If you have been arrested and released either on bail or on your own recognizance and you have not yet been to court, chances are that you will face criminal charges in your near future. You are therefore in need of immediate legal advice from a qualified and experienced arrest and release attorney. If you have already been to court and are facing charges, please review the information in this web site under this link, or call our office for immediate advice.
The time period between an arrest and any court appearance is critically important in establishing a possible defense or to possibly avoid charges. Please read about what we can do.
What Happens after the Arrest?
Generally, an arrest involves a conclusion by law enforcement that an individual has committed a crime. The determination of whether charges will actually be filed, however, is a function of the prosecution, or in some instances, a Grand Jury. In other words, an arrest does not mean that charges will be filed, only that the law enforcement agency involved in the arrest believes they had probable cause that a crime occurred.
The law enforcement agency involved in the arrest must forward their investigation file to the prosecutor for a review of whether criminal charges should be filed. The vast majority of criminal cases involve the filing of a complaint by the prosecutor, detailing the alleged crimes, rather than an indictment by the Grand Jury, detailing the alleged crimes. In either event, once charges are filed, the accused must face the criminal court process.
Law enforcement investigation files are reviewed by prosecutors whose job is to review law enforcement requests for criminal charges. After the review process, they never see the case. Other prosecutors are “vertically assigned” to a case as soon as it is received by their office. These cases ordinarily involve allegations involving sex crimes or child molestation, white collar crime, drug trafficking, and murder. Prosecutors on these cases remain assigned to the case from the beginning to the end of the case. If there is insufficient evidence to file, the prosecutor may reject the case, or request that further investigation be completed. If the prosecutor believes that a crime occurred, then a complaint is filed with the court listing the exact charges. We obviously can help you if charges have been filed, but we may also be able to help you avoid charges.
What Can We Do?
The time between an arrest and determination of whether charges should be filed is a critical time for a potential defendant. An investigation may be undertaken to document evidence and preserve witness statements that we believe may help your case. We have investigators and forensic experts available to document and preserve important evidence.
We may also identify the prosecutor reviewing a particular case and contact the prosecutor regarding his or her filing decision. We can offer information that may have a bearing on the decision to file charges. Be aware that while there is no way to “block the charges,” in some cases a prosecutor may not file criminal charges based upon the information that we provide. In other cases a prosecutor may reconsider their decision to file charges, and then later dismiss the case in court. In other cases, we can negotiate with the prosecution over the charges before going to court.
Finally, the prosecutor has to make their decision whether to file charges within the Statute of Limitations period for the particular crime. A determination of the limitations period can be complex, and there are different periods for different type of crimes. In general, the felony period is 3 years and the misdemeanor period is only one year. You must consult a arrest and release attorney before making any decisions based upon a belief that the limitations period may have expired.
For example, we are in constant contact with the prosecutors here in San Diego and elsewhere for those clients awaiting word on whether their criminal matter may be filed, even years after the alleged incident. Your criminal case can be monitored by us as well.
Licensed professionals are subject to disciplinary charges by their respective licensing agencies even if a criminal matter is ultimately not filed by the prosecutor. We can help establish your professional license defense even as we defend you from criminal charges.