Jeffrey Schwartz is an Arcata Attorney practicing primarily in Humboldt and Mendocino County. As a former senior Humboldt County prosecutor and serving as a Eureka Attorney and Garberville, Ukiah Lawyer, Mr. Schwartz is very knowledgeable about his opponents. With over 20 years of California Criminal Defense Attorney experience, Jeffrey Schwartz has successfully defended hundreds of clients.
Often the police will contact you prior to filing a case against you. If the police contact you, you must call a lawyer and refuse to talk to the police—this is your constitutional right. Often, if the police want to talk to you before making an arrest, it means they don’t have a case. There is nothing you can say that will help your case other than “I want to talk to a lawyer.” Even if the police say they are going to arrest you unless you talk, do not talk with them, get yourself a lawyer.
This stage is called the “pre-file” stage. A criminal defense attorney often can provide the District Attorney's office with information that will convince them not to file a charge against you. Many times it is the defendant who sinks his or her own case by talking to the police before getting a lawyer.
Should you cooperate with police?
Bail or Release from Jail
Will you get bail?
Your Not Guilty Plea
At the arraignment is the time that you, with a lawyer, will plead not guilty virtually every time. Guilty is a legal term. While you may have committed the act, it does not mean you are guilty by law. For example, if a person kills someone, is he or she guilty of murder? Maybe the killing was in self-defense, or in the heat of the moment (manslaughter). The same applies to most offenses. The complexities and subtleties of the law and the meaning of guilt are so broad there is rarely a time that you should think you are guilty of the crime charged until the facts are analyzed with a competent and experienced lawyer. Even if you are guilty and the prosecutor can prove it beyond a reasonable doubt, you still would want the least amount of punishment; that is not going to happen without a competent lawyer.
Dismissal or Reduction of Charges
When your life is on the line, you better have yourself a very good trial lawyer. Remember you have the right to the lawyer of your choice, but late in the process the court can deny your request if it is a last-minute request. If you are not satisfied with your lawyer or your family finally comes up with money to pay a good lawyer, you can ask the judge to allow you to switch lawyers.