Criminal Defense FAQ

How a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney can Help

If you have been arrested, are under investigation, have been questioned by police, or are involved in any criminal process of any sort, chances are that you are asking the question: do I need a lawyer? If you find yourself asking that question, the answer is most likely yes!

One of the main reasons to consult an attorney is to find out whether or not you actually need representation. That is something which can be decided only with the aid of an experienced attorney, and only after he or she is familiar with the facts of your particular case.

If you’ve never been involved with the criminal justice system before, being charged with a crime can be a terrifying experience. Before you have a chance to even understand what’s happening, you can be forced to make critical decisions in a situation that you may know nothing about. And making the wrong decision can have implications for the rest of your life.

The thing to remember is that being arrested or charged with a crime is not the end of things. And while it may feel overwhelming – if not traumatic – you have the opportunity to set things right. The first thing you need to do? Get an attorney who can guide you through the maze of the criminal justice system; an attorney with years of experience defending first time offenders... an attorney like Robert M. Bernstein.

Because every case is different, Mr. Bernstein will sit down with you and explain everything you need to know. And he will outline the best route to avoiding a possible criminal conviction. Take your first step now and Contact Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer Robert M. Bernstein regarding your legal matter, to find out if you need representation.

Frequently Asked Questions: Criminal Defense

What if I am innocent of the charges brought against me?

This makes it all the more necessary to consult a qualified Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney. Just because you know that you are innocent does not mean that you will ultimately be found innocent.

We all like to think that truth and justice prevails, but unfortunately that does not always happen. In fact, sometimes police and prosecutors are so eager to push cases through the system that innocent people are found guilty of crimes they did not commit. The only way to ensure that your rights are fully protected and that the evidence is fairly presented in court is with an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Only an experienced lawyer can provide you with proper legal representation and fight for your rights.

Do I need a lawyer if my case is still under investigation and no charges have been filed against me?

Yes, your need for effective legal representation is just as great during the course of the police investigation. It is important to note that police and prosecutors do not always give people the benefit of doubt before they file charges. Also, they may mistakes.

Don't assume that the police will fairly decide whether you should be charged. Any evidence in your favor needs to be investigated and preserved by your attorney as early as possible. In many cases your defense lawyer may able to bring evidence to the attention of the police and prosecutors before charges are filed - and persuade them not to file charges against you. It is often easier to convince prosecutors not to file charges in the first place, than to persuade them to dismiss charges once filed.

Should I speak with the Police?

NO! Make no statement and sign nothing. If the police think that you will talk, they may try to interview you. You may even believe that this is your chance to tell your story. However, the police are not there to clear you of suspicion. Their role is to gather evidence to convict you of a crime.

The police may use deceptive tactics and lie to people under investigation. They may tell you that if you tell them your side of the story, they will not arrest you. That is a lie. It is a regular police tactic - used in the hope that the accused will make a statement which can later be used against them in Court. Whether you should speak to the police is an extremely important and complex decision, which can only be made with the advice of a competent Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney.

What can my lawyer do if the charges have already been filed?

First, your lawyer will evaluate the evidence and determine if the government can prove its case against you. Sometimes prosecutors are mistaken about the strength of their evidence and can be persuaded to abandon their case after hearing both sides of the story. Other times, prosecutors can be persuaded to dismiss charges because of changes in the evidence.

If the evidence against you is too strong to obtain a dismissal of charges, your attorney can evaluate whether it is in your best interest to go trial or to obtain a negotiated plea bargain. Only an experienced Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney can evaluate your chances for success at trial. If you and your attorney decide to go to trial, your attorney can develop a case to persuade the jury that there is a reasonable doubt as to whether you are guilty of the charges.

Your Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer can use many tools to determine the likelihood of success at trial:

  • Investigation: While the police gather evidence against you, your attorney will use private investigators to gather evidence to prove your innocence. Proving your innocence may mean learning everything about your accuser. The investigator may discover and interview witnesses, and may discover evidence which attacks the honesty and credibility of your accuser.
  • Expert Witness: These are used to examine the prosecution's scientific evidence or prepare defense evidence in specialized areas within their scientific fields, such as ballistic, fingerprints, forensics, psychiatry, DNA, and many other fields.
  • Pre-trial Motions: The right pre-trial motions supported by solid evidence and the law can result in the dismissal of your case, a favorable settlement of the charges, or set the framework for a winning defense.
  • DNA Evidence: With DNA evidence so much in the news these days, it pays to understand exactly what it could mean for you. In short, DNA evidence is any piece of evidence that contains human DNA. And it can tie you to a crime, or clear you of one.

DNA is like fingerprints, it is completely unique to every individual. And like fingerprints, it can be a legal link between you and a crime. DNA can easily be collected from a crime scene through blood, saliva, skin cells, hair, or semen.

When police collect DNA evidence, they first run the sample through a database of known offenders. If no match is found, they may then be able to obtain a warrant to collect a DNA sample from suspects in a case. This is done by swabbing the inside of the mouth to get a sample of DNA from saliva.

Remember, DNA evidence is used to exonerate as well as convict. To date, hundreds of people have been cleared of the crimes they have been convicted of. If you have any questions about how DNA evidence may affect your case, contact Robert M. Bernstein today.

Robert M. Bernstein: Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer

Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer Robert M. Bernstein has the experience, knowledge and tools to effectively represent clients throughout Los Angeles County who are facing a criminal investigation or charges. His experience as a former prosecutor, and his dedication to his clients, enables attorney Bernstein to achieve stellar results in a number of the cases he takes on.

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The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.