Monder Law Group - News
WHAT HAPPENS DURING YOUR FIRST APPEARANCE?
You want to know what are the charges against you, what are your rights, can you get out of custody, do you need an attorney? These are all questions that get answered in your first court appearance.
At the arraignment hearing the judge will:
- Inform you of the charges the prosecution has filed against you.
- Advise you of your constitutional right to counsel and ask if you plan to retain an attorney.
- Decide whether or not to release you on bail pending resolution of your case.
- Set the date for your preliminary hearing.
- Ask you how you choose to plead.
At the arraignment your initial plea should always be NOT GUILTY because you still do not know what evidence the prosecution has against you. You can always change your plea of not guilty after the preliminary hearing when you find out what evidence the prosecution has against you.
Attorney Vik Monder’s Goal During Arraignment:
Try to reduce bail amount and establish conditions for your release pending the resolution of your case.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER YOU HAVE BEEN ARRAIGNED?
You want to know what does the police report say, what evidence does the prosecution have against against you, who are the prosecution’s witnesses? These are all questions that get answered in your second court appearance.
At the preliminary hearing:
- The prosecution has the burden of proof to show probable cause that you committed the charged crime.
Probable Cause: the prosecution has enough evidence to justify a belief that a crime took place and that you committed the crime.
- If the judge decides that the prosecution does not have probable cause, then your case will be dismissed.
- If the judge decides that the prosecution does have probable cause, then the court will retain jurisdiction over you until the case is resolved.
- The defense receives the police report but does not have to put on any evidence of its own
- The defense assesses the credibility of the prosecution’s witnesses by looking for inconsistencies and forgetfulness.
- Depending on the strength of the prosecution’s case
the defense decides whether to negotiate a plea bargain or go to trial.
Attorney Vik Monder’s Goal During Preliminary Hearing:
To preview the evidence against you and hold the prosecution accountable for their burden of proof (probable cause) in order to protect you from unfounded prosecutions. If there is enough incriminating evidence against you to go to trial, this may be a good time for your attorney to negotiate a plea deal with the prosecution in order to reduce your exposure at sentencing.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER YOUR PRELIMINARY HEARING?
However, if you know the prosecution’s case is weak, the police report is vague, the prosecution witnesses are lying, they either don’t know or don’t remember the incident. These are all good indicators to proceed to trial.
Attorney Vik Monder’s Goal At Trial:
To hold the prosecution responsible for meeting every single element of the charged offense beyond a reasonable doubt.
You have been found guilty of the charges against you. Now you want to know how much time you are looking at, what are the penalties for your conviction?
These are all questions that get answered at sentencing:
Unless the criminal charges you have been convicted of have mandatory minimums or fall under California’s Three Strikes law, California judges have flexibility when it comes to criminal sentencing. For felony charges, California judges choose from a range of three prison sentence lengths low term, mid term, and high term. Which term you are sentenced to depends on the severity of the circumstances, the mitigating factors provided by the defense and your criminal history.
Attorney Vik Monder’s Goal During Sentencing:
To depart from the sentencing scheme by demonstrating to the judge the mitigating factors that apply to your case.