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Eisner Gorin LLP

Eisner Gorin LLP is a nationally recognized Los Angeles criminal defense law firm devoted to contesting serious felony and federal criminal cases.

 

Website: https://www.egattorneys.com

 


 

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  • Getting California Criminal Charges Dismissed with no Conviction - Deferred Entry of Judgement
    Getting California Criminal Charges Dismissed with no Conviction - Deferred Entry of Judgement One way to resolve a criminal case in California State courts is through a diversion program, sometimes known as a conditional plea or deferred entry of judgment. In general, a diversionary outcome is one in which the defendant is presented with a carrot and a stick.   If certain requirements are fulfilled in a specified period of time, the defendant receives a benefit, usually in the form of a reduced offense or even a complete dismissal of the charges.    Deferred entry of judgment is a program in California that permits a judge to avoid entering a conviction in a criminal case. However, the defendant has to plead guilty to the crime they were accused of committing. In exchange for pleading guilty, the court provides the defendant an opportunity to complete a term of supervised probation.   If the defendant successfully completes all of the terms, the court will dismiss the criminal charges. Thus, in the end, a defendant is able to avoid a conviction on their record for a crime they committed. In other words, deferred entry of judgment could be considered a type of . On the other hand, if the defendant is not successful in fulfilling their obligations or is arrested for a new offense, they will suffer a conviction for a more serious offense. Contact our at Eisner Gorin LLP to review your case.    Who Qualifies for Deferred Entry of Judgment? The program is not an option for all criminal offenses. Under California law, it only allows using this type of program for certain non-violent misdemeanor crimes. You will typically qualify for deferred entry of judgment if you meet the following requirements:   You are charged with a non-violent offense You were not convicted of a drug crime in the past You were not in a diversion program in the past 5 years You have not been convicted of a felony crime in the past 5 years You have not ever violated probation or parole   The California deferred entry of judgment is frequently used as an alternative sentence for defendants facing allegations of first-time, non-violent . However, it can also be used as for defendant’s accused of other misdemeanors, including, , trespassing, disorderly conduct, among others.   Making a Deferred Entry of Judgment Agreement After you enter a guilty plea or no contest, the court will defer a judgment in your case. In other words, the court will not enter a conviction or a final judgment on your case. During this time while your case is deferred, you will have to complete a term of supervised probation. You are required to successfully complete all of the terms ordered by the court, which will typically include the following:   No use of drugs or alcohol or committing new crime Treatment for drug or alcohol abuse, such as AA meetings Counseling for mental health Community service Restitution   It’s important to note that the specific terms of your probation are normally designed for rehabilitation. The terms set by the court are typically selected to directly deal with the issues that are relevant to your crime.   Diversion Case Example #1 – Marijuana Extract Trafficking A few examples taken from actual cases our law firm has worked on will help illustrate the benefits of a diversion program for our clients. In one case, we represented an out-of-state resident accused of a large quantity of marijuana extract through the airport. We were able to negotiate an outcome whereby the client entered a No Contest plea to possession for sale of marijuana, but sentencing was continued for a year.    Under California law, judgement is not final, and therefore the defendant is not convicted, until the time of sentencing. By completing an online drug education class and paying mandatory court fees, the client was able to earn a dismissal of the charges.    When the date of sentencing occurred, one year from the date of the plea, the No Contest plea was withdrawn and all charges were dropped. However, if the client had failed to complete the drug program or failed to pay his court fees, the consequences would have been a sentencing hearing on the charge.    As the plea had already been entered, the client would have forfeited his right to a jury trial and thereby lost his ability to contest the charges.  In this way, the diversionary outcome functions as both a carrot and a stick - if successful, the case is dismissed; if unsuccessful, the defendant faces sentencing.   Diversion Case Example #2 – Check Fraud In another case, the client was charged with resulting in over $15,000 in losses to a bank which cashed the fraudulent check. The cash was never recovered.    Although the client was charged with a felony level offense, we were able to negotiate a diversionary outcome which gave the client the opportunity to earn a misdemeanor by paying full restitution over the course of 18 months and completing a significant amount of community serve.    