Southern California Criminal
When you have been arrested on suspicion of a criminal charge you will be given a Notice to Appear. The first appearance you make in Court is the Arraignment. This is when you enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest.
If you plead guilty or no contest, your case will conclude at the arraignment. No further proceedings will be necessary and the Judge will give you a sentence.
If you plead not guilty, the Judge will set the case for Pre-Trial. This is the second appearance you will make on the criminal case. At the Pre-Trial, no testimony will be taken. The Prosecutor and the Defense will present their sides and the Judge will make a ruling whether they believe the case has enough merits to proceed to Trial.
Generally, the Court will not allow a case to proceed that does not have a strong enough argument for conviction. It would be a waste of time and expenses. Therefore the Prosecutor will present why they believe they have a case for conviction and the Defense attorney, or person charged, will present their argument as to why the government will not meet their burden of proof.
The prosecutor and the DUI and Criminal Defense Attorney can meet and discuss an option to settle at this time as well. There is more pressure at the Pre-Trial because the government attorney will know that you are going forward with the case and are not willing to just plead not guilty, or no contest.
The offer given at Arraignment will no longer be on the table, but it is rare that the offer given at Pre-Trial will be more severe than the offer at Arraignment. Regardless, the help of an experienced criminal defense lawyer will assure that you have considered your offer and made the right decision whether it is best to proceed to Trial or settle at that point.Southern California Criminal Self Defense
In different criminal cases, certain kinds of defenses are available. If a defense is presented correctly and successfully argued, it could lead to a dismissal of your case. A commonly used defense in assault, battery and similar charges is self defense .However, it is a difficult defense to argue and it must be properly asserted. The Criminal Defense lawyer must demonstrate to the Court that all requisite elements are met.
You must prove that a reasonable amount of force was used, and that a reasonable person would believe there was imminent fear causing you to act.Reasonable Force
When self defense is used, a reasonable amount of force must be used against the attacker. This means that if the person uses their hand to hit you, you cannot shoot at them with a gun or other firearm. That is not a reasonable use of force. The person hitting you could cause you injury, but not one that would likely result in your death. The firearm has a high probability of causing their death, and is therefore unreasonable. You must defend yourself by hitting them back, or pushing them away. Similarly, if the person uses a beer bottle to hit you over the head, you may use something of similar strength that could cause an injury enough to stop them, but not to kill them.Imminent Fear
You must use self defense only in situations where you feel there is a strong chance of injury and you must protect yourself immediately. This does not apply in situations where there is no immediate harm.
For example: Dan calls Victor and tells him that if he sees him around, he is going to kill him. Victor cannot go over to Dan's house and shoot him claiming that he was defending his own life, since there is no immediate harm or fear. If Dan is standing outside Victor's house and he has shot at the windows, and is yelling for Victor to come outside because he wants to kill him, then Victor may fire at Dan since there is an immediate need for him to protect his life.