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
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
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.