What is Your Background in Practicing Criminal Defense Law?
I’ve been an attorney for 25 years, and my primary focal area has been criminal defense. I am licensed in the United States District Court in the Southern District of California and in the Central District of California. I’m also licensed to practice before the United States Court of Appeals for the Third and Ninth Circuit, and the United States Supreme Court. I have been admitted in numerous out-of-state jurisdictions (on both federal and state boards) on a pro hac vice basis. I am also a member of the very select Criminal Justice Act Panel for the Southern District of California, which means I get assigned to cases from the United States District Courts.
What Types of Criminal Cases do You Handle?
I handle cases in state, federal and juvenile courts. In state court, I handle a number of cases involving driving under the influence, domestic violence, drug crimes, and those involving theft and fraud. I also have vast experience with sex crimes cases as well. I have handled hundreds of federal matters ranging from border crimes (such as alien and drug smuggling and illegal re-entry) to white collar crimes and sex crimes, which primarily consist of child pornography and sex trafficking cases. I have a vast array of experience with practically every type of criminal offense imaginable, and I would say that my practice is split evenly between federal and state cases.
What Are The Top Misconceptions People Have About Being Arrested And Charged With a Crime?
People who have never before been arrested or charged with a crime often have the misconception that they will automatically be put in jail. Most people who contact private attorneys don’t know what to expect, and they are looking to become educated on the process. They’ll think of the worst case scenario, and they won’t realize that the court has a stronger interest in rehabilitating non-serious and first-time offenders than in punishing them. This is because that approach has proven to be a better protector of society in the long run. So in terms of misconceptions, people tend to think that they are going to get punished worse than they are and that the process is going to be more difficult than it really is. A good attorney can help make the process much easier. More importantly, the client and their case will likely receive much greater personal attention than if they proceeded with a court-appointed attorney.
How do People Unintentionally Incriminate Themselves or Hurt a Pending Case?
People unintentionally incriminate themselves by feeling obligated to speak with law enforcement and by answering their questions. People often don’t realize that what they are saying could be used against them. People naturally want to be cooperative. They often fear the police and think that they will get into more trouble if they don’t answer their questions. In reality, people are not obligated to speak to law enforcement in any way, shape or form. People have an absolute right to remain silent and not answer any questions beyond simply identifying themselves.
What Are Miranda Rights? How do They Come Into Play When Interacting With Law Enforcement?
Many people have a misconception of Miranda rights, mainly due to what they have seen on television and in movies. Essentially, Miranda rights are the rights that law enforcement is required to read to people who have been arrested. It’s the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. It also advises the arrestee that anything they say can be used against them. Whenever an issue comes up which involves Miranda rights, the real issue is determining at what point the person was actually deemed to be under arrest. Being under arrest doesn’t necessarily require the officer to say “You are now under arrest”, or at the point you are placed in handcuffs. Most times, the arrest can be argued to have happened before either of these events.
For example, in California, a person can be considered to be under arrest even when they are in a situation in which a reasonable person would feel that they are not reasonably free to leave. At the same time, the courts do allow the officers to make some precursory or initial inquiries prior to reading the Miranda rights, even if the person isn’t reasonably free to leave. The courts will allow a little leeway to the officers, but if it’s clear that the person is under arrest, then the arrestee should have the Miranda rights read. If the Miranda rights are not read and that person makes any incriminating statements, then we could challenge the admissibility of those statements in court.
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