This was a major benefit for the client, a registered nurse, as her employment would have been in serious jeopardy if she had been convicted of a felony. Again, she was required to enter a plea to the felony offense at the beginning of the diversion such that she was subjected to immediate sentencing if she failed to timely complete her obligations.   In other cases, particularly lower-level offenses, an informal diversion may be available where a plea is not taken. In these cases, a pretrial or similar hearing is simply continued for a period of months while the defendant completes his or her diversion terms.    This is typically not available in more serious offenses, particular felony offenses, as the prosecuting agency will not agree to provide the defendant with the opportunity to earn reduced charges or even a dismissal without the certain consequence in place in the event that the defendant fails to abide by the agreement.   Final Result of Deferred Entry of Judgment When a defendant earns a dismissal through a diversion program, one major benefit is that under California law, they have never been convicted. This allows them to honestly answer ‘no’ to a question on a background check, job application, or similar survey which asks about criminal convictions.    However, federal law differs in this area. Under federal law, the defendant is convicted at the time of the plea, not at sentencing. Therefore, certain federal background checks, such as those conducted by law enforcement or when applying to jobs in the national security field, will always return information about the case even after a successful diversionary resolution has resulted in a dismissal.   If you, or a family member, has been charged with a crime and is interested in learning more about diversionary outcomes, including deferred entry of judgement and/or conditional pleas, diversionary settlements, call our experienced criminal defense attorneys for an initial consultation. our law firm at 877-781-1570.   Eisner Gorin LLP 1875 Century Park E #705 Los Angeles, CA 90067 310-328-3776
  • Pretrial Motion Practice in California State and Federal Criminal Cases
    Pretrial Motion Practice in California State Criminal Courts and Federal Cases In both federal and California State criminal cases, pretrial motion practice is a critical component of an effective defense. Which, if any, motions are appropriate to bring before the court will depend on the particular facts, circumstances, and allegations of the individual case. However, certain categories of motions are frequently litigated in criminal cases.   After a  and before a criminal case proceeds to trial, the prosecutor and the criminal defense lawyer will typically appear before a judge and make pre-trial motions, which are arguments that certain evidence should be kept out of the trial, certain people can’t testify, or the case should be dismissed.   Pre-trial motions are tools used by the government and the defense in an effort to set the boundaries for trial, should one take place: What physical evidence and testimony can be used? What legal arguments can and cannot be made? Is there any reason that the defendant should not be forced to stand trial?   While specific possibilities are countless, some examples of pre-trail motions that could be made include (1) In a case, the defense lawyer will ask the judge to "exclude" they believe was obtained through an illegal search; (2) The defense attorney makes an argument their client’s confession should be excluded because it was made in response to questions from police who failed to read them their ; (3) The defense lawyer ask the judge to dismiss the case because police lacked “probable cause” to arrest their client or there is insufficient evidence to find them guilty.   This post will give a broad overview of some common pretrial motions. Readers should keep in mind, however, that this list is not exhaustive and the determination of whether to file a particular motion, or motions, in an individual case requires a fact-intensive appraisal of the case in consultation with a at Eisner Gorin LLP.   Motion to Suppress One of the most common motions in criminal cases is a . The State and federal constitutions guarantee certain rights to suspects in criminal cases. Many of these are included in the familiar “Miranda” warnings - the right to an attorney, including an attorney provided at no cost in the case of an indigent defendant, the right to remain silent, and the right to have the suspect’s attorney present for any police questioning.    In the United States, everybody is subject to the rule of law, including federal agents and local police. This means they have limits on what they can do while investigating a crime and are prohibited from engaging in unreasonable searches and seizures.   This rule applies to searches and seizures of people, vehicles, homes, place of employment, and just about any other place where they have a reasonable expectation of privacy. If police break the law while investigating, it may be possible to keep the evidence they obtained from being used in court by filing a motion to suppress evidence.   When law enforcement violates a suspect’s constitutional rights, the appropriate remedy is often for courts to exclude evidence gathered in violation of those rights from the criminal case. This is known as the doctrine, i.e. the violation of rights is the poison tree and the evidence gathered thereby is the fruit of that tree.   