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California Criminal Defense Attorneys & Law Firms near Santa Cruz-Watsonville Metro
Facing Criminal Charges? Find a Criminal Defense Lawyer Near California
Have you been arrested or facing criminal charges? Whether you were arrested for a misdemeanor, felony or are being investigated for a criminal offense, a criminal defense attorney can help protect your legal rights.
What Happens After an Arrest?
Things move quickly after someone is taken into custody following an arrest. The criminal justice system can be difficult to navigate but an experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you through the process. After an arrest, you will likely be taken to the police station for booking and processing. Booking includes taking a mug shot photograph and fingerprinting. After booking, you may be released, have to post bail, or be taken to the court for arraignment.
For many minor offenses, the defendant can be released on their own recognizance - meaning you do not have to pay bail - with a promise to appear in court. Alternatively, a friend or family member may have to post bail for your release by putting up money or going to a bail bond service. For serious charges, you may have to stay in jail until arraignment (your initial court appearance).
During the arraignment, the judge will read the official criminal charges filed against you, and you have to respond one of the following:
- Not guilty
- No contest
If you plead guilty, the judge may sentence you and that will be the end of your criminal trial. If you plead not guilty, your case may be put off to a future court date. Find a criminal defense attorney in this directory to represent you or your loved one in the criminal case, including plea negotiations, filing pretrial motions, criminal defense in a jury trial, and if it becomes necessary to file an appeal.
Need an attorney in California?
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Detailed law firm profiles have information like the firm's area of law, office location, office hours, and payment options. Attorney profiles include the biography, education and training, and client recommendations of an attorney to help you decide who to hire.
Use the contact form on the profiles to connect with a California attorney for legal advice.
How Do You Hire a Good California Attorney
Finding the best lawyer for your unique situation can be a challenge, but the best way to hire a good California attorney is to talk with them, ask them questions, and make sure they meet all your needs. This usually starts with their practice area. Determine which lawyers can handle your type of case and then find a California attorney with experience in that area. So it will be important to ask about each lawyer’s years of experience, legal training, and strategy to your unique legal case.
The attorney-client relationship may also be important. If it is your first time dealing with a legal issue, you may be looking for a lawyer who can clearly and patiently explain the legal process, identify your options, and answer all your questions. You may also want an attorney who is available at any time to provide legal advice. Think about questions to ask, like if there are updates to your case, how will that be communicated? Are there specific California law deadlines that you are required to meet?
The location of your attorney's law office may also be an important factor. In larger cities like Los Angeles, San Diego, or San Francisco, you may want to find a lawyer with a convenient location to you so that you don't have to drive an hour just for signing legal papers. However, some legal services can be primarily conducted through phone calls, emails, written correspondence, and video calls, so you could, for example, have a lawyer in Sacramento handle your legal issues in Riverside.