Understanding the Criminal Defense Process
If you were recently charged with a crime under the California Penal Code, you are probably concerned about what will happen next. The Law Offices of Evan E. Zelig is staffed with an attorney who not only has experience working in large and small firms, but has also worked as a prosecutor prior to entering practice as a Santa Rosa criminal defense lawyer. We encourage you to contact our office right away to get started on your criminal defense. The process can be lengthy and grueling, depending upon the charges involved, but we are ready to stand by your side from start to finish.
Consultations are FREE. Call (707) 418-5352.
The First Steps Following Arrest
When you first meet with your criminal defense attorney, make sure you bring copies of any documents pertaining to the case. This could include police reports, warrants or any other paperwork related to your criminal charge. Our attorney will review these documents and discuss the facts of the incident. If any defenses are immediately apparent, such as an unlawful search or self-defense, your lawyer will make certain to raise these right away.
The Criminal Discovery Process
In the weeks following your initial intake, your attorney will engage in the discovery process with the prosecutor. This involves the mutual exchange of evidence and information related to the case. Evidence which may be inadmissible at a trial, such as evidence of drug possession obtained without a warrant or an unlawful traffic stop that led to DUI, may still be discoverable during the trial preparation period.
Under the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Brady v. Maryland, the prosecution must reveal any evidence that exculpates a criminal defendant, including:
- Evidence that a witness for the prosecution lied or committed perjury
- Pending criminal charges against a witness for the prosecution
- Evidence that directly contradicts a witness' testimony
- Racial, religious or personal bias against the defendant
- Promises made between the witness and the prosecutor, including grants of immunity
As your case proceeds, your criminal defense lawyer may request a suppression hearing. This process is invoked when it becomes apparent that certain evidence was obtained by police in violation of the defendant's criminal procedure rights. If the judge holds that contraband or material evidence was obtained without a warrant or probable cause, the evidence will be excluded from consideration during the guilt phase of the pending trial.
Contact a Santa Rosa Criminal Defense Attorney at (707) 418-5352
If you are facing criminal charges and would like more information about how the criminal defense process works, talk to our team today. We can assist you with a wide range of charges, including drug violations, sex crimes, homicides, gang-related charges and assault, as well as expungement of criminal records in certain circumstances.
Give us a call at (707) 418-5352 to get started.