Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer
Being charged with a crime can be a daunting experience. Often, serious legal troubles come with high stakes for those who are involved. If you or someone you know have been convicted of a crime in the Los Angeles area, it’s crucial to have experienced legal representation that will fight for you during this process.
Here at Stein and Markus Law, we relentlessly advocate for justice in all situations, helping fight for our clients’ rights every day. We are trusted criminal defense attorneys that can help you through the often-difficult legal proceedings of a criminal case. With decades of experience, we have worked on hundreds of successful criminal defense cases, ranging from misdemeanors to felonies, in the Los Angeles area.
What is the Difference Between a Lawyer and a Criminal Defense Attorney?
A lawyer is an individual that practices general law, meaning that they are not only knowledgeable about how the law works, but they can also have a variety of different responsibilities within the legal system. Lawyers’ duties can range from representing a plaintiff or defendant in court to giving legal advice to those in need. A general practicing lawyer doesn’t handle crime cases, as they are more focused on the civil aspects of the law instead. Lawyers can also choose to specialize in different areas of the law as well.
One of those areas of the law that many lawyers choose to specialize in is criminal law. A criminal defense attorney, also referred to as a criminal lawyer, exclusively practices criminal law and handles cases that deal with crimes. As defense attorneys, this means that we specifically represent clients accused of crimes and that we are extremely experienced in this field of law.
What Does a Criminal Defense Attorney Do?
A criminal defense attorney’s job is exactly what it sounds like—to defend people who are facing criminal charges or who have been convicted of a crime. It is the defense lawyer’s job to represent and advocate for their client throughout all legal proceedings, including bail hearings, interrogations, and every court hearing when the case finally goes to trial. A criminal defense lawyer represents the defendant’s side of the story while also defending them against the prosecution. A defense attorney can be either privately hired or appointed by the court, but the defendant always has the constitutional right to legal counsel when facing criminal charges. Criminal defense attorneys have a multitude of duties to perform when handling a criminal case, including:
- Analyzing the prosecution’s evidence
- Getting the defendant’s side of the story
- Representing the defendant in court
- Forming plea deals when possible
- Interviewing and cross-examining the witnesses
- Title IX Defense
- Vehicular Manslaughter
- DUI Defense
- ADA Defense
- Assault & Battery
- Drug Crimes
- Theft Crimes
- Federal Crimes
- Domestic Violence
- Criminal Defense
- Violent Crimes
- Murder & Homicide
- Probation Violation
- Statutory Rape
- Sex Crimes
- Felony Crimes
- White Collar Crimes
- Post Conviction Relief
- SB-1437 Petitions
Practice Areas in Criminal Law
Our specialized criminal defense attorneys can represent you in a variety of different kinds of cases that deal with crimes in the state of California. Stein and Markus are some of Los Angeles’ finest criminal lawyers and are experienced in all of the following areas:
Theft and Fraud Crimes
Theft is a crime that can have a wide range of differing characterizations and punishments. Many people are unaware of how the crime of theft is characterized in California. The two main types of theft identified by the law are petty theft and grand theft, but these crimes can also be broken down into categories like robbery, burglary, and fraud.
Theft is defined as the act of taking something without authorization from the person or entity (such as a business) who owns the item in question, and it is usually categorized by the value of what was stolen. In the state of California, if the value of the property stolen is over $950, it is considered grand theft and can result in serious charges. If it is under $950, then it is considered petty theft, which holds much less severe consequences, such as fines. Though there are some things, like cars or certain animals, that are considered grand theft automatically.
Someone charged with fraud, on the other hand, has to have either committed some sort of act where they received benefits that they did not deserve, impersonated another individual in order to steal money/information, or caused loss or harm to another individual by intentionally misleading them. Fraud is usually motivated by financial aspects but, in some cases, can be a federal crime.
That’s why having a defense attorney you can trust to represent you through a theft or fraud case is so important, as the consequences could be serious.
Homicide / Murder
Being charged with homicide or murder can result in serious charges, and wrongful accusations of homicide or murder can massively impact an individual’s life. The state of California has different “levels” of murder that guide the prosecution in decisions such as sentencing. The different levels of murder in California range from:
Capital Murder/Murder with Special Circumstances
This is essentially first-degree murder with ‘special circumstances’ that make the case more serious. The circumstances in the situation refer to the details around the case and what may have led the individual to murder. These circumstances can include, for example, murdering a witness specifically so that they cannot testify in a trial. Being charged with capital murder is the most severe murder charge an individual can receive in the state of California.
The California Penal Code defines murder as the deliberate, premediated killing of an individual; torturing, poisoning, killing someone with a destructive device; or felony murder.
Felony murder is what an individual may be charged with if they killed someone in the process in of a committing a crime, for example, during a robbery.
Second-degree murder is a more common charge. An individual may be convicted of second-degree murder if they killed someone but did not premeditate the crime. Many of these murder cases are referred to as “crimes of passion,” because they happen in the heat of the moment and the defendant may not have thought it through at the time.
