A Criminal Defense Lawyer Fighting For People In Riverside
Criminal charges in Riverside, California, are life-altering events that can last for a moment or a lifetime. While accusations alone do not imply guilt, they can certainly feel that way due to the stress and anxiety they cause. You will also face public judgment from friends, family and the community. If the accusation turns into a conviction, the implications are far more devastating. It can interfere with your ability to find housing and employment or impinge on potential future educational opportunities. These consequences further compound the potential penalties you could face for the conviction. These may include jail time, hefty fines, probation or other penalties deemed necessary by a court.
These consequences can leave you feeling isolated, lost and overwhelmed. You must remember that you do not need to fight the legal process alone. A criminal accusation should be a reminder of one of the most important rights you have: Legal representation. With the right criminal defense attorney, you can feel confident that the focus is on your best interests. After all, a conviction impacts your life, not the life of your attorney. At Exum Law Offices, Darryl Exum knows and uses that very thought to motivate our team. No matter what type of criminal charge you are facing, he wants you to have the most favorable outcome. Put his knowledge and expertise to work for you.
Choosing The Right Criminal Defense Attorney
Choosing representation as soon as possible in the legal process could make all the difference in your case. However, you may not know what type of lawyer you need or who you should choose to represent you. There are many attorneys who know the law. Researching, finding and selecting an attorney can be difficult. However, the following suggestions may assist you in that process so that you can be confident that you have found the best attorney possible:
- The first step is to identify attorneys who have experience litigating the types of charges you face. There will be a litany of attorneys who know the law. It is vital to find someone who is an expert in the area you need. Their expertise will help in determining which elements of your case need more attention than others and what priorities need to be addressed first. They will know how to dissect witness statements and review police reports for common errors.
- Choose an attorney who prioritizes your case and will be responsive to your needs. Many public defenders are overwhelmed with cases assigned by the court system. While they are there to represent you, they may see you as just another case among many. Selecting your own attorney puts the process in your hands. It also provides you with an opportunity to talk about your needs and expectations. Remember, it is your future on the line, and you want an attorney who recognizes that.
- Select an attorney that you feel comfortable with. If you are at odds with your attorney because you are unable to see eye-to-eye on certain details of your case or because you feel that they do not have your best interests in mind, then your case will suffer. You will find yourself limiting the information you share with them. This handicaps their potential to provide you with the best defense. As with any relationship, trust, honesty and communication should never be in question between you and your attorney.
- Work with an attorney who promotes compassion and empathy by showing you their genuine interest in you and your case. You will feel many emotions in your confrontation with the legal system. Find an attorney who understands the fear, confusion and uncertainty that you feel. However, they should also have the experience to help you process these emotions into productive discussions about the details of your case. Your emotions are nothing to be ashamed of, particularly when you have an attorney who knows how to unlock more essential details about your case from them.
- Do your research and understand who the attorney is based on their reputation and track record. While a web search cannot tell you everything, it is a great starting point to see what information is out there. A quick search of their name can bring up studies, news articles, legal reviews and public reviews that they are associated with. While this does not tell the whole story, it can certainly be used as a tool to identify the right lawyer for you.
Your Rights As The Accused
Whenever you face the legal process, you should ensure your rights are protected. From the moment you interact with law enforcement, there are certain policies and procedures that go into effect to protect you and are guaranteed by law. When law enforcement officers, prosecutors or judges interact with you, they must disregard any protected traits. They must ensure that you receive proper due process and are not mistreated in any way.
From the minute you are in contact with law enforcement, you have the right to be treated fairly. Should they choose to arrest you, you will have further rights guaranteed to you by the Fifth and Sixth Amendments. The Fifth Amendment is a significant part of the Miranda rights that law enforcement is required to read to you at the time of your arrest. This amendment protects you from self-incrimination by giving you the option to not respond to law enforcement questions. When you read your Miranda rights, you are reminded that if you choose to say anything, it may be admissible in court. Most criminal defense attorneys will advise you to remain silent when speaking with law enforcement unless they are present with you. They can help protect you from improper questioning techniques designed to prompt a false confession. They can also keep you from providing incriminating evidence that could not be proven otherwise.
You should wait to answer questions until your attorney is present. Therefore, you need to obtain one as quickly as possible. This is the fundamental element of the Sixth Amendment. This establishes your right to be represented throughout the legal process, even if you are unable to afford an attorney. Should you be unable to hire a private attorney, the court will assign a public defender at no cost. While this sounds like a great opportunity to avoid legal fees, keep in mind that a public defender will provide you with a lesser amount of attention and experience.
