We provide aggressive criminal defense services for all major crimes. Regardless of whether you’re accused of DUI, a petty misdemeanor, or a complex federal case – we can help. We are here to protect and defend you. Regardless of what you’ve been accused of doing. Our Los Angeles criminal lawyers can provide legal representation for all types of crimes, regardless of what stage the case is at.
hen you work with one of our criminal attorneys – our main goal is to get you the best outcome. We focus on getting all charges either dismissed, or reduced. In the event we can’t – we try to find the best outcome. Once you’ve been charged with a crime, you need a professional Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer to help you.
If you, or a loved one, is under criminal investigation, or is being charged with a crime, then you need an experienced Los Angeles criminal attorney to help protect your freedom. The law firm of Farar & Lewis LLP has over 30 years of combined experience helping clients with legal problems. Todd Spodek, our of-counsel attorney, has experience handling crimes ranging from petty misdemeanors, to full federal investigations. As your criminal defense attorney, Todd will put his expertise to work for you.
Los Angeles has numerous criminal defense lawyers to choose from – the firm of Farar & Lewis LLP sets itself apart because we personally handle your case. You are not passed off to associates, or unqualified paralegals. By hiring our firm, you receive the personal attention of an attorney with a track record in handling your exact legal situation. You get treated like family.
Farar & Lewis LLP is a premier Los Angeles criminal defense law firm who passionately believes in helping those who have been wrongfully accused of a crime.We have one goal: get charges against our clients dismissed or significantly reduced. We help prevent criminal charges from impacting your future. We are here to help you – 24/7. We offer flexible payment plans which make it so you can afford us. We are flexible, and charge lower than other law firms. We work with you – so that our fees aren’t a burden on you, or your family members. As premier criminal defense lawyers, we empathize with what you’re going through, and have over 30 years of combined experience. We have experience handling all types of cases, ranging from petty misdemeanors to complex felonies. Moreover, if you’re accused of a crime, we offer a risk free consultation. Attorney Todd Spodek, a member of the firm, has been called a “high powered lawyer,” by elite magazines. He’s frequently interviewed by media outlets. He’s a second generation attorney whose respected by prosecutors and judges alike.
One of the major differences between us and other firms is the fact we’re very selective about the overall number of clients we work with each month. We take on a select list of clients only. Our goal is to take on fewer clients, and to provide the greatest service possible to them. That’s one of the main reasons clients refer us to their friends, family members, and associates – when they need a los angeles criminal attorney to help them.
What to do if you’ve been falsely accused?
All defendants who are accused of a crime are eligible for free legal representation if they cannot afford it. Often, a defendant will be assigned a pro bono attorney when they cannot afford their own private attorney. Here’s the issue – many court appointed criminal lawyers work for the state, or through a public defender’s office. This means the pro bono attorney is essentially an employee of the state. It means there could be a conflict of interest. Will the pro bono attorney risk his reputation with the court/judge – in order to defend you, or will he “go along,” with what the prosecutors say and do? This question alone is enough to justify hiring your own private criminal attorney.
A Driver Has Fifth Amendment Rights When Stopped For DUI
American citizens have Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination. This right prevents the government from forcing a person to give testimony or some type of communicative evidence that can as a way to incriminate them. A person may claim their right against self-incrimination in any situation where the government is attempting to obtain a statement about a particular crime. This can occur during the legal process or with the various interrogation methods utilized by law enforcement. It can also involve anything that could provide a link between a suspect and incriminating evidence. A person can invoke their Fifth Amendment rights when they are stopped and suspected of DUI.
When a person is pulled over and questioned by police they are not under arrest. This is considered post arrest. At this time, an individual’s Fifth Amendment right do not apply. It’s important people realize any information they provide the police at this time can be used to create a case against them. It is important people realize the Fifth Amendment does not eliminate a person’s obligation to participate in a chemical test for DUI when it is done post arrest. Any comments a driver makes concerning the consumption of alcohol to law enforcement during post arrest may be admissable against the driver when they go to trial.
