BAKERSFIELD CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEYS
The reality is that the police will not tell you that you need a lawyer, there is a reason for
that, they do not want you to hire one. If you have been contacted by the Bakersfield
Police, you certainly need to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney
immediately. One of the reasons for consulting with a Lawyer is to find out if you actually
need representation or not. That is something that can only be decided with a one-on-one
conversation with an experienced local criminal defense attorney, not a paralegal, or "case
manager" and only after he is familiar with all the facts of your case.
IF I AM INNOCENT OF CRIMINAL CHARGES FILED AGAINST ME, DO I STILL
NEED AN ATTORNEY?
Absolutely! The fact that you are innocent does not mean you will be acquitted at
trial. We all like to think that truth and justice always prevails, but unfortunately
that is the ideal - not necessarily the reality. In fact, sometimes police and
prosecutors are so eager to push cases through the system that innocent people are
found guilty of crimes they did not commit. The only way to ensure that your rights
are fully protected and that the evidence in your favor is fully and fairly presented
in court is to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to provide you with
proper legal representation. The general public fails to realize the verdict in a criminal case
made by a judge or jury is either guilty or not-guilty. The jury or judge does not make a
finding of innocent or not innocent. A not-guilty verdict decision can be arrived at in any
several ways. For example, a judge or jury could believe the prosecution did not prove their
case beyond a reasonable doubt. This generally means the judge or jury
think the accused person on trial probably committed the offenses charged,
however, the law requires that a conviction cannot stand on probability. The verdict
therefore would be NOT-GUILTY. Another example, on the other side of the
spectrum, would be a judge or jury believes an accused person is actually innocent.
Again, the decision would be NOT-GUILTY. The legal decision or verdict is never
innocent. A good example of this is where the media covers a criminal proceeding.
Oftentimes they report that the defendant pleaded INNOCENT. In the majority of
jurisdictions, INNOCENT is not a proper plea. Generally what they mean to report
is that the person pleaded NOT-GUILTY. Another example is where the media
reports a verdict at the conclusion of a trial. If the defendant was acquitted, they
again oftentimes report it as being found INNOCENT when in fact the jury found
the person NOT-GUILTY.
DO I NEED A CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY IF MY CASE IS UNDER
INVESTIGATION AND NO CHARGES HAVE BEEN FILED AGAINST ME?
Your need for the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney may be just as
great during the course of a police investigation, as afterwards. Please keep in mind
police and prosecutors do not always give people the benefit of the doubt before
filing charges. They also make mistakes. Don't assume that the police will fairly
investigate all the facts, or that prosecutors will fairly decide whether or not you
should be charged. Any evidence in your favor should be fully investigated and
preserved by your own experienced criminal defense attorney, representing only
you, as early as possible. Your attorney might also bring this evidence to the
attention of the police and prosecutors with a view towards convincing them not to
file charges against you. Sometimes it is easier to convince prosecutors not to file
charges initially than it is to persuade them to dismiss charges after they have been
IF THE GOVERNMENT HASN'T FILED CHARGES AGAINST ME AFTER A
LONG PERIOD OF TIME, DOES THAT MEAN I PROBABLY WON'T BE
Not necessarily. The Kern County District Attorney can file criminal charges at any time
within the applicable "statute of limitations". There are many reasons why prosecutors
wait to file charges. Generally, prosecutors do not file charges until they are certain the
investigation is reasonably complete. This process can takes months, even years. Never
think that because a significant period of time has passed that the state cannot file
charges against you. This is an important aspect of your case that should be discussed
with your attorney.
WHAT CAN A CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY DO FOR ME IF CHARGES
HAVE NOT BEEN FILED?
Your attorney might be able to persuade prosecutors that there are good reasons
why charges should not be filed against you. Perhaps there is a legal reason why the
law doesn't apply to your factual situation. Perhaps there are weaknesses in the
evidence that law enforcement officials have overlooked. Perhaps there are others
who are more criminally responsible than you are. For a variety of reasons, an
attorney might be able to convince the authorities that you should not be the focus
of their investigation.
WILL POLICE INVESTIGATORS COME TO SPEAK TO ME BEFORE
CHARGES ARE FILED?
Maybe. Maybe not. If the police think you will talk to them and that your statement
would help their case, i.e. you will incriminate yourself in some way, they might try
to interview you. Whether you should speak to them is sometimes a complex
decision that is always best made with the advice of an experienced criminal defense
attorney. As a general rule do not talk to the police without an experienced criminal
defense attorney present to represent you. It is your constitutional right, exercise it,
don't waive it. The police are very experienced at getting people to say what they
want them to say.
IF I AM GUILTY, AND IF I PLEAD GUILTY, WILL I GET PROBATION IF THIS IS
MY FIRST OFFENSE?
Don't count on it. Judges are bound by sentencing guidelines that have
removed a great deal of discretion from their hands. You could find yourself sent off
to prison even if the judge believes that you would make a good candidate for
probation. In Bakersfield, Superior Court judges can also be overly harsh in their
sentencing, depending upon the facts of the case and the recommendation of the
prosecutor. There are many crimes in California that require mandatory prison time.
i.e. Selling Drugs, Aggravated/Felony Drunk Driving, Assault with a Deadly
Weapon. An experienced Bakersfield Criminal Defense Attorney can advise you of
strategies for increasing your chances of being placed on probation. Only with an
experienced criminal defense attorney can you be confident that the state will not take
advantage of you if you plead guilty.
WHAT CAN A CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY DO IF CHARGES HAVE
ALREADY BEEN FILED?
Your attorney must evaluate the evidence to determine if the government can prove
its case against you. Sometimes prosecutors are mistaken about the strength of their
evidence and can be persuaded to abandon their case after hearing both sides of the
story. Other times, prosecutors can be persuaded to dismiss charges because of
changes in the evidence. If the evidence against you is too strong to obtain a
dismissal of charges, your attorney must evaluate whether it is in your best interest
to go to trial or obtain a negotiated plea agreement. Only an experienced criminal
defense attorney can evaluate your chances for success at trial. If you are likely to
lose at trial, your attorney will attempt to negotiate the best possible deal that can be
obtained from the prosecution. Sometimes, those who are willing to deal early in the
proceedings are able to avoid jail or other significant penalties such as large fines.
Finally, if you and your attorney decide to take your chances and go to trial, your
attorney will develop evidence in your favor with the goal of persuading a jury that
there is a reasonable doubt as to whether you are guilty of the charges.
IF YOU ARE IN DOUBT ABOUT WHAT TO DO, TALK TO AN EXPERIENCED
CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY NOW:
considered formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer or attorney client relationship. Any results set forth here
were dependent on the facts of that case and the results will differ from case to case. Please contact a Kern County DUI
lawyer or attorney for a free initial consultation. This web site is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the
State of California.
Any advice on this Bakersfield Criminal Defense Web page is general in nature and not designed for specific cases of
your arrest for drunk driving, DUI, DWI, driving under the influence of alcohol, driving under the influence of drugs,
driving while intoxicated, felony DUI, felony drunk driving, manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter, or other related
criminal or civil matter. Your specific case situation can involve very different laws, facts, penalties and procedures. You
should always obtain legal representation and advice from a competent criminal defense attorney experienced in drunk
driving defense who is familiar with the facts (symptoms of intoxication, field sobriety tests, blood alcohol tests, possible
penalties, possible defenses, prior convictions, driver's license suspension ramifications, etc.) unique to your DUI case
in the Bakersfield or Kern County Court.