FAQ

Criminal Defense FAQ

Answers from a Fairfield Criminal Defense Lawyer

Below are questions our firm frequently receives about California felonies, misdemeanor cases, and criminal attorney representation. If your question does not appear below or is not satisfactorily answered, please contact us at (888) 744-3057. Our experienced Fairfield criminal defense attorney would be happy to go over your questions with you in detail and to discuss your case further.

Contact us to schedule a free consultation. We proudly serve clients in Fairfield, Contra Costa, Napa, and Solano County.

1. What rights do I have during my California arrest?

When arrested, you may wish to remain silent. Frequently, a criminal defendant wants to talk to the police and tell his or her side of the story. Since you don't know what information law enforcement already has, you may unintentionally doing more damage to your case than good by filling in blanks.

If law enforcement attempts to question you while you are in custody, you should be read a list of rights, known as "Miranda Rights," as follows:

  • You have the right to remain silent.
  • Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.
  • You have the right to an attorney.
  • If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided free of charge prior to questioning.
  • Having these rights in mind, do you want to talk to us?

By hiring a reliable criminal defense attorney, such as those at Maher & Chikhani A Professional Law Corporation, your rights will be fully protected.

2. Can I represent myself in a California criminal offense?

According to California and Federal laws, you are permitted to represent yourself in your criminal case; however, this is strongly discouraged. There is no substitution for a skilled California criminal defense attorney.

3. Do I need a criminal defense attorney even if I'm innocent?

Even though you may be innocent, you are not innocent - until the California courts or the jury agree. Unfortunately, you must go through the criminal defense process in pursuit of this goal. Running the risk of losing your freedom due to self-representation is costlier than hiring an attorney. Maximize your chances of winning by employing the services of a seasoned California criminal defense attorney.

4. What is the difference between a felony and misdemeanor?

In the State of California, any criminal offense should be taken seriously and put in the hands of an experienced defense attorney. While felonies typically carry more severe punishments, misdemeanors can be equally as damaging to your record, freedom, and future.

The fundamental differences between California felonies and misdemeanors are as follows:

  • California felonies are crimes punishable by up to one year in county jail or longer state prison sentences. Felony crime examples include homicide, rape, and vehicular manslaughter committed while driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • California misdemeanors are crimes punishable by up to one year in jail. Examples of misdemeanor crimes include DUI, domestic violence, reckless driving, and vandalism and petty theft offenses.

When it comes to your California misdemeanor or felony case, it's important that you hire a qualified defense attorney, who has a strong background and solid experience related to your criminal matter.

5. When are the police required to have a warrant for arrest?

California police do not always need a warrant to make an arrest. For example, if a felony or misdemeanor crime is committed in police presence, they can legally arrest you on the spot without a warrant. Typically, police need a warrant to enter and search your home, but this can differ on a case-by-case basis. If you have been arrested in California, your best possible means of defense is to immediately contact us and discuss the details of your case.

6. What is the California alcohol limit for DUI?

California DUI laws have two Vehicle Code Sections that are usually charged in a DUI case. When an individual is arrested for California drunk driving (or DUI), he or she could face charges under Section 23152(a) for being under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and face additional charges under Section 23152(b) if your blood alcohol content (BAC) level is .08 or greater. It is important to realize that only a qualified criminal defense attorney, will know how to handle these separate California DUI components and prepare the most effective defense possible.

7. What is white collar crime?

White collar crime is a category of non-violent crimes that often times involves cheating as its primary element. Normally associated with business dealings, examples of California white collar crimes include embezzlement, bribery, tax evasion, workers' compensation fraud, real estate fraud, DMV and Bureau of Automotive Repair fraud as well as other fraudulent behavior.

8. What is the difference between grand theft and petty theft?

California grand theft includes any crime involving the theft of property whose value exceeds $400; otherwise, in most cases the theft is charged as California petty theft. Both grand theft and petty theft can be charged as either a felony or misdemeanor; this decision will be made by the prosecutor assigned to your case.

9. Can traffic violations become California criminal offenses?

The answer depends on whether or not your traffic violation led to serious harm, injury, or property damage. If so, you could be charged with a California misdemeanor - or even a felony.

The following crimes could lead to California criminal offenses:

  • DUI (driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol)
  • Evading police officers
  • Death or great bodily injuries that happened in conjunction with your traffic violation
  • Reckless driving
  • Hit-and-Runs
  • And more

10. What areas of California criminal defense do you cover?

All of the areas of the law we cover are listed on the services page here.

11. How much do you charge for attorney representation?

Fees vary from case to case, depending on time requirements, severity of charges, and degree of complexity. Of greater importance is the comfort level you have when selecting a criminal defense attorney.

Please contact us today at (888) 744-3057 to schedule a FREE evaluation.

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