A violation of one or more constitutional rights can be alleged in a motion to suppress.  For example, the guarantees the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. What is and is not a reasonable search, particularly when conducted without a warrant, is a complex topic in its own right.   Assuming that a search was in fact unreasonable, and harmful evidence of the client’s guilt was obtained during the search, the defense attorney will file a motion to suppress the evidence. The court will most likely schedule an evidentiary hearing at which witnesses, typically including the arresting officers, will testify to establish the facts and circumstances surrounding the search.    The criminal defense attorneys will then make legal arguments about whether law enforcement acted consistent with the defendant’s rights. Even in a case where the evidence of guilt is overwhelming, a strong suppression motion can result in dismissal of the accusations against the client.   Motion to Compel Discovery Another commonly filed motion in criminal cases is a motion to compel discovery.  Prosecuting agencies, whether State or , have a constitutional obligation to turn over certain pieces of information to a criminal defendant.   Readers may be familiar with the , which held that material, exculpatory evidence must be provided to the defendant prior to trial to ensure a fundamentally fair process.    Brady and other subsequent cases define the prosecutor’s discovery obligations. However, disputes can arise in the discovery and investigation process of a case where the prosecution has information they refuse to turn over.    This is not necessarily a bad-faith attempt to prejudice the defendant. Often, the prosecutor will truly believe that they are not obligated to turn over a certain piece of evidence. When the defense disagrees, their remedy is a motion to compel discovery which asks the court to order the prosecution to disclose the sought information.   Pitchess Motion In California State cases specifically, another common motion is a request for confidential law enforcement personnel records. California law provides significant privacy protections to law enforcement officers, including a presumption that any information contained in their personnel files will remain confidential.    However, in some cases, such as those involving allegations of racial bias, excessive force, or fabrications in an official report, certain information such as past disciplinary incidents may be highly relevant to the defendant’s case.    Courts strike the balance between the officer’s right to privacy and the defendant’s right to critical discovery materials by conducting a Pitchess hearing. First, the defendant brings a motion before the court explaining the basis for the request to disclose the law enforcement personnel records.   If the defendant makes an adequate showing at this initial step, the court will review the records in camera, meaning in private, and determine if they are relevant to the defendant’s case.  If so, the records will be disclosed to the defendant.   Contact Our Law Firm for Help Effective motion practice is critical to maximizing the defendant’s chances of a positive outcome. Well-written and argued motions can be dispositive, meaning they determine the outcome of the entire case.    If you have been accused of a crime, let our criminal defense lawyers review the specific details of your case to determine whether your rights were violated by law enforcement. We are committed to protecting your legal rights and to holding law enforcement accountable.   We serve clients throughout Southern California, including Los Angeles County, Ventura, San Bernardino, Riverside, and the San Fernando Valley. If you are interested in learning more about effective motion practice and how it can improve your chances of success, call our criminal defense law firm for a consultation at 877-781-1570.   Eisner Gorin LLP 1875 Century Park E #705 Los Angeles, CA 90067 310-328-3776
  • Changes in Federal Sentencing Under the First Step Act
    Changes in Federal Sentencing Under the First Step Act Recently, as a part of the federal government’s larger focus on criminal justice reform and to end mass incarceration, Congress passed the First Step Act, which introduced significant changes to a number of areas of federal criminal law. For many years, Congress had attempted to pass criminal justice reform legislation, such as the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act (SRCA), but it failed to pass in 2016 despite overwhelming bipartisan support.   However, that finally changed in December 2018 when the Senate finally passed, and President Trump signed, the . It includes some key parts of the SRCA, which makes it the first major reduction to federal drug sentences. One of the most important areas which has been changed is the application of sentencing guidelines to certain .   The First Step Act is important as it includes provisions for sentencing reform, which will reduce the amount of people in prison and is a starting point for legislation for criminal justice reform. In recent decades, sentencing laws played a main role the significant rise of mass incarceration. The federal prison population and federal prison spending increased substantially.   