FAQ

If you‘ve been arrested and face criminal charges in Anaheim, CA, you might be worried about what will happen to you. Many California residents are not familiar with the legal processes, except for the police, legal experts, and maybe those who’ve been arrested before. You may not even find the right person on time to answer all your questions and help you make the right decisions while behind bars. That is why we have a list of the frequently asked California criminal defense questions and answers from the California Criminal Lawyer Group. You can also contact us for a detailed response and legal help and guidance for the legal issue you might be facing.

When a judge releases you on bail after arrest, you are expected to appear in court on a predetermined date for trial. Failing to appear on the given date or dates until your case is concluded is a criminal offense in California, which could bring forth new charges on top of the charges you are currently facing. Thus, the judge will issue a bench warrant for your arrest. Police officers will be sent to your home, workplace, business, or a place you are likely to be found and arrest you on site. Failing to appear can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony, as provided under Sections 1320 and 1320.5 of the California Penal Code.

If the judge decides to convict you for failing to appear, the prosecutor will have four elements to prove beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • That you were facing criminal charges for a specific offense
  • Then you were released on bail from jail
  • You willfully failed to appear in court on the set date
  • You intentionally failed to appear to evade the court process

There are three possible penalties for failing to appear. They all depend on the original charges.

For example, if you were arrested and charged with a misdemeanor and a judge released you on personal recognizance, you will face misdemeanor charges for failing to appear. Penalties for misdemeanor charges can be:

  • Misdemeanor probation
  • A maximum of six months in jail
  • A maximum fine of $1,000

On the other hand, if you faced felony charges and were released from jail on personal recognizance, you will likely face felony charges for failing to appear. Penalties for this could be:

  • Felony probation
  • A maximum of one year in jail, or three years in prison
  • A maximum fine of $5,000

If you faced felony charges and were released on bail, you will likely face felony charges with a stiffer punishment for failing to appear. On top of that, you’ll forfeit the bail money. If you had engaged a bail bondsman’s services, the bail bondsman would be required to pay the court’s full bail amount. Consequently, the company will repossess the property you offered as security to recover their loss.

Federal and state laws allow people to represent themselves in a criminal case. When the police read your Miranda Rights, they explain to you your rights to legal representation. If you need a lawyer, you can hire one. But if you need a lawyer and cannot afford one, the state can provide a lawyer for free. You can still choose to represent yourself. However, this is strongly discouraged for many reasons.

Criminal charges will make everyone stressed and nervous, regardless of how strong you are as a person. The prosecutor will not be lenient on you, especially if he/she has strong evidence against you. The prosecutor will put you under a lot of pressure, which could cause you to be defensive. You might unwillingly make utterances that could compromise your situation even further. It is hard to avoid a conviction when you choose to represent yourself.

The possibility of making incriminating statements is high because you lack the legal knowledge and experience that a lawyer has. You are also likely to become emotional, which could affect your judgment. Since you lack experience, you may not adhere to court rules and procedures. It is not worth the risk if you do not want to suffer the consequences of a conviction.

Even when you are an intelligent individual, nothing can substitute the value an experienced criminal defense attorney brings to a case. An experienced attorney will prepare your case, be well prepared for defense, and manage to remain calm throughout the trial. Experienced lawyers have handled several similar cases before and have worked with prosecutors and judges in the past. Therefore, they are less likely to be intimidated and can stick to a strong defense line until they obtain a favorable outcome of a case.

When the police obtain a warrant for your arrest, they’ll send out a word to other officers to arrest you on the spot. It means that the first officer to see you after that will arrest you. California arrests can happen at home, in the gym, or even in your workplace. They are pretty embarrassing, which is why you may be tempted to resist.

However, resisting an arrest is a criminal offense in California. It is provided under Section 148a of the state’s Penal Code. The law does not allow you to resist, delay or even obstruct an officer when the officer performs his/her lawful duties. Doing so will lead to additional misdemeanor charges that are punishable by up to one year of incarceration plus court fines.

Therefore, it is not advisable to resist an arrest, even if you feel that the arrest is a mistake. The best way to handle the situation is to go to the station with the officer and then call your attorney to handle the matter. An experienced attorney will aggressively fight to ensure that you are not spending more time behind bars than you should.

