IF I’M GUILTY OF THE CRIME I’VE BEEN ARRESTED FOR/CHARGED WITH, DO I STILL NEED A LAWYER?

Absolutely.  Even if the prosecution’s case against you appears iron clad, you would still benefit enormously from the help of a lawyer.  An experienced criminal defense attorney can identify and litigate legal issues, which can win your case.  For example:  In a DUI case, even if the prosecution can prove you were over the legal limit while driving, your case could be thrown out if the police pulled you over without probable cause.  Or, if you confessed your crime to the police, the confession could be thrown out of court if you were not informed of your Miranda rights, or if you had requested to speak to an attorney, and the police continued questioning you.

Even if you cannot win your case, a skilled attorney will help you negotiate the consequences and punishment with the prosecutor.  In many cases, a good lawyer can convince the prosecutor that jail is inappropriate for you and that you (and the community) would be better served by your taking classes, performing community service, or enrolling in a substance abuse program.  In very serious cases, a good attorney can save you years off of a lengthy prison sentence or avoid your getting a “strike”.

What is a “strike”? 
Under California Law, a strike is a serious or violent felony.  The consequences for getting a strike are severe; not only because criminal penalties are harsh for serious or violent felonies, but because any future felony convictions become significantly more serious.  Specifically, prison sentences are doubled and you are required to serve the majority of your prison sentence.

For example, compare Allen and Bob.   Allen has no strikes; Bob has one for an armed robbery.   Allen and Bob later both get charged and convicted of exactly the same crime.   If they both get the minimum term on a drug possession for sales case – 16 months.   Assuming that neither gets in further trouble, Allen would be out in 8 months (serving 50% time) while Bob would serve slightly over 2 years in prison.

Don’t be Bob!  If you are charged with a serious or violent felony, call LIJT LAW and give yourself the best chance at beating that strike.

Proposition 36 – Reform of Three Strikes Law:  

One of the great victories in the last election was the reform of California’s three strikes law.  Prior to the election and the reform, a minor felony conviction – such as possession of a controlled substance, or even shoplifting – could trigger a 25 years to life sentence.   Now, only certain crimes and circumstances can trigger the automatic 25 years to life sentence.

Reducing Prison Terms After Proposition 36.  If you or a loved one has been sentenced to 25 years to life under the old three strikes rule, you may be eligible for a reduction in your sentence!   In some cases, you could be immediately released.    For a free consultation with attorney Martin Lijtmaer to determine whether you or your loved one is eligible for a sentence reduction, contact LIJT LAW today.

IF I’M NOT GUILTY OF THE CRIME I’M CHARGED WITH, WON’T THE TRUTH COME TO LIGHT ANYWAY?

In an ideal world with an ideal criminal justice system, those innocent of wrongdoing would never be wrongly convicted.  Sadly, we do not live in a perfect world, and our system is far from perfect.   Innocent people get convicted, and innocent people go to jail, or even prison for many years for crimes they did not commit.

A thorough, comprehensive and dedicated attorney will help the truth come to light and demonstrate your innocence.

LIJT LAW is not afraid to use every resource to fight your case: private investigators, medical experts, cell phone experts, forensic accountants, and others depending on the crime.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A MISDEMEANOR AND A FELONY?

Felonies are more serious than misdemeanors.  Whether a crime is classified as a misdemeanor or a felony depends on the penalty.  A misdemeanor is punishable by up to 12 months in county jail.   A felony is punishable by at least 1 year in state prison.

While some crimes are always misdemeanors and other always felonies, California has many crimes that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony.  These are called “wobblers.”  Some wobblers include:

  • DUI with Injury
  • Spousal Battery (Domestic Violence)
  • Burglary
  • Assault with a Deadly Weapon
  • Sexual Battery
  • Fraud
  • Drug possession

If you are convicted of a felony on a wobbler and you successfully complete probation, you can ask the court to reduce your conviction to a misdemeanor.  This may be significant in a number of circumstances.  For example

  • you may be able to maintain or obtain a professional license (such as nursing, real estate, or contractor’s license)
  • you may be able to restore your guns rights.
  • you can honestly state on applications and forms that you were never convicted of a felony.

I’VE BEEN ARRESTED; SHOULD I TALK TO THE POLICE? 

If you are arrested, it is critical that you exercise your right to remain silent.  Do not answer any questions or give any statements to the police.   You should tell the police that you wish to remain silent and that you want an attorney.   Once you request an attorney, the officers can no longer question you.  Even if you are absolutely 100% innocent, do NOT talk to the police.  The police are questioning you because they think you are guilty, and everything you say can and will be used against you.

If you or a loved one is arrested, or called in for questioning or being investigated, do not hesitate to contact LIJT LAW at 323-379-5458 for a free consultation.   Let Martin Lijtmaer deal with the police.