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Many people come to me when they are being investigated for a crime and ask should  I get an Attorney now.  The answer is yes.  I have had clients come to me and tell me that they have had other Attorney's tell them that they should wait until they are arrested and then call them.  This advice is simply I feel not only errenous but malpractice.

As a Former Army and Army National Guard Military Policeman, Persian Gulf War Veteran, Juenile Corrections Officer, Probation Officer, Deputy District Attorney, and Adjunct Criminology Instructor I know the ins and outs of the system, and waiting until you are arrested could cost you your freedom ruin your chances to get evidence, and hurt your chances at a Bail hearin.

You see when a Deputy District Attorney is reviewing the case they have a very limited set of facts they are looking at.  They never look at exculpatory evidence because many times they havent seen that evidence when they are reviewing a case.  I have represented many people at the stage of them being investigated and were able to give both the Detectives and District Attorney enough exculpatory evidence, that they simply dropped the charges. 

Exculpatory Evidence is evidence that shows your innocense  An Alibi witnesss that places you somewhere else when the crime occurs is a good example.

Even pre-charge we have had several instances where we provided enough evidence to have the case dismissed without an arrest even occuring.

Also, if you are being investigated for a crime often the police will want to interrogate you without an Attorney present.  If you do not hire an Attorney this is perfectly legal for the police to do.  And in most cases they will conduct the interview in a manner which does not implicate the need for Miranda warnings.  Talking to the police if you are being investigated for a crime without speaking to an Attorney is a very bad decision.  And if you were told by some Attorney that you did not need representation until you have been charged with a crime you would probably speak with the Detective and that is a very bad idea under any circumtances. 

If you have already been arrested you should contact us immediately.  If you are arrested for a Misdameanor you will usually be cited out with a date to appear.  If you hire legal counsel that legal counsel can make what is referred to as a 977 appearance, meaning you don't have to appear in court.  This saves you time and money as you will not have to appear in court and miss work and possibly lose your employment.

If you are arrested for a Felony offense there are one of three things that could happen

1. You could bail out at the Bail Schedule meaning you are booked into jail and bail schedule is set for the crime you were booked on.   You then call a Bail Bondsman before your first court appearance you pay 10 percent down and you are released.  You should know that this is the amount of bail based on your booking charge not what the District Attorney eventually charges.  Therefore if you are booked on a charge of Drunk Drving with Injury, and you bail out, and after bailing out the victim dies, then the District Attorney will add additional charges which could substantially change your bail amount.  You will be responsible for this incresed amount, if you cannot pay this additional amount you will be booked into jail until the case is concluded. 

 

Bail Reduction

At your arraignment or upon 2 days notice you can ask the court to reduce your bail.

 

The Court looks at several factors

1. Is this person a danger to society, based upon his prior record and record of violence, etc

2. And, will this person show up to court.  Does the person have prior failures to appear does he have contacts with the community, family, employment, long time in the community etc. 

Bail hearings can sometimes run into full blown hearings with people standing up to vouch for the in custody client I have even called witnesses, such as the police officer to show an affirmative defense is in the police reports.

It should be noted the court must take the charges as true at a Bail Reduction Hearing,  the Judge will not allow you to litigate the case I have seen, however, the Judge view videos and let the defense present some evidence.

 

If you are denied a bail reduction you cannot bring this up again absent substantial change in circumstances so if the Judge rules against you it is not permissible to just keep asking and hoping for a different answer. 

Own Recognizance Release

Another way you could be released in a Felony matter is on your Own Recognizance, this is usually available for less serious charges for people with little or no criminal history and the court does grant these type of releases fairly often.  Usually the cour will have the client sign a OR form with conditions he is to abide by and any restrictions the court will impose on the OR release. 

Pre-Trial Release Program

Another manner of release in both Fresno County, and several other counties is the pre-trial release program.  Usuall through probation, the probation department will interview you give you a score based upon prior history and other factors and then make a recommendation.  Again there could be several conditions placed upon your release if you are reliesed under this program.

If you have any questions don't hesitate to call the Law office of Gerald Scwhab.

 

 

 

 

 

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Gerald Schwab, Jr.

CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY & DUI ATTORNEY SERVING ALL OF CALIFORNIA

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Law Office of Gerald Schwab, Jr.
Fresno Criminal Defense Attorney
5588 N Palm Ave,
Fresno, CA 93704
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