This growth in prison population disproportionally affected African Americans, Native Americans, Latinos and low-income communities. Federal mandatory minimum sentences were the main reason for the surge in unnecessary harsh prison sentences. Many federal prisoners serving were convicted of non-violent crimes.   Extensive research shows long prison sentences are often ineffective. One study even found that harsh sentences have little impact on reducing crime. In fact, there were some cases that showed a longer prison sentence actually increase the likelihood of individuals returning to criminal activity. Our review the major changes below.   Changes in Drug-Related Sentencing One of the most significant changes in sentencing applies to second and subsequent convictions for . Under prior law, a defendant convicted of a third drug offense under 21 U.S.C. §§ 841/851 was exposed to a mandatory life sentence.   The First Step Act reduces this draconian sentencing provision to a 25-year mandatory minimum. Obviously, this is still a very severe sentence on a third offense, but nowhere near as severe as a life sentence. Also of significance is that the definition of drug offense that triggers the mandatory minimum has been narrowed. Previously, the third “drug-related” offense could potentially be a relatively minor State-level drug crime.   Under the First Step Act, qualifying prior drug crimes must be “felony drug offenses,” or “serious violent felonies.”  As with most newly enacted laws affecting sentencing, we would expect litigation to be forthcoming in the coming months and years directed at clarifying exactly which State and federal prior convictions fall into these new categories.   Similar to the reform discussed above, the previously applicable 20-year mandatory minimum for a second drug offense under 21 U.S.C. § 841/851 has been reduced by the First Step Act to a 15-year mandatory minimum.   As with the first reform discussed, the category of qualifying prior offenses has also been narrowed to cover only “felony drug offenses,” and “serious violent felonies.” It is worth noting, however, that both these reforms to drug crime sentencing apply prospectively only.  These are not retroactive re-sentencing provisions.   Elimination of “Stacking” Allegations One very impactful reform under the First Step Act is the elimination of so-called . In federal sentencing, 924 stacking refers to the use of multiple 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) allegations, a very serious firearm-related offense, in the same case.   Under prior law, multiple § 924 convictions in the same case, even a first offense, could trigger a 25-year mandatory minimum prison sentence. The First Step Act prevents such “stacking,” ensuring that the mandatory minimum is only triggered by § 924 convictions in a second or subsequent case.   First offenders are no longer exposed to a 25-year mandatory minimum sentence.  As with the previously discussed drug crime reforms, the § 924 stacking reform is not retroactive to those with prior convictions. This change in the law will therefore unfortunately not provide relief to those currently serving 25-year mandatory minimum prison sentences based on a first offense conviction involving multiple § 924(c) counts.   Resentencing in Crack Cases One reform which is retroactive in the First Step Act is that the previously enacted reforms to crack cocaine guidelines calculations, enacted in 2010, can now be raised in a resentencing position by defendants who were sentenced in crack cases before 2010. This should provide a major avenue of relief to those whose guideline sentences were draconian compared to defendants possessing or selling a similar amount of powder cocaine.    Readers may be familiar with the long-standing controversy over the disparate treatment of crack and powder cocaine offenders, which some commentators alleged was based on racial animus or, at the very least, had a disproportionate effect on defendants of color.    The First Step Act expands the relief first enacted in 2010 by allowing retroactive application, opening an avenue of relief for those still serving long crack cocaine-related sentences from before 2010.   Elder and Compassionate Release Finally, the First Step Act significantly expands the opportunities for elder and compassionate release. These provisions have long existed in federal law, but Congress determined that the guidelines should be expanded to provide more opportunities for early release for elderly and disabled inmates and those suffering from terminal or very serious illnesses.    Whether or not a particular inmate qualifies for this release is a fact-based determination that depends on the specific facts and circumstances of that inmate’s situation, including his or her behavior while in custody, the total length of the sentence, the nature and trajectory of the individual’s illness, etc. In general, however, non-violent offenders over 60 years old who have completed at least two-thirds of their federal prison sentence are eligible to petition for early release.    Contact Our Federal Criminal Lawyers for Help The FIRST STEP Act is a critical win to reduce mass incarceration. It represents the largest step the federal government has taken in order to reduce the number of people in federal custody. More people are under the custody of the than any single state system.   