California’s highest court recently ruled that state judges must consider a defendant’s ability to post bail before setting the bail amount. Thus, you can be released without posting bail in California, though on certain conditions as will be explained here. If you cannot afford bail and cannot hire a bail bondsman’s services, the judge might agree to release you without posting bail as long as you are not deemed too dangerous to be released back to the community.

Additionally, California judges can release a defendant on personal recognizance. It also means that you’ll be released at no-cost bail. If the judge agrees to release you on your own recognizance, you’ll only be expected to sign a written promise that you’ll appear in court as required. You will not pay anything to the court or even hire the services of a bail bondsman.

However, the judge decides whether an individual will post bail or not, mainly depending on the facts of their case and their criminal history. If the judge feels that you might be a danger to members of the public, or you might try to run after release, he/she might not grant you bail. But an experienced attorney can fight all that and ensure that the court grants your right of release before trial.

People who break the law do so in hiding, especially from the police. Thus, the police do not always catch the perpetrators red-handed unless by setting a trap on them. The police receive information from several sources, sometimes from anonymous calls. Therefore, it is true that the police can act on anonymous tips to arrest a suspect. But they have to follow the right laws, rules, and procedures as provided in the constitution.

There are many ways in which the police come into contact with members of the public. It could be in the streets, in their homes or other buildings, or even in the people’s vehicles. When you act suspiciously in the presence of the police, the officers may be compelled to search your person or property, looking for any evidence of wrongdoing.

However, the public is protected by the 4th Amendment of the U.S Constitution against illegal search and seizure by the police. The police need a warrant to search your person or property. The document should bear the probable cause for the search and the exact places or persons they are allowed to search. You can accuse them of illegal search and seizure or illegal arrest in the absence of these.

Sometimes the police do not have enough time to obtain a search warrant, but they have enough reason to continue investigating. In this case, the officers will only be required to provide proof of reasonable suspicion that:

  • Activity out of the ordinary had occurred
  • The activity was related to a criminal offense
  • The person arrested was directly involved in the activity

If the narrative is accepted in court, then the police conduct will not be considered unlawful.

Usually, law enforcement officers must obtain a warrant to arrest someone. An arrest warrant is a written order by a magistrate that orders the police to apprehend before a court a particular individual facing criminal charges. A warrant gives the police jurisdiction over the defendant, a vital detail in the California criminal prosecution. A misdemeanor warrant requires the defendant to be taken directly to the issuing magistrate, but for a felony warrant, the defendant can be taken to any county magistrate.

However, California police can still arrest without a warrant, as provided under Sections 836 of the California Penal Code and 40300.5 of the state’s Vehicle Code. An arrest with no warrant is allowed in specific conditions, like:

  • When the offender breaks the law in the presence of a law enforcement officer
  • When the arresting officer has a probable reason to believe that the person committed an offense, even when the officer did not witness the commission of the offense

Therefore, police officers in California do not always require a warrant to arrest a suspect. That is why it could be a challenge for you to discern whether or not your arrest was lawful without the help of a legal expert. If you suspect that you were illegally arrested, explain the circumstances of your arrest to an experienced Anaheim criminal defense attorney. Some details of your arrest could point towards a violation of your rights, which can be used as a strong defense strategy in your case.

When the bail amount is set too high, not many people can secure their release. A bail bondsman comes in to help a defendant post their bail. It could be a company or an individual familiar with the court processes and who can assure the court of your appearance for trial. Bail bond companies offer their services for a small percentage of the bail amount. They might ask for a guarantee like a property deed to ensure that you’ll indeed appear in court as ordered.

Choosing the right bail bondsman is not always easy. You have to consider several factors to ensure that you are dealing with the right bail bond company/individual.

  • The right bail bondsman must be fully licensed and authorized to operate within the court’s location where you are facing charges — We cannot ignore the presence of fraudulent companies out there. That is why you should ensure that you are engaging a legit company’s services before signing a deal with them.
  • The company must have a physical address — Again, you want to be sure that you are dealing with a legit company. Even if a company has a solid online presence, a physical address is proof of its legality. You can always walk into their office if you have an issue and meet up with one of their agents.
  • The company must have a good reputation in the industry — A good track record of performance shows the kind of services you can expect from them. Check their testimonials and see how many of their previous clients were satisfied or dissatisfied with their services.
  • The company must have transparent charges and payment options — Hidden charges will raise the overall cost of bail bonds services. It is good to be sure of what you’ll be expected to pay before signing a contract with the company. The company must also have flexible payment options to make it easy for you to make payments.