The Supreme Court case of Miranda v. Arizona determined individuals should be read their rights after an arrest. This was designed as another effort to protect a person against self-incrimination. The ruling determined that any statements an individual makes when interrogated while in custody are presumed to have been compelled by law enforcement. They are not able to be admitted into trial to prove guilt. These statements are only able to be used if a person is informed about their rights prior to an interrogation. Should a suspect ask for an attorney prior to an interrogation by law enforcement or even during it; no more questions can be asked by law enforcement until an attorney is provided. Should a person speak with law enformcement and then state they will remian silent; the interrogation must stop.
Any statements a driver makes to law enforcement prior to being arrested are not protected by the Fifth Amendment. This includes the time a driver is taking a Standardized Field Sobriety test or during chemical tests. The U.S. Supreme Court held that any incriminating statements made by a driver during Breathalyzer testing was not part of a police interrogation. This means these statements are not able to be suppressed as evidence during in a court. The Court also held such statements made by drivers were a response to legitmate law enforcement procedures and not intended to obtain incriminating statements from the driver. It also ruled any type of voluntary statements made to law enforcement during field sobriety testing is not part of a custodial interrogation. This means it is not portected by the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
Should a driver who is suspected of DWI refuse to take a chemical test, this fact is admissable in court. Thee U.S. Supreme court ruled that admitting evidents concerning a driver not submitting to a test of their blood-alcohol levels doesn’t violate the driver’s right against self-incrimination. The cout’s ruling was based on its belief that a law enformcement officer’s request to submit to a test wasn’t an attemp by law enforcement to obtain incriminating statements from a driver suspected of DUI. In this situation, the driver’s refusal is not considered to have been coerced by law enforcement.
Law Enforcement Interview
When a driver is suspected of DUI, they will be interviewed by law enforcement. A driver’s Fifth Amendment right protects them from being compelled by law enforcement to provide evidence that could incriminate them in a crime. It is important law enforcement read a driver their miranda rights prior to the start of any interview for DUI when the driver is in custody of law enforcement. Any prolonged detention by law enforcement inside their vehicle after an initial stop can be classified as custodial interrogation. This would apply even it occurs before a formal arrest. Law enformcement officer are required to read a driver their miranda rights should a driver be in a situation considered custodial custody.
There is certain physical evidence that can be collected during a DUI arrest that is not able to be protected by the Fifth Amendment. This could included fingerprints of the driver and more. There is the doctrine of implied conscent that makes it possible to obtain a breathalyhzer test from a driver suspected of DUI. Collecting a blood test may require a warrant in certain situations. It is also possible for specific physical evidence to legally be collected by force it it is necessary.
Unless someone is experienced in the law, they may not be aware of all the protections they are provided under the Fifth Amendment. This is especially true during a DUI stop or subsequent arrest. An experienced attorney will know how to use the Fifth Amendment to protect a person’s right and provided the best possible outcome for their DUI sitaution.
Do I need a lawyer if I intend to plead guilty?
All criminal charges are very serious legal issues that will require by law that most defendants will need legal counsel because criminal cases typically carry the potential of incarceration for some amount of time. This is true of misdemeanors as well as felony charges in many instances. All misdemeanor charges do not carry jail term potential, but fines can still be very significant. All individuals charged with felonies are required to have legal counsel as well because all levels of felony charges carry a minimum of one year incarceration in a state approved detention facility. There are some defendants who may intend to plead guilty for misdemeanors if they are sure of the punishment and already have a record. For those who have never run afoul of the law, having a criminal defense attorney can mean avoiding this stigma that can affect many ongoing aspects of the defendant’s life.
What a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Can Do
Many cases are the result of charges being applied using weak or inadmissible evidence, All evidence used in prosecution must be material facts that support charge validity beyond a reasonable doubt. The problems begin when officers are over-zealous in pursuit of a charge and use flimsy or illegally confiscated evidence to file the charge. Many times this also includes being arrested at the time the evidence is obtained, which also creates another problem for the defendant. All of this action is subject to cross-examination from an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can conduct an independent evaluation regarding how the charge came about, many times resulting in a reduced charge and potential own recognizance release from jail. Even when the state has a solid case, having an attorney negotiating a plea deal can result in lessening the damage from the conviction.
Public Defenders vs Personal Attorneys
Individuals who intend to plead guilty to a charge should also evaluate the need for retaining a personal attorney. Just because a charge is obviously valid does not mean that a personal attorney cannot still produce a more favorable agreement. Personal attorneys also tend to be more diligent than designated public defenders when arguing a case with the prosecutors. Some states have public advocates in their employ, meaning that the same state pressing the charge is also paying the defendant’s legal counsel. This could easily be a conflict of interest when an attorney is not willing to represent a defendant effectively.