The First Step Act is a major component of the federal government’s push toward criminal justice reform.  It offers significant prospective relief to federal criminal defendants, and some opportunities for retroactive relief for those already serving federal prison sentences.    If you or a member of your family is facing federal criminal charges or is already serving time in federal prison, contact our federal criminal defense attorneys for a consultation about the application of the First Step Act to your, or your loved one’s, case. Contac us at 877-781-1570.   Eisner Gorin LLP 1875 Century Park E #705 Los Angeles, CA 90067 310-328-3776   Related:
  • Brandishing a Weapon or Firearm – California Penal Code Section 417
    Brandishing a Weapon or Firearm – California Penal Code Section 417 Have you been charged with brandishing a weapon or firearm in Los Angeles? A conviction could result in life-altering consequences. You should consult with our experienced criminal defense lawyers at Eisner Gorin LLP as soon as possible. We have over six decades of combined experiences and will aggressively fight for the best possible outcome on your case.   Under California Penal Code Section 417, it is unlawful to draw or exhibit a deadly weapon in a threatening way in the presence of someone else, not in self-defense. It should be noted that if you unlawfully use a deadly weapon in a fight or quarrel, it’s also considered a brandishing a weapon offense under PC 417. What exactly is a deadly weapon?   A deadly weapon can be anything from a firearm, razor blade, baseball bat or even a bottle. In fact, it’s defined as “any object, instrument, or weapon that is inherently deadly or dangerous or one that is used in such a way that it is capable of causing and likely to cause death or great bodily injury.”   In order for the Los Angeles County prosecutor to prove you brandished a weapon under , they must be able to show certain factors, which is commonly known as the “elements of the crime.” These include (1) You drew or exhibited a deadly weapon or firearm in the presence of another individual, and either; (2) You did the act in a rude, angry, or threatening manner, or; (3) You do so unlawfully in a fight or quarrel, and; (4) You were not acting in self-defense or in the defense of someone else. Let’s review more details below from our .   Not Acting in Self-Defense In California, brandishing a weapon is generally a misdemeanor punishable by as much as a year in the county jail. Penal Code § 417(a)(2) provides, in relevant part, that “every person who, except in self-defense, in the presence of any other person, draws or exhibits any firearm, whether loaded or unloaded, in a rude, angry, or threatening manner,” is guilty of a crime.   Each part of the sentence quoted above provides guidance on the types of incidents covered by the brandishing law. First, the statute only applies in cases where the defendant was not acting in . Put another way, brandishing a weapon or firearm in the course of defending oneself is not a crime. Second, Penal Code § 417(a)(2) applies only to the use of firearms. Other provisions of Penal Code § 417 deal with other deadly weapons, such as knives. Additionally, there is no requirement that the firearm in question be loaded to trigger a brandishing violation.   A conviction for brandishing a weapon or firearm requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant drew or exhibited a firearm in a rude, angry, or threatening manner. At trial, defense counsel will attack each of these elements. If there is insufficient proof that the defendant in fact drew or exhibited a firearm, for instance based on unreliable eyewitness testimony, then the defendant is not guilty.    Likewise, there may be proof that a weapon or gun was drawn, but the defendant may have been acting with an intention that was not rude, angry or threatening such as to defend himself or another person. While brandishing a firearm is typically a misdemeanor, certain violations can rise to the level of a felony and therefore subject the defendant to the possibility of time.    There special circumstances include brandishing a firearm in the presence of an occupant of a motor vehicle under Penal Code § 417.3, brandishing a firearm during a dispute at a day care center under Penal Code § 417(b), and brandishing a firearm at a law enforcement officer under Penal Code § 417(c).   Legal Defenses for Brandishing a Weapon Which defense will be the most effective at a jury trial will of course depend on the particular facts and circumstances of the case. However, several defenses are commonly employed in brandishing a firearm cases.    First, it can be argued that the defendant did not display or exhibit the weapon in a rude or threatening manner. This is essentially a factual defense in that eyewitness testimony, audio or video recordings, or other objective third-party evidence will be critical in establishing this defense. In more unusual cases, there may be a bona fide issue as to whether the object drawn or exhibited was in fact a firearm. Especially at longer distances and at poor vantage points, eyewitnesses may not be reliable in terms of their observations.    