The Los Angeles Criminal Law Blog

Criminal Defense & Process in Los Angeles

Criminal defense and the process of criminal cases can often be confusing. Fortunately, there are many Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys that are available to help Southern Californians who have been accused of a crime. The criminal process usually starts with an arrest, which then leads to processing the suspect into police custody. Once in custody, the suspect might be able to be released after posting a set bail amount. Courtroom proceedings start with arraignment and soon after the arraignment, a preliminary hearing is often held. If the case proceeds to trial, a criminal defense attorney will have the opportunity to defend the client being prosecuted. If a guilty verdict is reached, the last stage of a case involves sentencing. During sentencing the judge decides on a punishment for those who are convicted of a crime.

If you need legal advice on any criminal law issue in Los Angeles, including understanding criminal defense and process, you should speak with a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney. Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys can assess your legal issue and help develop a good defense strategy. You can find a local attorney by viewing FindLaw's directory of Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys. For more information about criminal defense process in Los Angeles, see:

Recently in Defense and Process Category

5 New California Criminal Laws for 2014

California rang in the new year with more than 800 new laws. As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, the new laws of 2014 span a wide variety of legal issues. In the context of criminal law alone, the issues range from age requirements on texting while driving to an entirely new parole hearing process for juveniles.

Here are five standouts of the new criminal laws:

How Prisoners Can Marry, Start Families While Serving Time

California allows its prisoners certain privileges that can allow them to love, marry, and start families, all while serving their time.

Here are the laws and policies that allow convicts to keep the fire alive in their marriages and grow their families:

What to Do If You Need to Lawyer Up

If you've been charged with a crime, it may seem like the end of the world. However, you should know that you are innocent until proven guilty and many people have been charged with crimes only to beat the charges with the help of an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney.

There are many criminal defense attorneys to choose from. And in a major metropolitan area, you may literally be flooded with options.

Before jumping in and hiring an attorney, there are some steps you may want to take. These steps can help you understand your charges better and also give you an idea what to ask a prospective lawyer:

Can You Expunge Your Criminal Record?

A criminal record isn't exactly a hot accessory, especially when it comes to getting a job or an apartment. That record will follow you unless you can get rid of it. You know, by expunging it.

Expungement can clear your criminal record and in many ways, the conviction disappears. It allows you to put the past behind you and not have to keep dragging it around. While your court file remains public record, once it's expunged you don't have to disclose your conviction any longer.

But California is very specific about which crimes can be expunged and under what circumstances. To do it, you have to qualify.

Thank Gideon for Your Right to an Attorney

Whether it's from personal experience or too many reruns of "Law and Order," most people know that you have the right to an attorney in a criminal trial. But Gideon often doesn't get the credit for securing that right for you.

By Gideon, we mean Clarence Earl Gideon -- the man behind Gideon v. Wainwright, a Supreme Court case that marks its 50th anniversary next month.

You may never have heard of the case, but that doesn't make it any less important. Not only did it ensure your right to an attorney, it defined what that means.

You Have the Right to an Attorney, but What Does That Mean?

If you've been accused of a crime, you know you have a right to an attorney. That's all well and good, but what exactly do you get according to this right?

The Sixth Amendment, which provides the right to counsel, doesn't really go into detail about what you get as part of your legal representation. But years of judicial history have clarified what this right entails if find yourself on trial.

What's that you say? You haven't read the dry and dusty legal casebooks that contain these interpretations? We wouldn't expect it, so here's your cheat sheet.

What to Do After You've Been Arrested

There is so much advice out there: Wear clean underwear; follow the golden rule; don't get arrested. But what about advice for after an arrest?

We'll skip the easy stuff like "don't yell at the officer" and "keep your hands to yourself." And you'll have to ask your attorney about how to get the jury on your side. We can't help with specifics like that.

What we can do is prepare you for some of the more common issues people run into when dealing with police after an arrest. Here are a few things to consider:

What Are Your Rights When Pulled Over by Police?

You know the drill: flashing lights, whooping siren, amplified sound. It's not a new techno dance party; you're being pulled over by the police.

This is certainly not anyone's daydream, but it also shouldn't be your worst nightmare. After all, it happens; Jay-Z even rapped about it. Whether you're speeding, swerving, or just plain unlucky, there's a good chance you'll get pulled over at least once in your lifetime.

So don't lose your cool. When LAPD's finest are telling you to pull over the vehicle, remember that while they may seem tough, you still have rights.

Southland Crime: LA's Top 10 Stories of 2012 (Part II of II)

As promised, we are back to finish recapping the year's biggest Los Angeles crime stories of 2012, as determined by you, our readers.

What's on tap? Much like the Top 5 stories, we've got the Hollywood usual, meaning celebrities, sex scandals, and murder mysteries.

Southland Crime: LA's Top 10 Stories of 2012

City of Angels? Suppress your laughter. For those of us who have resided in the Los Angeles area, we know that this town is anything but a collection of heavenly creatures.

One need look no further than this blog to read about some of the city's biggest screw-ups, from a McProstitute to vigilante pimp-murdering parents. Here's the first installment of our Top 10 posts from 2012: