Frequently Asked Questions
Let a Santa Ana criminal defense lawyer answer your questions today!
What should I do if I have been arrested?
If you have been arrested in California, you have rights. You have the right to remain silent and you have the right to retain legal representation. You should not give up these rights lightly, because anything you say or do while in the hands of a law enforcement officer will be used against you when you go to trial. You should contact a competent Santa Ana criminal defense lawyer immediately after you have been arrested in order to start building your defense immediately.
My child was charged with a crime. What should I do?
This can be a very upsetting situation, and we understand that time is of the essence if your child is facing serious criminal charges. We have worked with juvenile charges for years, and we understand the turmoil that your family is put in when a minor child is looking at fines, restrictions or jail time. The sooner you contact our legal team, the faster we can begin researching your child’s case and working on the defense that will maximize the chances of receiving a positive outcome in court.
What should I do if I find out that there is an outstanding warrant for my arrest?
You need to contact an Santa Ana warrant attorney as soon as possible. If you find out that there is a warrant for your arrest, you could be arrested at any time and taken directly to jail. If you know that this is a possibility, you need to speak with an experienced lawyer right away to begin formulating the best plan of action. Our lead attorney has over 30 years experience in California criminal defense, and we will fight for your rights.
I was charged with a crime that I didn’t commit. What can I do?
We cannot stress enough that you need to speak with an attorney right away. If you are facing charges for something that you didn’t do, you could be convicted of a crime and spend time in jail that is completely unjust and undeserved. We at Thomas Tears, Attorney at Law has the experience and aggressive attitude that you need in your case. We will personally handle your case and we will work tirelessly to ensure that your rights are not infringed upon.
What is the “three strikes” law?
This law was passed in California in 1994, and it has to do with repeat offenders. If you have been convicted of a felony in the past and you are convicted with a second felony, you face double the incarceration period. A third felony will result in life imprisonment. This law is very strict and if you are facing your third “strike,” you need to consult an experienced criminal defense lawyer right away.
What is a white collar crime?
Non-violent crimes that involve deception, fraud or similar circumstances are referred to as “white collar” crimes. Embezzlement, forgery, mail fraud, internet fraud, identity theft, computer fraud, larceny, etc are some examples of white collar crimes. Depending on what your alleged crime involves, you could be charged at the state or federal courts.
What should I do if I have been arrested for DUI?
If you have been arrested or charged with DUI in California, you need to speak with an attorney. Only an experienced DUI lawyer can ensure that your rights will be upheld throughout your case. Don’t try to fight a DUI charge alone or with inexperienced counsel. We have the experience in litigation that you need.
How are charges filed?
Except for the very rare case involving the Grand Jury, the District Attorney's Office charges all cases - misdemeanor and felony in the state of California. The U.S. Attorney’s Office charges in federal matters. The police investigate a possible crime, gather evidence, prepare a report and either make an arrest or submit the evidence to the District Attorney for filing. The District Attorney ultimately is responsible for deciding what charges are to be filed. Many times these are the charges for which a person is arrested. In some rare instances a citizen can make an arrest but the district attorney ultimately files this case as well.
What is bail?
Bail is the posting of an amount of money, either by bond through a bail bondsperson or in cash, to the court to ensure a defendant return to court. Bail is set by bail schedule in each county, that amount can be modified downward or upward depending on the circumstances of each individual case. Some determining factors are the seriousness of the offense, the defendant's ties to the community where the alleged offense occurred, the defendant's prior record and possible protection of the community. For purposes of bail, the court must assume the defendant is guilty of the charges as filed. There are times we can arrange for an O.R. Release, which means a defendant can be released without the necessity of posting bail. Prior to posting bail call (800) 721-7710!
What is an arraignment?
In the State or Federal Court an arraignment is a court hearing where a defendat is formally notified of the charges. You have a constitutional right to be charged without unnecessary delay. If you are in custody, this is usually within two court days. Bail also may be modified at this hearing, either downward or upward depending on the circumstances. A plea can be entered on this date and future court dates are set in almost every instance.
What is a preliminary hearing?
In felony cases only, a defendant has a right to a speedy preliminary hearing within 10 court days of the date of arraignment. At this hearing the district attorney must present evidence sufficient to convince a judge that a felony has been committed and that the person charged IS the person who committed the crime. This type of hearing does not apply to misdemeanors.
What can I expect on my case?
Each case is different. There are individual consequences which necessarily flow from a finding of guilt on each offense. In addition, the individual defendant, his or her prior record and the circumstances surrounding this particular charge - including the court where the case is filed are all determining factors in reaching the ultimate disposition of a case.