Types Of Criminal Cases Exum Law Offices Can Help With
At Exum Law Offices, Darryl Exum firm has experience with a vast number of cases involving criminal defense for a multitude of offenses. He has successfully litigated criminal charges for years. Even though the law does not change, he understands that the circumstances of your case are unique. Therefore, they require a unique approach. He starts by understanding the felony or misdemeanor charges against you, which may include:
- Violent crimes: The term “violent” can be applied to several charges, which can include assault, battery, armed robbery, homicide and many others. The circumstances of the crime can determine the severity of the violence associated with it. These types of crimes often carry the heaviest penalties, which can include extensive time in prison and fines.
- Drug offenses: While many drug-related charges have relaxed in recent years, there are still many charges that could result in financial penalties or time behind bars. These charges include drug trafficking, distribution and possession.
- Domestic violence: If you are accused of domestic violence, your spouse, cohabitant, intimate partner or any other individual with whom you are sharing a home (including children) is accusing you of physical or emotional abuse, neglect or endangerment. In addition to potential prison time and fines, a protective order may be filed against you. You could also be denied visitation with your children.
- Sex crimes: These types of crimes are often viewed as the most heinous. Convictions of potential sex offenders can feel heroic for the state, which means these cases are less likely to see a reduction in charges. Convictions also come with significant penalties that include fines, prison time and likely registration in the sex offender database. This will have a significant impact on your ability to locate housing or employment.
- DUI: Driving under the influence does not always mean you are drunk. This could also apply if you are under the influence of drugs. These crimes often carry progressive penalties. It is hoped that you will avoid such behavior after the first time you are convicted. These laws are put in place to help protect you and others from injury or death.
- Property crimes: While often not seen as serious as violent crimes, charges such as theft and burglary nonetheless carry significant penalties. You can face major felony charges for theft, and even after you’ve served a sentence, the conviction may stay on your record long-term.
While these cases represent many of the charges attorney Exum defends against, he also has experience in many other areas of criminal defense. He knows your charges can be life-changing, and he seeks to prevent that.
Understanding The Evidence
In any trial, there are two versions of events: yours and the victim’s. The prosecutor’s job is to prove that the victim’s version of events is correct by providing evidence against you. This is how they attempt to show “beyond a reasonable doubt” that you are guilty. Understanding your version of events is key to reviewing the evidence that will be used in your case. This helps to establish holes in the arguments against you. From there, your attorney will examine:
- Police reports: Law enforcement is required to write a report for every arrest they are involved in. These objective reports are there to provide the facts of the incident. However, they may include subjective commentary that depicts law enforcement’s opinion, which may have influenced their decision to arrest. This helps the defense because it can potentially keep the entire report from being used against you.
- Law enforcement testimony: Like a police report, the arresting officer may provide direct testimony. Knowing the evidence in the case while cross-examining the officer can help poke holes in their recollection of events. They may have changed some details in their report. There could also be statements from other witnesses that challenge the officer’s version of events.
- Witness testimony: Witnesses can be used by either side of the case to help add credibility and corroborate certain details that may be in a police report. However, while the information they provide may seem credible, it is the credibility of the person that helps or hurts a case as well. If, for example, a witness was intoxicated at the time they observed the events, their testimony may be unreliable.
- Physical evidence: Knowing what, if any, physical evidence is going to be presented against you or that exists to present on your behalf can drastically impact any case. The human brain, while powerful, can distort memories that undermine people’s testimony. However, physical evidence cannot change its story over time.
- Photos and videos: It is said that a person’s picture is taken five or more times a day just by interacting in public. Obtaining photo or video evidence from security cameras, traffic lights, ATM machines or witnesses is crucial. They may provide an opportunity to argue about what the photos or videos do not show rather than what they do show.
There must be a preponderance of evidence against you to support a conviction. Even if it does not help you get acquitted, knowing all the information and what will be presented against you is extremely beneficial. It can help your defense attorney build a case that could reduce your charges or even potentially dismiss them. It is critical to remember that the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty. Your defense team does not have that burden of proof.
Defending Criminal Charges
Your case is unique, and your attorney will work to build a defense that is right for your situation. However, there are many common strategies defense attorneys use to sow doubt in the prosecution’s argument.