California’s criminal justice system is quite complex, hence challenging to navigate on your own. You must be familiar with the processes involved and the legal jargon to hack it. However, there are specific procedures that only a trained criminal attorney can understand. That is why it is advisable to hire an attorney if you face criminal charges in California.

Many criminal defense attorneys, especially in Anaheim, promise to deliver quality and guaranteed legal services. You are likely to make a costly mistake if you quickly hire an attorney before considering the most critical factors. Some of them are:

  • An attorney’s knowledge and experience — Skills and experience are essential qualities of a criminal defense attorney. A highly trained attorney understands the law better to advise and help you fight for justice. An experienced attorney will know the right procedures to follow, the correct documents to file, and the right approach to use for a desirable outcome of your case.
  • Integrity — A criminal defense attorney must have very strong moral principles by which he/she lives. He should be a person you can trust, rely upon, and one who is willing and able to protect your rights and make the best decisions on your behalf.
  • Excellent communication skills — You want to engage the services of an attorney who can maintain open communication, not just with you but with his/her legal team and the court personnel. Your attorney should be a good listener, too, so he/she can grab even the slightest details that could help your case.
  • Aggressive — Aggressiveness is required during trial. Your attorney must be willing to challenge the prosecutor’s account and convince the court to drop or reduce your charges.
  • Familiarity with court processes — Choose an attorney who understands the court’s rules and procedures where you are to appear for trial. He/she should be familiar with how the court operates, the judges, prosecutors, and other court personnel. It makes the attorney’s work easier even as he/she prepares your defense.

The bail amount is usually the amount of money a judge will require a defendant to pay to secure their release from jail to await their court’s appearance for trial. For most crimes, the bail amount is usually predetermined. The police can tell you the amount of money you must pay for your release.

However, some circumstances require the defendant to appear in court for a bail hearing. It will be your first court appearance, where the judge will hear your charges and the circumstances of your arrest to determine the amount of bail you’ll pay for your release. For minor misdemeanors, you may be required to pay a rough estimate of $500. The amount could be more or less depending on the facts of your case.

Here are some of the factors that the judge can use to determine your bail amount:

  • The amount of evidence the police have gathered against you — The judge might take overwhelming evidence to mean a higher possibility of guilt. Thus, he/she will set a high amount of bail for you to discourage you from trying to run.
  • Your criminal history — If you are a repeat offender, the judge might set a high bail for you to protect your community if you commit another offense while you’re out on bail.
  • Risk to your community — If you have committed a grave offense, you are seen as a significant risk to your community. The judge may decide not to grant bail or to set a high bail.
  • Flight risk — You may be denied bail or be given a high bail if the judge feels that you are likely to run if released on bail.
  • The severity of the offense — Defendants charged with grave offenses are either denied bail or required to pay an even higher amount for their release.

Note that when your bail amount is high, the judge might be hoping that you’ll not be able to secure your release.

If the police suspect you of committing a criminal offense, they are likely to arrest you and refer your case to a prosecutor. The prosecutor then charges you in a criminal court, where you are tried before a jury. The trial outcome will determine whether or not you will be incarcerated or released with no further charges.

Even if you face the gravest charges in California, the police are not allowed by law to violate your rights. Therefore, knowing your rights from the beginning of the process is essential, as it is the only way you can protect yourself. For instance, the arresting officer cannot force you to talk or give your side of the story during an arrest. The law allows you the right to remain silent. The prosecutor can use anything you say to the police against you in court.

But if you speak and try to defend yourself, the police might take advantage of that to gather even more evidence against you. Unintentionally, you might be doing more harm to your case than good. The law mandates the arresting officer to read you a list of rights called Miranda Rights to prevent that from happening. They are:

  • Your right to remain silent and their right to use anything you say against you in court
  • Your right to an attorney — If you cannot afford an attorney and would like one, the court will provide one for free before you are questioned.

Once the officer reads your Miranda Rights, he/she can proceed to inquire from you whether you are comfortable speaking to the police. Hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney right from the beginning will ensure that your rights are protected throughout the process.

In California, a plea bargain is a legal settlement between a defendant and a prosecutor. The accused agrees to plead guilty or no contest to a particular crime in exchange for lesser charges or more lenient penalties. Prosecutors offer plea agreements when they want to resolve cases efficiently but are facing difficulties, probably because of the defendant’s defense.