What may appear to be a gun, depending on the witness’ point of view, might actually be some other benign object. Again, rebuttal testimony by other eyewitnesses, who perhaps had a better angle at which to accurately assess the nature of the object in question, is critical to a successful defense.   Self-defense is also a common defense to brandishing a firearm. Many individuals who carry firearms do so legally and are licensed to carry precisely because their employment, celebrity status, or history of prior victimization by threats or stalking makes it prudent for them to carry a weapon for self-protection.    In a scenario in which the defendant is actually a victim of an attempted crime and draws their firearm purely in an attempt to defend themselves, they might nevertheless be falsely accused of brandishing by the actual perpetrators. In such cases, the credibility of the alleged victim or victims is central to the prosecution’s case. Independent investigation geared toward establishing what the victim’s motive to falsely accuse the defendant is an important component of an effective defense.   Related Offenses Finally, it should be noted that brandishing a firearm does not require that the defendant actually point the weapon at the alleged victim, much less fire the weapon. These more serious gun crimes are handled through charged of , , , and others.    Brandishing requires only that the gun be displayed in an angry, rude, or threatening manner. For this reason, the victim or victims need not ever have been in actual danger, such as in the case of an unloaded firearm.   Contact our Law Firm for Help If you or a family member have been accused or arrested on a , it’s critical that your consult with our skilled criminal defense lawyers as soon as possible. We have a track record of success and understand how the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office will attempt to build their case against you.   Through our strategy, it might be possible to avoid the filing of formal charges. We need to first review the facts and circumstances of your case in order to develop a defense plan for the best possible outcome.   Our law firm has defended numerous clients charged with brandishing a firearm in both felony and misdemeanor cases.  If you, or someone you know, is charged with one of these serious criminal cases, call our office for a consultation. We serve clients throughout Southern California, including Los Angeles County, Riverside County, Ventura County, and San Bernardino. at 877-781-1570.   Eisner Gorin LLP 1875 Century Park E #705 Los Angeles, CA 90067 310-328-3776
  • Should I Take the Plea Bargain in My California Criminal Case?
    Should I Take the Plea Deal in My California Criminal Case? At our criminal defense firm, one of the most common questions we get from clients, potential clients, and family members of clients, is whether or not to accept a plea deal that the prosecutor has offered. The answer, as is often the case with legal issues, is that it depends.   A is an agreement where the defendant agrees to plead guilty to one or more of the charges against them in exchange for the prosecutor to dismiss the remaining charges, reducing the charges, or recommend to the court give them a lighter sentence.   For example, it’s common driving under the influence () cases for a defendant to make an agreement to plead guilty to , which will carry less penalties than a DUI conviction. A plea bargain also includes where a defendant pleads “nolo contendere,” or “no contest.”   This means they are not admitting or denying the charge, but they accept the punishment because the evidence in the case is sufficient to convict them on the charge. It’s important to note that plea bargains can occur at any stage in the . In fact, plea deals can be reached immediately after the or even as late when a jury is about to return to the courtroom after deliberating a verdict.   Plea bargains allow a much faster resolution to criminal cases, and both the defendant and prosecution get a favorable outcome. The defendant is able to avoid a more severe penalty for their criminal charges and save money in legal fees, court costs, and fines. The prosecutor is able to have punished the defendant in some manner. Additionally, the schedule of the court is more manageable as it will have less cases going to trail, which saves time and money for the court system.   In this blog post, our will address some general considerations that apply in almost every case when evaluating the propriety of accepting a plea deal, also known as a negotiated settlement. Keep in mind, however, that every case is fact specific and that the benefits or costs of accepting a particular deal in a particular case will depend on an in depth analysis and consultation with the client about their specific situation.   Strength of the Prosecutor’s Case The first, and arguably most important, question to address when we begin considering a plea deal is what is the relative strength of the government’s case?  In other words, how likely is it that if our client proceeded to a jury trial they would be convicted of the charged offense or offenses?  It’s important to note the prosecutor is not offering a plea deal out of kindness or sympathy. Their agenda is to serve their best interest, not yours.   