A Watson Murder is a specific type of murder recognized in California, in which a person can be charged with second-degree murder if they kill someone while driving drunk (or under the influence of alcohol or drugs). In these cases, the prosecution’s main task is to prove that the defendant acted with implied malice. If your attorney can make a solid argument that you didn’t understand the dangers of driving under the influence, you may be able to avoid the harshest possible outcome. A history of DUIs, however, is one sure way to ruin those chances.
Manslaughter is another common charge and often occurs if the case at hand can’t fit under any of the other definitions of homicide. There are three primary kinds of manslaughter: voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, and vehicular manslaughter.
Senate Bill 1437 was signed into law in 2018, changing the way the state of California prosecutes those who are accused of felony murder. This bill affects the current sentences of many convicted criminals across the state. The main aspects of SB 1437 are:
- A murder can only be prosecuted as a felony if there was intent to kill.
- Defendants can no longer be convicted of natural or probable consequence murder.
- The new law is retroactive, so people convicted under the old law can petition their cases.
If you believe your sentence could be affected by SB 1437, our criminal lawyers can help you petition to help reduce or even end your sentence.
California is a state with tighter regulations on gun other and weapon laws, meaning there are a variety of different charges that can result in serious consequences, including:
- Illegal possession of firearms
- Carrying a concealed weapon
- Brandishing a firearm
- Negligent discharge of a gun
- Using a firearm while committing a felony
- Weapons trafficking
- Possessing an unregistered firearm
Some more serious charges of weapons violations can even go to the federal level. Making sure you have a good Los Angeles criminal defense attorney to assess your case and build your defense will help immensely.
Federal Crimes Defense
How to Pick the Best Criminal Defense Attorney for Your Case
When it comes to choosing the criminal defense attorney that is best for you and your case, there are a couple of aspects you should keep in mind:
Here at Stein and Markus, we know how crucial experience can be when finding a criminal lawyer to help represent your case. Between our attorneys, we have decades upon decades of experience successfully representing clients in a wide range of criminal cases throughout the Los Angeles area.
The reputation of the attorney you choose to represent you is also important. You don’t want to choose someone that’s known for having heavily publicized trials or that often loses cases. Instead, you want to choose an attorney with a reputation and experience you can trust. At our law firm, our criminal defense attorneys have years of experience and a glowing reputation. One of our attorneys, Markus, is even a former prosecutor—adding to the insight that helps us represent all different kinds of criminal cases.
Another large aspect that many people forget to consider in the process of searching for a defense attorney to help them with their case is their level of comfortwith their lawyer. If you have a lawyer you feel like you are not able to talk to, there is the possibility of miscommunication, and mistakes can be made because of it. It’s essential to feel comfortable around the attorney that you are working with and trust that they will always act in your best interest.
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Hiring an Experienced Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney
Being charged with a crime can result in serious consequences and have high stakes for everyone involved. That’s why it’s crucial to make sure that you have an experienced criminal defense attorney that will fight for you throughout your case.
With decades of experience, our attorneys here at the Law Offices of Stein and Markus are some of the finest criminal defense attorneys in the Los Angeles area. They have worked on hundreds of criminal cases while advocating for the rights of their clients and fighting to uphold justice. Don’t let a criminal conviction take over your life. If you or someone you know has been criminally charged in the Los Angeles Area, contact our attorneys to learn more about how we can represent you todayand get the help you need.
Misdemeanors Vs. Felonies
In the state of California, crimes are characterized in three main ways, with the last two being the ones that require legal counsel:
Infractions are the lightest of the offenses and are meant to be a slap on the wrist, so they don’t usually require legal representation. Infractions deal with minor offenses, such as speeding tickets.
A misdemeanor is the next step up from an infraction, and those facing one should enlist legal help. The punishments that come along with misdemeanors are more serious and can include a maximum of one year of jail time, which is why the defendant will want to make sure they have an attorney to represent them throughout their proceedings.
Felonies are the most serious charges that a defendant can receive and have the most severe consequences, such as serving anywhere from just over a year to a life sentence in prison. Felonies include cases such as murder, manslaughter, and DUIs that cause serious harm to others.
California’s “Three Strikes” Law
Every state has different legislation in place for how varying crimes are prosecuted. In California, there are some laws specific to the state that you and your defense attorneys should know about. One law in the California Penal Code that can cause many difficulties in a case is the “Three Strikes” Law. This legislation gives the state the authority to give a sentence of 25-to-life to a defendant that has been charged with three violent or serious crimes in California.
When Should You Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney?
Being accused of a crime can be daunting, making most people unsure of what to do when they find themselves in the situation. Hiring a criminal defense attorney should be one of the first actions you take when accused of a crime in California. Every person has the right to legal counsel, allowing you to choose your own criminal defense attorney if you desire. By hiring a criminal lawyer, you can receive help figuring out the legal aspects of your situation and fighting for the best possible outcome.