Anyone wanting the best plea arrangement possible should always retain an experienced and thorough criminal defense attorney who will ensure that all actions by the state are valid in a court of law. In addition, many times a prosecutor will make a sentencing offer that is accepted by the defendant just to have the agreement rejected by the judge. While a public defender may not write a plea agreement contract, a personal lawyer will always use a documented agreement to ensure sentencing is consistent with the plea offer. All defendants should remember that retaining an attorney for a legal issue is not just an investment in their freedom, but an investment in their future as well.
I was offered a plea bargain. Should I take it?
When you go to court, you will likely be offered a plea bargain. This is an agreement between you and the prosecution. It often means that you enter a certain plea for a lesser punishment. At times, it’s a good idea to take a plea bargain because it could mean spending less time in jail or not spending any time at all in jail. On the other hand, if you have a strong defense and know that you shouldn’t take the plea, then it’s often best to go ahead with the trial with the assistance of your attorney. In most plea bargain situations, you will enter a plea of guilty or no contest. Plea bargains take place more often than not because the court system is so overcrowded. If you are offered a deal that will keep you out of jail or substantially decrease the time and you know that you don’t have a defense, then you should go ahead and enter the plea.
Since many courts are crowded with minor cases that could take weeks to get to, you could wait weeks or months for your case to go to trial. A plea bargain is beneficial because it keeps you and other members of the court from waiting. You will know what kind of sentence you’ll receive and how long you’ll have to spend in jail or prison or on probation. Sometimes, the prosecution will offer no punishment and strike some of the charges from your record if you enter a no contest or guilty plea for one or two of the charges. This would mean that they appear on your criminal record, but there is a possibility that the severe charges won’t show if they are removed by the prosecution in the plea deal.
Talk to your attorney before you accept any kind of plea bargain. Sometimes, the prosecution might offer a plea because you don’t have an attorney or thinks that you don’t know the specifics of being in a courtroom. Your attorney will be able to process the evidence and examine whether you have a good chance of getting a lower sentence if you go to trial instead of taking the plea. There are times a prosecutor will offer a plea because the case is weak and there is a lack of evidence for the prosecution, which means that the side will lose. Instead of losing, the prosecution will then offer a plea to get the case pushed through as quickly as possible.
When should I contact a criminal lawyer?
Sometimes, individuals are involved in a police investigation or are charged with a criminal offense. People are often confused as to when they should contact a criminal lawyer. Some individuals think that if they are innocent that everything will work out fine. The power that police officers have during any sort of possible criminal investigation can allow them to put pressure on the person being investigated. The police only are required to remind their suspects that they can remain silent. Often, the detectives hint that the suspect’s cooperation will help them. The reality is that a suspect might say something inadvertently that could be used against them.
Individuals are urged to contact a criminal defense lawyer as soon as they get wind that they are suspected of a criminal offense. This may not be known until the individual is actually charged and arrested. Other times, individuals will know that they are under some sort of suspicion ahead of time. It is crucial to have a good criminal defense attorney on your side during any sort of police interrogation. This is true even if the police say that the individual is not a suspect. Police detectives often apply psychological pressure during these sorts of interrogations. Call a lawyer as soon as you’re asked to come in for questioning by the police.
Having a reputable lawyer at your side can lesson the chances of being subjected to harsh questioning techniques commonly used by police detectives. Younger individuals often say what the officers want to hear simply because they are tired or frustrated with answering questions. This false confession scenario happens all too often. A criminal defense lawyer will put a protective shield between the suspect and the detectives. The lawyer will know when the suspect should answer the question, and when the suspect needs to stay silent.
Every citizen has the right to invoke their 5th amendment rights. This amendment allows individuals to remain silent if they feel that something that they say could incriminate them. Retaining an experienced criminal lawyer often keeps people from the hassle of arrest and jail. The lawyer will be there to plead for all of your given rights under the law. If police show up to your place of business or residence with a search warrant, call a criminal defense lawyer immediately. If unable to get in touch with a lawyer immediately, be sure to get a search warrant copy that the lawyer can review later. If police search somewhere that is not on the warrant, any evidence that they seize can be excluded during trial.