If the government’s case is fundamentally flawed and their evidence is weak, there is very little reason to take a plea deal. In reality, however, it is rare that an extremely weak case would be filed in the first place or, in the case of a felony, that it would survive a at which a judge would make a probable cause determination.   For that reason, the situation is much more likely that the government’s case is either very strong, or is flawed in some respects but strong in others. In such cases, the client, with the assistance of our attorneys, must realistically assess the likelihood that a jury will be persuaded of their innocence given all the nuances of the case.   Assuming the government has enough evidence that they will likely secure a conviction if the case goes to trial, a series of other considerations become relevant. First, we must determine what the likely sentence would be following trial assuming the jury convicts the client.   It may be that, given the client’s lack of prior record, other mitigating factors about their history and character, and the minor nature of the conduct, that even after trial the sentence is likely to be lenient. In that case, if the government is offering a relatively harsh sentence as part of a negotiated resolution, the client may wish to turn down the deal and proceed to trial on the assumption that the outcome is unlikely to be worse than what they are being offered.  In other words, they don’t risk much by putting the government to their burden.   Collateral Consequences In other situations, clients may be facing so-called “collateral consequences,” which change the calculus dramatically. For example, a client may have an immigration issue which precludes them from pleading to a certain crime or a certain sentence.    If the government is unwilling to improve the offer, the client may wish to turn the deal down and risk a trial knowing that the immigration consequences will outweigh any possible benefit of the plea deal. Other collateral consequences include employment, possible or drug offender, and professional licensure.   Our firm has represented multiple clients, for instance, who hold professional licenses such as doctors, lawyers, accountants, real-estate brokers, securities brokers, and even concealed carry license holders. If the plea deal, however lenient in terms of punishment, will result in loss of the professional or vocational license, it may not be in the client’s best interest to accept it even if a client in their position would normally be advised to do so.    The assistance and advise of a professional licensure attorney is often critical to helping the client make these determinations as the standards governing licensure, including the duty to self-report, vary dramatically from license to license. If the client can accept a certain settlement with relative certainty that their ability to continue in their profession will remain intact, the advice may be to accept the plea deal and avoid the risk of a harsher sentence at trial.   Proving Case Beyond Reasonable Doubt Finally, it must be noted that a criminal defendant always has the right to force the government to prove the charges against them . At our criminal defense firm, we never pressure clients to accept a deal that they are uncomfortable with, or “twist arms.” At the end of the day, the client has to bear the burden of whatever outcome we arrive at in the case.    The client has a constitutional right to a jury trial, and must be afforded the opportunity to have that trial if they wish to vindicate their innocence. The decision of whether or not to accept a plea deal is a weighty one which is best made after thoughtful consideration and consultation with an attorney.   Facing the possibility of jail time is clearly stressful, and it’s typically tempting to just accept a plea offer to end the ordeal and move on with your life. This is why you need an experienced criminal defense attorney in your corner. Your lawyer can evaluate the evidence against in order to determine whether the evidence supports the charges. Your lawyer can advise you on whether the plea bargain can be improved, or whether taking your case to trial is in your best interest.   Contact our Criminal Law Firm for Help It’s important to keep in mind that a guilty or no contest plea is considered establishment of your guilt, meaning the conviction will go on your criminal record. You could lose certain rights, such as the right to vote, or to own firearms. You might also lose your right to appeal when you agree to a plea bargain.   An experienced criminal defense lawyer might be able to negotiate a plea bargain that allows you to seal or your criminal record after successful completion of your probation. When filling out an application for a job or apartment, you will not be required to disclose the arrest or conviction in most cases.   If you, or a family member has been charged with a criminal defense and is struggling with the decision of whether or not to accept a plea deal which the government has offered, please call our Los Angeles criminal attorneys for a consultation. We can walk you through the costs and benefits of the plea deal, and the likely outcome at trial. at 877-781-1570.   Eisner Gorin LLP 1875 Century Park E #705 Los Angeles, CA 90067 310-328-3776

 

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