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Court cases in the United States are split into two categories: criminal cases and civil cases. Civil cases occur when one individual brings charges against another for harm they have caused. Criminal cases occur when the state or federal government brings charges against an individual for breaking the law. This is the government’s way of enforcing the rules and ensuring that all citizens follow the law.

If you are accused of a crime of any kind, it is important to take the situation seriously. Criminal charges are a grave matter and can have a significant impact on your lifestyle, family, and future. The consequences are often severe and can alter every part of your life.

Fortunately, the legal system gives every person who is accused of a crime the right to a fair trial. To make sure that the court hears your voice and perspective during this trial, it is important for you to hire a qualified criminal defense attorney to represent you. With the help of an attorney, you can make your best effort to avoid serious charges, punishments, and fines.

The attorneys at Ernenwein & Mathes, LLP, are here to help you through a variety of criminal defense cases. No matter the nature of your case, the severity of your charges, or the urgency of your need, we give you the best chance of winning your Southern California criminal defense case.

Ernenwein & Mathes, LLP: Your Criminal Defense Attorneys in Los Angeles County

Our team at Ernenwein & Mathes, LLP, has been practicing criminal law for many years. We understand the intricacies of these cases, but more importantly, we understand what is at stake for you. Even an unfounded accusation of a crime can ruin your entire reputation. We are here to give you the best possible chance to clear your name and move forward with your life.

When you work with our team, you have access to extensive legal resources. We use all the tools at our disposal, including private investigators, to collect airtight evidence in your favor. We can build a reliable case for you and fight it tenaciously in court. When your case ends, you can rest assured that every effort has been made to maintain your innocence.

We are very innovative in developing solutions for your criminal case. If you feel hopeless or defeated about your situation, our team can develop an alternative that brings new life into your case. Criminal allegations are intimidating, to say the least. When you have our team at your side, you have the resources you need to fight back.

What Is a Criminal Case?

A criminal case is one that the state or federal government (the prosecution) brings against an individual or business (the defense). This is the antithesis of a civil case in which a citizen or business (the prosecution) brings a case against another citizen or business (the defense). In civil cases, the charges can easily be dropped if the prosecution decides to do so. However, in a criminal case, the government would have to drop the charges, and this is rare. Criminal charges are much more serious than facing charges in civil court. The punishments in criminal court are also more severe, whereas civil court proceedings often lead to simple fines or lighter punishments.

There are many different kinds of criminal cases, each with its own set of punishments. Criminal offenses can be misdemeanors, felonies, or, in some instances, both.

Why Do I Need a Southern California Criminal Defense Attorney?

When you are facing criminal charges, there is a lot on the line. Criminal offenses carry severe punishments, including fines, probation, jail or prison time, and more. Many people who are found guilty of a crime find it difficult to get a job, secure proper housing, and move forward with their lives. With so much at stake, it is irresponsible and ill-advised to represent yourself in court.

With a qualified Southern California criminal defense lawyer from Ernenwein & Mathes, LLP, you have the best chance of winning your case and avoiding charges. Winning your case could mean a bright future for you and your family, as well as avoiding severe punishments, jail time, and more. Individuals who represent themselves in court are rarely victorious. Arguing your point of view is difficult and requires significant training. Our firm can support you, answer your questions, and build a reliable case in your favor for your court appearance.

Types of Criminal Charges

Because criminal charges are such a large category within the legal system, there are many types of criminal charges that you may face. Understanding the types of criminal offenses can help you understand what you are facing when you undergo the legal process.

DUI

The most common type of criminal offense is driving under the influence (DUI). These offenses happen to normal people, often by accident. However, the law takes them very seriously. A person can be charged with DUI if they are caught driving with a blood alcohol content of at least 0.8% or while under the influence of drugs of any kind.

DUI charges do not follow a perfect system. Breathalyzer tests can be faulty, field sobriety tests are often misleading, and police officers can pull drivers over for illegal reasons. If you have been arrested for a DUI, it is important to know that there are reliable ways to fight the charges and clear your record.

Violent Crimes

When many people think about the criminal justice system, violent crimes come to mind. These offenses include many activities that cause physical harm to other people or property. Some examples of violent crimes include:

  • Assault and battery
  • Robbery
  • Murder
  • Arson
  • Child endangerment
  • Weapons charges or violations

When an individual has a violent crime on their record, it is especially difficult to find work, housing, and support, regardless of the circumstances of the crime or the reality of their situation. Because of this, it is especially important to fight violent crime charges and keep them off your record.

Sex Crimes

Even the allegation of a sexual offense can have a strong effect on your entire life. Many people who have been found guilty of sex crimes must register with the sex offender database to inform their neighbors and communities of their mistake. Furthermore, there are laws that heavily restrict the places where a person can live, work, and spend their time if they have a sex crime conviction on their record.