Even if individuals are only being questioned or investigated for a minor crime, they should still get in touch with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney. These kinds of charges can haunt a person for life. A criminal conviction can make it hard to find high paying professional jobs, obtain future loans, ruin chances of getting into a college and more. Contact a criminal lawyer sooner rather than later for help.
Do I have to speak to the police after an arrest?
After an arrest, you might not want to speak to any member of the police department. You’ll be read your Miranda rights after you’re arrested. These include the right to talk to an attorney, the right to remain silent and the right to a speedy and fair trial. You can choose to remain silent after being arrested because anything that you say can and will be used against you in court. Once you have hired an attorney, you can discuss the charges then so that you have someone professional on your side who understands the law and who can help you regarding any plea deals or sentencing that you might face.
There are times that it’s best to talk to the officer after being arrested. Some officers will offer an opportunity to explain what happened, which is a time when you can develop a rapport with the officer. If you are truthful, then this can carry over positively into the courtroom and bode well for your trial if the case isn’t settled outside of court. Even though some officers seem like they are friendly and that they are trying to help as much as possible, most of them are not on your side and will often use the information that you say in the courtroom to seek a longer sentence or to negate any kind of plea deal that could be available.
Even though it’s not professional, some officers will lie to you in order to get a confession or to get you to reveal details. If there is someone else involved in the arrest, then the officer will usually use every kind of tactic possible to get you to talk about the other person so that another arrest can be made. Officers are only there to make an arrest and to ensure that you go to court and receive a sentence that fits the crime. It’s best to wait until you’re able to talk to an attorney who is on your side and who can lead you in the direction that you need to go whether it’s a plea deal or following through with a trial. When you’re arrested, all you have to tell the officer is that you don’t want to say anything and that you want to talk to a lawyer. They can’t force you to talk about the arrest or anything else, and even when you go to court, you don’t have to say anything unless your attorney, the prosecution or the judge makes the request.
I was coerced into giving a confession. What now?
After being arrested, you are supposed to be read your Miranda rights. These are rights that you have that state that you can hire an attorney and that anything you say can and will be used against you in court. You also have the right to remain silent. This means that you do not have to tell the arresting officer anything until you talk to an attorney. However, there are officers who will use tactics to coerce a confession out of you. If you decide to waive your Miranda rights, there are still proper techniques and tactics that the officer needs to use and that are followed in order to obtain a confession. If you offer a confession that is not of your own accord, then it can be deemed coercion.
While there are a few instances when officers use extreme measures to get a confession from someone, such as pointing a weapon in the person’s face, most coerced confessions are achieved because the officer uses wording that is threatening. Some officers and other law enforcement personnel will threaten to arrest friends and family members if you don’t confess. Even if you know that you’re not guilty, you might admit guilt to prevent someone you love from being arrested or someone who was not involved in the event in any way from being arrested. This is a time when you have to think about what’s fair and what is right. If you confess, then this is listed on your record. An attorney can examine the evidence and what happened during the confession to determine if it was coerced and how to get the confession taken off the record.
At times, officers will tell you that they will work out a deal with the prosecution if you cooperate and confess. This usually doesn’t work in your favor and should be avoided because the prosecution likely doesn’t even know about the charges yet or the arrest. Unfortunately, there are times when you might need medical attention or when you need to use the restroom and aren’t allowed these privileges until you confess. Food and water can be denied by some officers until you confess. These are only some of the ways that you can be coerced. If you feel that you have been mistreated and coerced into a confession, then you need to speak with the proper court officials and offer the name of the officer so that the proper confession can be recorded.
Should I hire an attorney for minor charges?
Being arrested for anything can be a traumatic experience, but all too often, people tend to think that minor charges aren’t worth fighting. The truth is, however, that even minor charges can lead to big consequences, including jail time. On top of that, being convicted of a minor charge can possibly affect your professional future, relationships, and family.
Always Rely on the Advice of an Attorney
As a result, it’s always a good idea to consult with a qualified attorney if charged with a crime, however minor it may seem. An attorney will be able to examine your case, provide you with options, and if you choose, provide you with legal representation. Another important reason to seek legal representation for minor offenses is that your charges may become larger if you say the wrong thing.
