Law Offices of Eric W. Symonds
315 W Pondera St
Phone: 661-940-1742 661-940-1742
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"While you may be able to guarantee that you won’t commit a crime, you can’t guarantee that you won’t be charged with a crime. And if you were charged with a crime, wouldn’t you want every protection afforded you by the constitution? Or would you feel that you had too many rights? And if you stood wrongly accused, who’s the victim then? When I walk into a courtroom, I’m not merely defending the individual who stands accused. I’m defending a legal system that guarantees the presumption of innocence and every individual’s right to equal protection under the law. The only way you or I can be assured of our right to a fair trial is if every citizen in the land is assured of his or her right to a fair trial. When one of us is denied justice, all of us are denied justice. This is no slippery slope argument."
- Johnnie Cochran
Cochran, J. (1997). Journey to justice. Los Angeles: Ballantine Books.
You have a right to be represented by counsel in almost all criminal matters. We’ve all seen TV and know that a lawyer will be appointed if you cannot afford one on your own. The question becomes whether private counsel is the best fit for you.
I’ll be the first to tell anyone who asks that the Public Defender’s office performs a valuable and necessary task. They are hard-working and contentious lawyers who do the best they can with the resources available. That being said, those good people are so overworked that “busy” does not begin to describe their offices. Remember, that criminal law is not like other areas of law. The defendant has a right to have certain hearings, etcetera within a specified time; when those rights are coupled with the fact that the State has an obligation to provide legal counsel for everyone who can’t afford it, the result is more work than can possibly be given the attention it deserves. The consequence is that many issues that would have gone to a trial, potentially resulting in acquittal, are instead “plead-out” and the defendant ends up with a criminal history. It is unfortunate, but it happens every single day.
Private counsel is different. For one thing, it is in violation of California law for a lawyer to take on a case if he or she cannot properly represent the client. Contrast this to the Public Defender who is simply assigned the work as it comes in and is forced to make hasty decisions. Private counsel has the time and opportunity to review your case, analyze the evidence, run the appropriate motions before the Court, and work with you to decide whether a plea is best or if this is something that should correctly go to trial.
There are several steps that the State must take in order to charge you with a crime. Depending on the severity of the charge, and the decisions you make based upon the advice of competent counsel, these steps can include a preliminary hearing, formal arraignment, and trial. Depending on your unique case, certain “motions” may be presented to the Court which can compel disclosure of evidence the prosecution has, disciplinary action or complaints against the arresting office, and many more. Timing is critical as these tools are often limited by notice requirements and must be submitted at key times. Only an attorney is qualified to determine what, if any, motions are appropriate and when they should be made.
With limited exceptions, bail is an option for everyone charged with a crime. Bail is an amount of money deposited with the Court to ensure your return. Most people use a Bail Bonds service and meet the burden by paying a bail agent a certain percentage of the bail amount; the rates vary. Here, I have a working relationship with several bail bonds agencies in the area and can generally secure a better rate for you than you can on your own. Thus, speaking with me immediately can potentially save you and your family thousands of dollars.
THE INFORMATION PRESENTED THROUGHOUT THIS WEBSITE DOES NOT CONSTITUTE PROFESSIONAL ADVICE AND IS NOT INTENDED TO BE LEGAL ADVICE. THE INFORMATION AND ALL MATERIALS ON THIS WEBSITE ARE PROVIDED AS A COURTESY AND FOR GENERAL INFORMATION ONLY. EVERY CIRCUMSTANCE IS UNIQUE AND YOU SHOULD CONSULT AN ATTORNEY BEFORE BEGINNING OR CONTINUING ANY LEGAL ACTION WHATSOEVER. IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO VERIFY THE ACCURACY AND COMPLETENESS OF ALL INFORMATION CONTAINED ON THIS WEBSITE OR ANY WEBSITE LINKED HERETO.