Call For Consultation310-375-5858

Harbor City Criminal Defense Lawyer

Home / Harbor City Criminal Defense Lawyer

Harbor City, CA Criminal Defense Law Firm

It can happen to anyone. You find out you’re being arrested and charged with a criminal act you do not know of. Or perhaps you made an honest mistake and now worry about the consequences. In a second, your life changes forever. Your head is swirling, and you need help. That’s when it’s time to contact a Harbor City, CA, criminal defense lawyer, and law firm.

At Ernenwein & Mathes, LLP, we can help you with all your criminal defense needs. Whether you’re facing an accusation of a violent crime, DUI, or something else, our team is ready to assist you with legal requirements. We can advocate for you during the legal process to help secure the most favorable outcome for your case.

Harbor City Criminal Defense Lawyer

Should You Trust Ernenwein and Mathes, LLP, for Your Criminal Defense Needs?

Robert Ernenwein and Michele Mathes are experienced attorneys working in law for many years. Both attorneys bring their experience and skills to the firm to make us one of the premier Harbor City, CA, law firms. Ms. Mathes has worked as a defense attorney since passing the bar in 1998, and Mr. Ernenwein has even more experience, practicing law since 1984.

Mr. Ernenwein makes his clients a top priority and always provides them with his personal cell phone number so they can reach him day or night. At Ernenwein & Mathes, LLP, we know a little empathy can go a long way, and we seek to craft a unique defense for each of our new clients.

Criminal Defense: The Basics

So, what is criminal defense? In short, criminal defense covers any defense attorney who represents a client during a criminal trial. We separate law into two main branches: civil and criminal.

Civil cases are any legal matters between two individuals. If someone files a claim against someone else for injury or violation of rights, this is a civil case. Some defense lawyers work with clients during civil matters, but others, like ourselves at Ernenwein & Mathes, LLP, focus on the criminal aspect.

Civil cases do not carry the risk of any jail time. The court may order you to pay restitution to the prosecuting party, but you will not have to pay a fine or go to prison during a civil trial. The burden of proof is also different in civil trials. The jury only needs to lean to one side to rule in their favor.

Criminal cases are between a group or individual and the government. These are the type of cases that are something akin to The State of California v. Mr. Smith. Unlike civil cases, criminal trials carry the risk of jail time and fines to the state.

In a criminal case, the burden of proof rests on the prosecution. The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused committed the crime. If any doubt or holes remain in the story, the jury will acquit the accused of the charges.

Criminal defense is a high-stakes affair. While a civil case may hurt your wallet, a conviction in a criminal trial may lead to several years in jail. Treat any criminal charge seriously.

Do I Even Need a Lawyer for a Criminal Defense Trial?

The law does not require an individual to hire a lawyer for any civil or criminal trials. However, any legal professional you talk to will recommend having a lawyer on your side for any legal matter.

If you’ve ever watched a police procedural, you’ve probably heard officers read a suspect their Miranda Rights. The second part mentions how you have the right to an attorney, and if you cannot afford one, the state will provide you with a public defender. Every accused person has the right to legal representation in a criminal trial.

While it may seem tempting to take on a public defender due to the free price tag, this is not always the most favorable option. Public defenders are overworked and don’t have enough time to give your case the care and attention it deserves.

Alternatively, a private defense attorney is not under the same burdens and working conditions as a public defender. Instead, they can focus on a small handful of cases at a time and give each client special attention. Private criminal defense attorneys don’t use a one-size-fits-all approach but craft a unique defense for each client.

Self-representation also seems like a viable solution to some people. You save money on attorney’s fees and can prove your innocence. In reality, representing yourself in court is tricky and could land you serving a maximum sentence.

When you represent yourself in court, the judge expects you to know every applicable law and conduct yourself as a barred attorney would. Understanding the complex world of criminal law takes attorneys years of schooling and studying. You will not be able to understand it in the time you have between a charge and the trial.

What Types of Criminal Cases Do Ernenwein & Mathes, LLP, Handle?

Let’s take a look at a few of the many case types we handle at Ernenwein and Mathes, LLP.


DUI is an all-too-common crime in California. Despite its ubiquitous nature, a jury finding you guilty of DUI charges can prove costly to the average citizen. While we don’t approve of driving under the influence of drugs, there are situations where you may not be at fault.

Even if you believe you are guilty, you should still speak with an experienced Harbor City, CA, criminal defense lawyer, and law firm. A DUI will have long-term consequences, and having someone like Ernenwein and Mathes, LLP, on board can help you navigate the situation.

Drug Crimes

California takes drug crimes seriously, but we can help defend you from the state’s accusations. Drug laws are complicated and often changing, so you need defense counsel who is keeping up with new developments in the world of law.

There are a few legal defenses you can use when caught in possession of drugs. The search and seizure may have been illegal, the chem lab may have made a mistake on the illegality of the drugs, or you may not have known the drugs were on your person at all.

Violent Crimes

Violent crimes cover many different infractions, from murder to assault. Regardless of the crime, you should contact a lawyer immediately. Most forms of violent crime carry harsh sentencing guidelines for individuals.

There are plenty of ways a defense attorney can show reasonable doubt during a violent crime trial. Having a skilled attorney on your side is crucial to getting a fair trial.

Criminal Defense Attorney FAQs

Q: What Is the Difference Between Defense Lawyers and Criminal Lawyers?

A: People often lump defense lawyers and criminal defense lawyers together, but there is a slight difference between the two. Criminal defense lawyers only handle criminal trials. These are the trials between the state and another party and can lead to jail time.

On the other hand, defense lawyers also handle some civil and criminal trials. While they aren’t as specialized as criminal defense lawyers, they can take on more cases.

Q: Is a Criminal Lawyer Worth It?

A: If you find yourself facing a criminal charge, you owe it to yourself to find a criminal lawyer near you. Having the perfect Harbor City, CA, criminal defense lawyer, and law firm could be the difference between a desirable and undesirable outcome. While a criminal lawyer may cost some money in the short term, they more than pay for themselves when looking at the alternatives of jail time.

Q: Should You Hire a Defense Lawyer?

A: It’s tempting to go it alone in a trial and represent yourself. But having a defense lawyer on your side may be the difference in a case. A lawyer will advocate for you in court and understand all the complexities of each particular case. They know the law better than you do and can use that to their advantage before, during, and after the trial.

You should always hire a lawyer when the state charges you with a criminal act.

Q: Can a Criminal Defense Lawyer Change My Sentence?

A: If it seems like a case will end with a conviction, a skilled Harbor City, CA, criminal defense lawyer, and law firm can still be of use. Lawyers can negotiate for reduced sentences for you with the prosecuting attorney. Prosecutors want to hurry all cases along, so arguing for a reduced sentence in return for you pleading guilty will help everyone.

Ernenwein & Mathes, LLP: Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyers You Can Trust

If the state has charged you with a crime, you have every legal right to fight against the charge and clear your name in a court of law. Having an experienced Harbor City, CA, criminal defense lawyer, and law firm on your side can make all the difference in a high-profile case.

At Ernenwein & Mathes, LLP, we have plenty of experience working with criminal law of all kinds. We’ll give you a personalized legal defense and advocate for you in court to get you the appropriate outcome. Contact us today for a consultation to get the ball rolling on your case.