For example, if you’re charged with a minor offense and you make an error in admitting to something else during a police interview, even if you didn’t do it, your charges may turn into felony charges. This may mean serious prison time, hefty fines, and a host of permanent consequences in the future. As such, even if charged with a minor crime, it’s a good idea to speak with an attorney prior to talking with law enforcement, which is your right as provided by the Constitution of the United States.
What to Expect After an Arrest
After an arrest for a minor crime, you can typically expect to be handcuffed and read your Miranda rights. This is where you will be told that you are free to contact an attorney to represent you or have an attorney provided for you. At this time, you also have the right to remain silent, which is generally a good idea until you have the chance to consult with a legal professional.
You will then be taken to the local jail to be processed and booked. During this time, you may be photographed and fingerprinted. It would be a good idea to keep a mental log of all interactions that take place during this process. Afterwards, your clothing and possessions will often be taken and locked up, you will be issued clothing, and you will be placed in a cell until your lawyer arrives.
At that time, you will be provided with the opportunity to speak with your lawyer confidentially about your situation. From there, you will likely have a court date set, and depending upon the advice of your attorney, you will either have a jury trial, your attorney will offer a plea deal, or your attorney will provide the judge with a motion for a directed verdict.
Get Professional Legal Advice From an Attorney
Because of the complexity of the criminal justice system, working with an attorney is usually a critical step in ensuring that justice is served and your name is cleared. Even if you are guilty of a minor crime, an attorney can help to protect you from wrongful incrimination or worse. The bottom line? If in doubt, work with an attorney to resolve any legal matters, regardless of whether you think they are minor or not.
How Los Angeles DUI Lawyers Can Help Your Case
Questioning the Arresting Officer
Your Los Angeles DUI lawyer is going to either get a chance to question the arresting officer during a hearing for your license or at the trial, but either way, these questions can help to discredit the officer and weaken their case. Your attorney is going to have a copy of the arrest video, and will be able to clearly see what field tests were administered the night of your arrest. With so many tests to choose from, your Los Angeles DUI lawyer wants to see why the officer chose the tests they did.
If the field tests are determined to be challenging even for someone who is sober, your attorney can begin to chip away at the intent of the officer and if they were fair in the assessment of your condition.
Checking the Testing Device History
There are a number of reasons the testing equipment used at the scene could have given a false reading. There are currently well over one hundred different interfering substances that can cause a breathalyzer to give a false reading, not to mention medical conditions or equipment malfunctions. Your Los Angeles DUI lawyer is going to dig deep into the performance records of the testing equipment too, to see if it has a history of providing inaccurate readings.
The best DUI lawyer can cast doubt on the test results by showing a device that can not be counted on to provide consistent readings. If the reading was wrong with another driver, then it could be wrong when it was used to obtain your numbers that evening as well.
The Experience in Equipment Calibration
The testing equipment that was used to determine your level of sobriety may have been working fine for other officers, but could it have provided a false reading for this officer in particular? One of the things that your attorney is going to do is to dig deep to see if this officer has a history of not being able to correctly use the equipment. Maybe this officer didn’t calibrate the device correctly before it was used, so the reading could be inaccurate. Your lawyer is trying to get the records to show this officer may have a history of making mistakes with a certain piece of equipment, and this client should not have to suffer those consequences.
If the attorney does uncover evidence this officer doesn’t have enough experience with the device they used to obtain the test results, it could cast a doubt over the case. At that point, your attorney will try to get the case dismissed or charges dropped to reckless instead.
Violation of Your Rights
Regardless what the reasoning for pulling the vehicle over, the arresting officer must follow a strict code of conduct throughout the arresting process. One reason that the police officer has a dash cameras is so that they can be reviewed from time to time on how they treated suspects. Your Los Angeles DUI lawyer is going to eventually subpoena that videotape, both at the scene at in the police station, and carefully analyze the entire process.
It only takes one small instance of the arresting officer not reading the suspect their rights or violating them, that the lawyer can push for a dismissal. Most drivers have no idea what rights are afforded to them during an arrest, your attorney knows all the laws and understands when your rights have been violated when you were being tested or taken to jail.
Regardless whether you think you really are innocent or guilty, your best course of action will be to team up with a skilled Los Angeles DUI lawyer who can utilize their expertise to show the court the findings are not completely accurate.