Examples of sex crimes include:

  • Prostitution
  • Indecent exposure or public intercourse
  • Child molestation or pornography
  • Sex trafficking
  • Rape
  • Internet sex crimes

Individuals who face charges of sex crimes need an attorney who will listen to their perspective and fight for their rights. Our team is here to represent you if you are going through a sex crimes case.

Drug Offenses

Although marijuana is recreationally and medically legal in the state of California, there are ways in which a person can commit a drug crime related to marijuana or another drug. The possession, sale, distribution, or trafficking of most drugs remains illegal. If you are caught with drugs, you can face severe consequences, including years in jail or prison.

Misunderstandings surrounding drugs happen all the time. If you are being charged with a drug crime, it is important to tell your side of the story. Our attorneys can help you show the court the reality of the situation and help you clear your name.

Domestic Violence

If you have been accused of domestic violence, you face very serious and personal consequences. You may lose custody of your children, and you can even face restraining orders, jail or prison time, and other serious punishments.

Common types of domestic violence include:

  • Physical abuse such as hitting, kicking, punching, etc.
  • Emotional abuse such as manipulation, threats, put-downs, etc.
  • Sexual abuse such as rape, sexual assault, trafficking, etc.
  • Financial abuse such as withholding shared money

Our team knows that sometimes domestic violence accusations are unfounded or are the result of a disagreement. No matter what your circumstances may be, we are here to help you defend yourself in court.

Felony vs. Misdemeanor Charges

Criminal charges can be felonies, misdemeanors, or both. A misdemeanor is considered the least severe of these categories and usually carries lighter punishments. Common misdemeanor charges include:

  • Public intoxication
  • Shoplifting
  • Disturbing the peace
  • Soliciting for prostitution
  • Probation violations

Although a misdemeanor is considered a lesser offense than a felony, it can still carry serious fines and jail time.

Felony charges almost always carry prison time and severe fines. A felony conviction also prevents you from voting, limits where you can live and work, and stays on your record indefinitely. Common felony charges include:

  • Robbery
  • Murder or attempted murder
  • Kidnapping
  • Vehicular manslaughter
  • Assault with a deadly weapon

If you are facing felony charges, it is imperative to have legal help for the duration of your case. The consequences of a felony conviction are too severe to ignore.

Finally, some offenses can be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the unique situation. These are called “wobbler” charges. The most common wobbler charge is a DUI. In most cases, a DUI is considered a misdemeanor. However, if a person has four or more DUI offenses, or if they kill or seriously injure someone while driving, they will face a felony DUI charge.

Potential Defenses to Criminal Accusations

According to the federal constitution, a person is considered innocent until they are proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This means that it is the prosecution’s job to present a strong case that proves that the defense is guilty. It is the defense’s job to maintain their innocence by infusing the prosecution’s argument with doubt or identifying weak points in their argument. This causes the jury to doubt what happened. If they doubt that the defense committed the crime, they cannot convict them. In a criminal trial, the jury must be unanimous in its decision.

Your Los Angeles County criminal defense attorney will develop your defense argument based on your unique situation. We begin by evaluating the available evidence. Once we identify evidence that can contradict the prosecution’s argument, we can begin to build a strong defense against the charges you are facing. Some common types of criminal defense arguments include:

  • Self defense
  • Defense of others
  • Coercion
  • Mental illness
  • Necessity
  • Entrapment

It is important to find a criminal defense attorney with whom you can speak openly and honestly about your experiences. The more honest you are, the more reliable your argument will be.

What to Look for in a Criminal Defense Attorney

When you are searching for a Southern California criminal defense attorney, you may feel overwhelmed by the choices. To narrow the search, be sure to look for someone who:

  • Has extensive experience in criminal defense law and in your type of crime specifically.
  • Has a good record of winning cases like yours.
  • Listens closely to your perspective.
  • Believes in your case.
  • Fits within your budget.

Although it may feel uncomfortable to discuss finances with potential attorneys, it is imperative that you do so. All attorneys charge differently for their services, so it is impossible to know how much an attorney will charge for taking a case until you speak with them directly. Make sure that their rates are fair and within your budget. If you do not discuss fees and charges with potential attorneys, you may hire one that you cannot afford. This can result in losing your legal representation, which will only hurt your case.

Attorneys should speak openly and honestly about their experience, their confidence in your case, and their fee structure. If they are not straightforward with you, continue to look until you find an attorney who is.

Contact Ernenwein & Mathes, LLP

If you have been accused of a crime, you need to find legal representation as soon as possible. Our attorneys are here to find creative legal solutions for your case, no matter the type or severity.

For more information about our services, our history, or how we can help you, please contact Ernenwein & Mathes, LLP, online today

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