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Okabe & Haushalter

FREQUENTLY ASKED CRIMINAL DEFENSE QUESTIONS

At Okabe & Haushalter, our qualified and experienced criminal defense attorneys in Los Angeles want to answer some questions that we receive with regularity. We hope that your questions are answered below, but if you have any additional questions you need answered, please feel free to reach out to us for a free consultation of your situation.

I’ve Been Arrested; Should I Talk To The Police?

If you are placed in custody, it is very important that exercise your right to remain silent and do not answer any questions or given any verbal or written statements regarding the circumstances of your arrest. You should simply tell the officers or investigators that you want an attorney present before you will speak. It is crucial to retain the skilled representation of a knowledgeable attorney who can help protect you from making any self-incriminating statements and explain your legal options and the charges made against you.

My Child Has Been Charged With A Crime – Will They Go To Jail?

It is very frightening to watch helplessly as your child is taken into custody and accused of a crime, but you should be aware of the juvenile court process. Unlike an adult’s criminal process, your minor’s case will be heard and decided by a family court judge, not a jury. It is important to have a powerful defense attorney on your child’s side who can challenge the prosecution’s evidence and cross-examine witnesses, and to advocate for your child’s freedoms. The juvenile system is typically more interested in rehabilitation than punishment and incarceration, and your lawyer can implore the judge to lessen your child’s possible penalties and protect their future opportunities.

What Is The Difference Between Jail And Prison?

Jails are typically run by the county’s sheriff department and are most often used for temporary holdings, shorter sentences, and less serious offenses. Prisons are either state or federally run, and usually, hold inmates facing very long sentences and who are convicted of very serious criminal offenses. While jail sentences rarely exceed one or two years, prison sentences can last for any length of time.

I Was Not Read My Miranda Rights. Does This Matter?

The arresting officer’s failure to read your Miranda Rights is incredibly significant. Law enforcement officers have a legal responsibility to advise you of your rights upon arrest, including your right to remain silent and your right to have an attorney. If the officer fails to read your rights, anything you say to the officer or investigators may become inadmissible in the court.

I Was Convicted Of A Crime. Is There Anything I Can Do?

If you believe you were unlawfully charged or you did not receive a fair trial, an attorney can help you file an appeal with the appellate court. The appeals court reviews trials and the judicial actions to determine whether any legal errors were made that substantially affected the outcome of the cases. If they find such serious mistakes were made, they may decide to overturn the lower court’s ruling.

Why Do I Need A Private Attorney If I Can Have A Public Defender?

Public defenders are available for defendants who cannot afford to hire a lawyer of their own. A public defender should not be used unless you truly cannot afford to enlist a private defense attorney for your case. Public defenders most often carry more cases than they can handle, and many are unable to give defendants the personalized attention and detailed preparation they need and deserve.

What should I do when the FBI or Homeland Security wants to talk/interview me?

If you are contacted by the FBI, Homeland Security, or any other federal agency, your first step is to not answer any questions they ask. One of the tactics that trained investigators will use is to tell you that you are not in any trouble right now in an effort to get you to sit down for an interview and answer questions. If you have been approached by a federal agency, there is a high likelihood that you are under investigation for a crime. You need to immediately invoke your right to speak to an attorney. Even if you are arrested, or threatened with arrest, do not answer any questions until you have talked to legal counsel.

Do I need a lawyer because the FBI/Homeland Security wants to interview me?

Yes, you absolutely need an attorney by your side if you are going to answer any questions posed by the FBI or Homeland Security. These are federal agents trained in investigation tactics, and they have one goal – to investigate crimes of which you may be a suspect. Anything you say can and will be used against you. If you are told that you need to answer questions or sit down for an interview with a federal investigator, you need to immediately inform them that you wish to speak to an attorney first.

What should I do since the FBI/Homeland Security took my computer or cell phone?

If the FBI, Homeland Security officials, or other federal agency has confiscated your computer or cell phone, they most likely had a warrant to do so. This means that they had probable cause to get the warrant, and you are likely under investigation for a crime. Even if you are not arrested when a federal agent takes your computer or cell phone, or any other property you own, you still need to speak to a criminal defense attorney immediately. These agencies do not seize electronics unless they believe a crime has been committed. They will be looking for additional evidence that they can use against you in order to make an arrest.

How do I get bailed out? Do I need bail on a federal case?

Federal crime cases differ from state charges, and this means that there is no system of bail or bond in federal cases. In a typical state case, you will face a charge, and a judge will set an amount for your bond. However, in federal cases, this bond system is not present. Instead, there is a pretrial release program with a set of rules and procedures. A federal judge can grant release on personal recognizance or a conditional release. It is critical to work with a skilled criminal defense attorney to help secure your release if you have been arrested on federal charges. Judges also have the option of leaving a person in detention while their cases is ongoing, but an attorney can help reduce the risk of this happening.

What is considered a white-collar crime?

A white-collar crime is defined as a nonviolent matter and usually tied to a financial offense that includes any of the following:

  • Fraud
  • Bribery
  • Embezzlement
  • Extortion
  • Identity theft
  • Forgery
  • Insider trading
  • Tax evasion
  • Internet and computer crimes
  • Public corruption
  • Child pornography
  • Insurance fraud
  • Securities fraud
  • Health care fraud (Medicare and Medicaid)

What are computer-related crimes?

Computer-related crimes are also referred to as cybercrimes, and these offenses are related to crimes involving computers or the internet. There are various types of computer crimes that we help people with, including the following:

  • Computer hacking
  • Copyright infringement
  • Child pornography
  • Luring a minor
  • Breach of privacy or confidentiality
  • Theft
  • Various other white-collar offenses

Are guns legal in California?

Yes, guns are legal in California, as protected by the Second Amendment of the US Constitution. In this state, a person must be 18 years old in order to buy a rifle or shotgun and 21 years old to buy a handgun. All gun purchases in California, including private sales and sales at gun shows, are required to go through licensed dealers. Prior to purchasing a weapon in California, a buyer is subject to a personal firearms eligibility check. This is a background check conducted to prevent convicted felons (as well as those convicted of certain misdemeanors) from purchasing a weapon.

What should I expect for my pretrial hearing?

If you have been arrested for a crime in California, and have entered a plea of not guilty, you will then move to the pretrial hearing phase of the Criminal Court process. The pretrial process consists of:

  • Court appearances, including a preliminary hearing for California felony cases
  • Various motions, including motions to set aside, motions to suppress evidence, motions for a speedy trial, etc.
  • Discovery issues, including ensuring that the criminal defense attorney and the prosecutors exchange all relevant evidence and witness information.
  • Any potential plea bargains or negotiations that take place before the criminal trial starts.

If you or somebody you care about has been arrested and charged with a federal or state crime, contact an attorney as soon as possible. At Okabe & Haushalter, we are a nationally recognized criminal defense firm with vast experience helping clients through these cases. Our team is ready to get to work on your behalf immediately. When you need a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney, you can contact us for a free consultation of your case today by clicking here or calling 310-430-7799.