El Segundo Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been accused or arrested of a crime in El Segundo, CA, your future may very well be at stake. Depending on the severity of the crime, you are facing thousands of dollars in fines and years of incarceration. It is essential to speak with an authority in criminal law; advice from well-meaning friends and loved ones will generally not yield positive results when you are going against the power held by law enforcement and the prosecution team. Reaching out to a skilled criminal defense attorney can result in a much more positive outcome than you might find on your own, especially as you deal with the stress that comes with an arrest.
Ernenwein & Mathes, LLP, has built our practice to exclusively help those who have been accused of misdemeanor and felony crimes in Southern California. With over 60 years of combined experience in criminal law, our attorneys have the knowledge to find and reach the greatest potential result for your case. Although the goal is to get the charges dismissed or reduced before a trial, we can also aggressively defend you during a trial.
El Segundo Criminal Defense Attorney
You can trust that the attorneys with Ernenwein & Mathes, LLP, are dedicated to helping you understand the legal proceedings and finding solutions for your case. With extensive knowledge of criminal law and access to valuable resources like a licensed private investigator, we are fully capable of aggressively defending you until your case is complete. Contact Ernenwein & Mathes, LLP, today if you need a criminal defense attorney.
"Character, class, calculated, charm, and charisma are words that describe Robert."I cannot thank Robert enough for his efforts, knowledge, and execution in my case. He gave me a second chance.- Kevin Q.
"I trust this powerful team with my life, because they have saved it time and time again."Michelle has had a profound impact on my life. She not only has a firm grasp of legal matters, but also of human emotions. This dynamic duo worked all hours of the day and night on my case. They exerted effort way beyond the amount that I had paid them.- Khadijeh K.
"No other lawyer will have more integrity than Mr. Ernenwein."He has been there with me in the hardest of times. No other lawyer will have more integrity than Mr. Ernenwein.- Christopher G.
"Thank you for being our family’s advocate and the best lawyer that we could have asked for!"Now, my brother is able to FINALLY move on with his life and utilize the education he acquired and work in a field where he will be able to succeed.- Carol L.
"I can’t say enough about how grateful we are and how fortunate we were that someone we trusted recommended him to us."The respect from his many years of experience and integrity in his community is for certain why we are whole again today.- Karen D.
"5 stars across the board."If you are in need of a great attorney with an abundance of experience as well as a very professional office staff who constantly will keep you updated, call Ernenwein & Mathes!- Jake L.
"Top notch legal counsel and representation."They are the gold standard for defense attorneys. A+- Former Client
"From the moment we met Robert and shook his hand, he made us feel at ease."When you need an attorney, do yourself a favor an call Robert Ernenewein. I’m so glad we did.- Krystine R.
Important Criminal Law Terms
As you begin fighting the charges against you, it is important to be familiar with the terms used. We can explain any portion of the case that you do not understand, as it will likely reduce the anxiety you feel if you can follow the case immediately as it progresses. It can also ensure that the time spent with your attorney is as productive as possible. Some terms that are likely to arise during your criminal case may include:
- Plea: This is the defendant’s official response, typically guilty or not guilty, to the charges against them.
- Acquittal: A judge may find that the evidence is insufficient to support a conviction, or a jury may decide that a defendant is not guilty.
- Concurrent Sentence: Prison terms for multiple offenses can be served at the same time instead of one after the other. For example, a sentence of four years and a sentence of eight years will result in a maximum incarceration time of eight years.
- Interrogation: This is the questioning that is usually done by the police of a suspect in their custody. The suspect is not legally obligated to answer these questions, and a refusal to answer cannot be considered an admission of guilt. If the suspect requests an attorney, the questioning must cease, as no answers after the request can be used against the suspect at trial.
- Leniency: This is a recommendation or request for a sentence less severe than the maximum allowed.
- Subpoena: This can order a witness to appear and give testimony.
A criminal conviction is likely to affect multiple aspects of your life, so making any decisions without full comprehension of the choice you are making can have lifelong, damaging effects. Because many other legal terms will arise as you navigate the criminal court system, your attorney can be an invaluable resource. They can ensure that you understand each part of your case, allowing you to make informed decisions about it and, ultimately, your future.
Misdemeanor vs. Felony
Misdemeanors and felonies are the two major classifications of crimes, and recognizing the difference is essential as you progress in your case. The criminal penalties, as well as the implications of the two different types of crimes on your record, differ dramatically
Misdemeanors are less severe crimes that carry a penalty of less than one year in jail and/or prison and a fine of less than $1,000. Examples of this level of crime include petty theft, public intoxication, prostitution, and disorderly conduct.