During the trial, the jury relies on the evidence presented before the court to rule over a case. Evidence is provided by the prosecutor and the defense team and could support the case or counter the defendant’s charges. Based on both sides’ arguments, it comes a time when neither the prosecutor nor the defense team is sure of the outcome of a case. It means that the defendant has equal chances of winning and losing the case. If he/she goes for another trial, he might lose the case and suffer the offense’s full consequences as provided by the law.

To avoid that, your criminal defense attorney may advise you to come to an agreement with the prosecutor. In the agreement, you’ll plead guilty or no contest to a less-graver offense and suffer less-severe consequences.

The help of an experienced criminal attorney is vital in determining whether or not the deal is acceptable. Again, it takes a proficient attorney to know when you are at risk of losing a case to make a quick decision to accept a plea deal.

Thus, you have to be careful when hiring a criminal defense attorney. He/she has to be someone with your best interest at heart and one who’s willing to protect your rights throughout the legal process. The right attorney will be willing to negotiate the most favorable terms for his/her client with the prosecutor.

When the police arrest you, they take you to the station for booking. The booking or processing involves recording your personal information, including your name, address, date of birth, physical appearance, and the alleged offense. The police then conduct a criminal background check on you, take your fingerprints and mugshot and seize any personal property. Your property will be returned on the day of your release from incarceration. The officers will also check whether you are intoxicated, and then you’ll be allowed to make a call. When all is done, you will be put in a jail cell, together with other suspects who have been booked recently.

Bail refers to an earlier release of a defendant in exchange for a specified amount of money, which the court holds until your case is concluded. The court takes the money, hoping that you will show up for your court dates to recover the bail later.

If you have been arrested for a less-serious crime, the police will allow you to post bail immediately after the booking process. The bail amount is usually predetermined. Therefore, it is possible to know how much you’re required to pay to be released from jail. However, if your charges are serious, you might have to wait for at least 48 hours for a bail hearing, where the judge determines your eligibility for bail and the amount you’ll be required to pay.

Release on bail is usually done on conditions. For example, you’ll be expected to honor all court dates, not commit any criminal offense while out on bail, and not relocate to another state. If the underlying offense was drug-related, the court might order you to refrain from alcohol or drug use. You might also be required to find permanent employment.

When a prosecutor files charges against a defendant, he/she can choose to file misdemeanor or felony charges based on the case’s facts.  Misdemeanor charges are less severe when compared to felonies.

Felony offenses are offenses punishable by a one-year jail term or long prison terms. They include severe crimes like rape, murder, homicide, and vehicular manslaughter. Some felonies are graver than others and could carry even graver consequences like life imprisonment with no possibility of parole.

On the other hand, misdemeanor offenses are punished by a maximum sentence of one year in jail. They are less severe offenses and may include first-offense DUI, reckless driving, and petty theft. Several prior misdemeanor convictions in a specific period can trigger a felony conviction. For example, a fourth-DUI offense is charged as a felony because the offender has three previous DUI convictions in ten years in his/her criminal record.

Both California misdemeanor and felony charges should be taken seriously as a conviction could change several aspects of your life, including your career and social life. A conviction in your criminal record is also likely to affect your future life, however trivial the offense might seem. That is why you should have a solid criminal defense lawyer handle your defense to avoid a conviction.

An experienced attorney understands the weight every criminal charge carries, even a minor one. The attorney will use his/her skills, experience, and connections to have your charges dropped.  Thus, it is advisable to get in touch with an experienced criminal attorney immediately after being arrested.

Find an California Criminal Lawyer Group Near Me

If you face criminal charges in Anaheim, CA, you might have so many unanswered questions. Hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney right after your arrest takes the burden off your shoulders. Your attorney will answer your questions, advise you on your best options, guide you through the process, and plan for the defense to ensure your case’s favorable outcome. At California Criminal Lawyer Group, we specialize in criminal law and are willing to protect your rights. Call us at 714-766-0965 and let us review your options.

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If you have been accused of a criminal offense in Anaheim, California, our defense lawyers are readily available to help you find a way out. At California Criminal Lawyer Group, we pride ourselves on preparing more than the opposition. We provide expert legal advice and representation and take a hands-on, personal approach that’ll produce the best possible results. Our lawyers are on standby 24/7/365 to discuss the details of your case. Contact us today at 714-766-0965 for a complimentary case evaluation. We serve clients in Anaheim, as well as the neighboring cities and counties.