Thursday, July 25, 2013

What is a Section 17?

Penal Code Section 17(b) provides an opportunity to request that a criminal conviction be reduced after sentencing from a felony to a misdemeanor for most - not all - offenses, and even from a misdemeanor to an infraction for certain specified violations.

The long term effects of a felony conviction are obvious. It can be used to deny employment, professional licensing, firearm possession, and certain government benefits. And the stigma alone associated with having a felony on one's record can be personally devastating.

In the event you have suffered a felony or misdemeanor conviction in the past and have successfully completed your probation (and did not serve your jail term in state prison), in most cases - not all - you are eligible to apply for a reduction.

In most cases you will receive a result within 60 days or less.  Please feel free to contact my office now for a free initial consultation.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

You've Been Arrested - How Soon Should I Hire a Lawyer?

I am often asked by potential clients how soon should they hire a lawyer. My answer is always the same: "as soon as possible!"

If you've been arrested for a felony or a misdemeanor offense, having an attorney early-on can help mitigate any penalty you're facing. If your attorney is experienced and familiar with the customs, personalities and policies of the court that has jurisdiction over your case, he can devise a defense strategy and take important first steps which can favorably affect the ultimate disposition of your case.

The only reason not to hire an attorney are the fees associated with doing so. Retaining an experienced attorney can be expensive. Obviously, no one plans into their budget the cost of hiring a lawyer. But unless you're not particularly concerned about the longterm effects of an arrest, a simple cost/benefit analysis will always land in favor of hiring an attorney to help mitigate the serious consequences you're facing.

Please feel free to contact my office now for a free initial consultation.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

How Do Criminal Lawyers Structure their Fees?

Most criminal defense attorneys in California work on a "flat fee" retainer basis. That is, in most cases the attorney will charge a single lump sum paid before representation begins. Most lawyers in this field do not bill on an hourly basis.

The retainer usually covers most services required to settle your case before trial. However, fees can increase substantially in the event complex legal issues arise or you choose to go to "jury trial."

Because of the brevity of most criminal matters prolonged "payment plans" are not usually available. While in theory the amount of the fee is negotiable, as a practical matter they usually fall within a standard range determined by the seriousness of your situation. For example, a simple misdemeanor matter might typically start around $1,500.00 to settle before trail, but that can be higher depending on the complexity of your case, your prior record, the court location, etc. Felonies are usually much more expensive.

The fees are also based upon the level of experience of the attorney handling your case. Unfortunately, because other factors can also determine the amount, fees can vary widely and it is difficult for a client to assess which fee is reasonable for any given situation. Although the lawyer that offers the lowest fee can be most appealing when your resources are low, in my experience an attorney that charges less will often lack the experience or time necessary to represent you properly. As is the case with most things, going with the "lowest bidder" is not always the best choice in the long run.

It is my custom and practice to offer my clients the best value I can for the fee that's paid. While my fees are not the lowest, they are competitive and are set with idea of providing you the most complete representation possible in your case. All major credit cards are accepted. Call my office now for a free consultation.