Felonies are more severe crimes that carry a penalty of incarceration lasting at least a year and fines of up to $10,000. There are also other applicable penalties, including the prohibition against owning firearms and ammunition, loss of voting rights, and inability to hold a public office. Examples of felonies include murder, gross vehicular manslaughter, kidnapping, and assault with a firearm.
Some crimes are also considered wobblers, meaning that they can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances of the crime. Prosecutors may choose to apply the felony form of a charge to appear strict on crime, even though the misdemeanor form is more applicable to the case. A skilled criminal defense attorney can help ensure that the correct charges are applied and at the appropriate level.
The outcome of being convicted of a misdemeanor is much less harmful than a felony conviction. If possible, one goal for your situation should be to reduce a felony charge down to a misdemeanor. Reducing the charge prevents a felony from being on your record and eliminates the lifelong penalties that you will experience, even after leaving incarceration.
Tips for Dealing With Law Enforcement
Speaking with law enforcement, even if you are not under arrest, can be a stressful and confusing experience. The stress becomes much more amplified when you have been placed under arrest. Making the experience less stressful begins with knowing how to respond when interacting with California law enforcement.
This does not necessarily mean that you need to be gracious or extra nice, but it is greatly beneficial to cooperate with the officer’s instructions. It is also important to not resist arrest, which includes threatening the officer or refusing to let them handcuff you. If you believe that you are being arrested unlawfully or that your rights have been violated, the time to decide to fight is after the arrest while speaking with a defense attorney.
- Remain Silent
You are required to provide identifying information, like your name and birthdate, but you are not legally required to supply any other information. If an officer is asking you questions, they are gathering evidence to use against you. Refusing to answer their questions prevents self-incrimination, and this refusal cannot be used as an admission of guilt. It is also important to not reveal any information related to the crime if you use the jail phone, as all calls are recorded.
- Refuse a Search
Per the Fourth Amendment, you have an expectation of privacy on your property, and law enforcement cannot enter without a warrant. Whether the officer is requesting to search your home or vehicle, you should refuse to allow the search unless they present a valid search warrant. Any evidence collected without a search warrant, and without your permission, cannot generally be used in court against you.
- Ask for an Attorney
After you are arrested, ask for an El Segundo criminal defense lawyer immediately. Once you ask for an attorney, the police officers are supposed to stop asking you questions until you have spoken with the attorney. Speaking with a criminal defense attorney can help you protect your rights in the event of an arrest and interrogation. It is important to remember that an arrest is not a conviction, and you are innocent until you have been found guilty of the crime in court.
El Segundo Criminal Defense Lawyer FAQs
Q: What Is the Difference Between a Criminal Defense Attorney and a Public Defender?
A: Public defenders are attorneys appointed by the court to a defendant that cannot afford their own representation. They are often overworked due to their volume of cases and cannot devote a lot of time to each individual case. There are generally income requirements to qualify to use a public defender. Criminal defense attorneys, however, are private attorneys who are hired by the defendant and choose their own caseloads. They are usually experienced and have an expansive resource network.
Q: Should I Plead Guilty at My Arraignment?
A: In most circumstances, it is not to your benefit to plead guilty during your arraignment. Pleading not guilty gives more time for an attorney to examine your case and determine your options for moving forward. Although you may ultimately plead guilty or no contest further on in your case, it is always beneficial to give an attorney more time to find potential options for reducing your charges, having some of the charges dismissed, or getting a favorable plea bargain.
Q: What Are Alternative Sentencing Options in California?
A: Alternative sentencing options are programs designed with the belief that rehab would be a more effective solution than prison for the defendant. Common alternative sentencing options include:
- Therapy treatments
- Community service
- House arrest
- Supervised probation
- Drug diversion programs
- Behavioral management programs
These options can be proposed to the prosecutor and judge in appropriate situations.
Q: Do I Need to Consult With a Defense Lawyer If I Have Been Arrested?
A: Criminal defense attorneys are familiar with many aspects of the local court systems, including court procedures, judges, and prosecutors. Their familiarity with the system is often key in finding positive solutions for your case that ensure your rights are upheld and are less impactful on your future. Ultimately, it is not legally required to work with a defense attorney, but it is often recommended for the resulting benefits.
Our clients have direct communication with their legal team from start to finish.
Attorney Robert Ernenwein is a certified specialist in criminal law, by the State Bar of California, Board of Legal Specialization.
Our team has decades of experience and a strong track record of success.
We have experience on both sides of the courtroom.
Work with a criminal defense attorney who speaks your language.
Learn how our defense lawyers can help during a free consult.