- Alibi: An alibi can help prove you were not present at the time the crime happened. This could be through a corroborating witness or photo and video evidence. The best defense is the one that proves you were not there.
- Self-defense: If the commission of the crime was the result of protecting yourself or others from physical harm, then you may be able to use self-defense. However, for this defense to work, it must show that the defense used was reasonably equal to the potential threat you faced.
- Mistaken identity: One of the easiest defenses is to prove that you were not present at the location or time the crime was allegedly committed. While each person on the planet is unique, it can be easy to confuse the physical details of a person. There could be faulty descriptions or simple similarities between you and the person actually responsible.
- Improper law enforcement procedures: Law enforcement is required to follow a specific set of procedures in their interactions with suspects, the collection of evidence, the analysis of evidence or their questioning of witnesses. Should any of these areas be compromised or done improperly, the results could be inadmissible. A witness statement could be denied, evidence could be rejected or confessions could be thrown out.
- Mental impairment: This does not mean you were unaware that what you were doing was a crime. However, it could simply be a situation in which you had a lapse in mental judgment. The mental impairment could be permanent or temporary. It could manifest in several different ways, including suffering from mental anguish, having a mental illness or being intoxicated.
- Coercion: There may have been a situation in which you were forced to commit a crime by another person. This could be from trickery or from the threat of violence against you. Another common form of coercion is blackmail. Even if you knew it was a crime, coercion can help show the lack of intent.
As mentioned, these are the most common types of defenses. However, the uniqueness of your case means that your attorney will use the facts to create a defense that works for you. This, however, requires honesty and full disclosure of details from you to ensure your attorney has all the information necessary. This solidifies the need to find an attorney you can trust. Any information you provide your attorney is trusted and protected through attorney-client privilege. This means that your conversations are protected and cannot be used against you.
You deserve the best attorney and the best defense, but your defense starts with you.
Having a good criminal defense attorney could keep you from receiving a longer prison sentence than necessary. California is unique in its laws against criminals and has implemented a three-strike policy. Under this policy, those who are convicted of violent or serious felony charges three times could be sentenced to prison for a minimum of 25 years. Serious and violent charges could include:
- The majority of sex offenses
- Any offense that involves the use of a weapon
While many see this law as controversial, the right attorney can keep it from putting you in prison.
Cost Of A Criminal Defense In Riverside, California
Any involvement with the court system can raise concerns about costs. That makes the use of public defenders so appealing to so many. However, like other purchases you make in your life, you will get what you pay for. Investing money in a private attorney could vastly improve the results of your criminal litigation.
The cost of a private defense attorney can vary. There are several factors that can affect the final amount you pay for quality legal representation. These include:
- The charges you face
- The circumstances surrounding those charges
- The amount of time your attorney needs to put into the discovery and litigation phases
There are no standard attorney’s fees for criminal defense. When deciding on the attorney you would like to work with; it is best to ask upfront about the potential fees you could incur.
You may not wish to pay a lot of money out of pocket for an attorney. However, if they can help keep you free from conviction or reduce your charges to a lesser offense, they could save you money. They could also keep you from facing further difficulties with your criminal record.
Riverside Criminal Defense Attorney
The difficulties you face with a criminal accusation can be devastating, whether it is your first offense or you have had previous convictions. The consequences extend beyond jail or prison sentences, affecting future housing, employment, educational opportunities and even your social life. The stigma attached to convicted criminals has far-reaching impacts. These can leave you unable to recover for what seems like a lifetime.
At Exum Law Offices, attorney Darryl Exum knows what you face and works hard to help you avoid these challenging obstacles. You are not just another file on a desk. He knows that the results of your case leave you with long-term consequences. Even if you are guilty of committing the crime, that does not mean you intended to or that you are a bad person. It is that mentality that pushes him to make sure he combs through every piece of evidence, reviews every witness statement and scrutinizes the law enforcement procedures that relate to your charges.
Most importantly, he listens to you. He is there for you when you need him, not just when it is convenient for him. He can even work to have a fair bail amount set. That way, while you are awaiting trial, you have the freedom you deserve.
With years of experience in criminal litigation, Darryl Exum at Exum Law Offices has the knowledge and experience to defend you, regardless of the charges you face. He makes you his priority and can be by your side from the first phone call you make to him through your trial and beyond. When you need a reliable defense, contact him today at 951-934-0227 and speak with an attorney you can trust. He can work tirelessly to get you a favorable outcome for your case.