record is expungement.
Unfortunately, not all criminal convictions can be expunged, so contact a criminal defense lawyer at our firm to determine if your offense qualifies.
If your case is eligible for expungement, then you will have to obtain a copy of your criminal record and petition the court for expungement. Make sure that you pay all the fines and fees associated with your offense, because the court won't even consider your request until you pay what is owed. After the forms are completed and the courts process your request, you will need to attend a court hearing. After it is over, the judge will then mail the decision to you.
Have More Questions About Your Case? Call Our Firm Today at 805-324-6777.
Call a Ventura criminal defense attorney from our firm to find out how we can help. Our legal team can investigate your case, leaving no stone unturned. We will do everything in our power to get your charged reduced or dropped altogether.
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