“Innocent Until Proven Guilty” Does Not Exist Before Trial
The criminal justice system is both misnamed and misunderstood; there is usually not much justice to be had and, if you are a criminal defendant, it certainly does not care about you or your problems.
Since my very first day as a criminal defense attorney, I have been and continue to be amazed by how little the “system” actually cares about the people who find themselves entangled in it.
For starters, “innocent until proven guilty” doesn’t exist until you go to trial. At every other step along the way, the prosecution and the system assumes (and treats you as if) you are guilty and that all of the allegations, no matter how ridiculous, are true.
The Myth of Equal Justice…
Any prosecutor will tell you that he or she represents the “People of the State of California,” but do they really? Typically, it seems, no. Instead, they tend to represent the ideals and opinions and prejudices of whoever is in charge of their respective offices.
Most people do not know that the outcome of any given case – that is, any given set of facts – can be quite different depending on who your lawyer is and where you are.
If you are in Orange County, for example, and you are charged with a DUI after being stopped for no front license plate and your BAC was 0.08% (or even 0.07%), your chances of having that reduced to a wet reckless are about…zero.
On the other hand, a 0.09% or a 0.10% BAC in some Los Angeles or San Bernardino County courts, for example, may be reduced to a wet reckless if certain criteria are met.
In some places, like Ventura County, even simple first DUI offenders get mandatory jail or, as it is in Riverside County, jail converted to work release.
It’s not just different counties. I have seen different prosecutors from the same office and in the same courthouse treat cases differently from courtroom to courtroom. I have had different prosecutors in the same courtroom on different days respond differently to the same case.
Just recently, I had a one prosecutor from the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office work with us to resolve a case very fairly for a client, and when we returned to court on a different day to wrap it all up, another prosecutor from the exact same office who was sitting in that day said, “ha…no, we are NOT doing that...” and we had to start all over. Can you imagine trying to deal with that kind of crap on your own and without a lawyer?
As you can see, identical cases are treated very differently from county to county, from courtroom to courtroom, from prosecutor to prosecutor.
But there’s more…
Almost every day I speak to clients and prospective clients who express hope that the prosecutor and/or the Court will show leniency on them because they work two jobs or they are the sole provider for the family or their child is sick or they have never been in trouble before or any of a thousand other reasons.
It breaks my heart to have to tell them: No; you are just a number; that it has been my experience that only a small handful of prosecutors actually look at people as people and work to teach rather than just punish; that way too many prosecutors don’t care about you or your family or your problems – you are a criminal and criminals must suffer for their crimes.
So, What Can You Do About It?
What do you do when the odds are already stacked against you? What do you do when the system is completely rigged against you?
Whether it’s for DUI or any other criminal charge, you secure professional help and YOU FIGHT!
Where so many Prosecutors live to PUNISH alleged actions, better Defense Attorneys DEFEND actual rights and that is the single most important difference between the two.
Prosecutors tend to believe everything the police report says and they don’t typically seem to ask a lot of questions. Your Defense Attorney, however, ask a lot of questions! What the police say is never enough; what did they do and how did they do it and why did they do it and did they do what they did according to the law and the Constitution?
Defense Attorneys hold the police and the prosecution accountable for making sure that defendants are treated fairly, legally, and Constitutionally and that is the ONLY chance any defendant has of ensuring they are being treated fairly.
Even with a great Defense Lawyer, there still may be consequences, but only after every opportunity to defend has been exhausted.
Understand the Criminal Defense Attorney
As a Defense Attorney, I don’t care what you did or what they say you did; I don’t defend your actions or alleged actions; I defend your absolute right to be treated fairly, ethically, honestly, legally, and Constitutionally at every step along the way.
I do it because so many brave men and women, including members of my own family, have given their lives to protect those rights and it sickens me to see our rights and their memory dishonored and trampled on in the name of political expediency or correctness.
If the police always did what they were supposed to do, the way they are supposed to do it; honestly, ethically, professionally, and Constitutionally every single time, there would be little for me to do. But, they don’t and keeping them honest keeps me busy.
Good people frequently find themselves sucked into the criminal justice system. They – you – must never try to handle it alone.
If you are someone you care about has been arrested, accused, or even just questioned by police, in the Coachella Valley or anywhere in Southern California, call me today for a free consultation.