Sacramento Criminal Defense Lawyer
What is a Criminal Crime?
A criminal charge is an accusation by the government (e.g. a police officer) that a person has committed a crime. Being charged with any crime can be stressful as they may result in jail or prison time, fines, or a permanent criminal record. A few of the more common criminal crimes in California include:
- Drug Crimes
- Alcohol Crimes
- Driving Crimes
- Federal Crimes
- Gun Offenses
- Child Pornography
- Juvenile Crimes
- Sex Offenses
- Violent Sex Crimes
- Theft Related Crimes
- White Collar Crimes
If you are being charged for any of these crimes, it’s important to talk to a Sacramento criminal defense lawyer immediately. Call Chastaine Law for a free initial consultation on your case.
The Difference Between Misdemeanors and Felonies
Each crime has a classification or either a misdemeanor or, for more serious offenses, a felony. Misdemeanors typically do not carry a punishment of more than a year imprisonment and may include:
- DUI (depending on the number of times you have been arrested for a DUI)
- Minor drug crimes
If you have been convicted of a felony, the penalties you may face can include fines, jail or prison time, or the death penalty in some states. Felonies include:
- Aggravated assault
- DUI – if someone is injured or dies as a result of the accident, your DUI may be classified as a felony. If you receive your DUI while your license is suspended, if it is your third offense within 7 years, or if there was a child under age 15 in your car at the time, you could also face felony charges for a DUI.
If you have been accused of a DUI, contact Sacramento criminal defense lawyer, Mike Chastaine. We have decades of experience fighting for your rights and will ensure that your best representation is with us.
What to Do If You are Under Arrest
Always be respectful to the police. They are public employees, and it is not illegal to ask them questions as long as you are not impeding their ability to do their jobs. Most officers are willing to provide basic information when questioned politely.
Confirm the arrest
First ask the officers if you are free to go. If you are not free to leave, ask if you have been arrested or are simply being detained. If you are being arrested, ask why.
Ask to speak with your lawyer
If you are being arrested, ask politely to speak with your Sacramento criminal defense lawyer. An attorney at Chastaine Law can help guide you through the necessary steps to get you the help you need.
How do criminal court proceedings work?
Do juvenile crimes differ from adult crimes?
Yes. A juvenile and an adult may commit exactly the same act (let’s say, stealing a car), but the justice system will treat these two individuals very differently. The juvenile justice system and the adult justice system have fundamentally different goals. The goal of the juvenile justice system is to reform and rehabilitate the juvenile offender, to help him become a productive member of society as an adult. The goal of the adult justice system, in contrast, is to punish the defendant and protect society at large. These differing goals are evident in every phase of a criminal
proceeding. For example:
- The adult who steals a car will be charged with a “crime.” The juvenile will be charged with a
- The adult may be incarcerated until the time of his trial, if he cannot post bail. The juvenile may
be released to the custody of his parents.
- The adult will have a public trial; his guilt or innocence will be determined by a jury of his peers.
The juvenile will have an “adjudication hearing” before a judge; the judge will hear evidence and
determine whether the juvenile is “delinquent.”
- In keeping with the goals of the adult justice system, the adult will be sent to prison, to punish
him, if he is found guilty. If the juvenile is determined to be “delinquent,” he may be
incarcerated in a juvenile detention center, but not before the judge has explored other options
that might better serve the juvenile’s interests. This might include counseling, substance abuse
treatment, restitution, community service or other alternative sentences designed to reform
and rehabilitate the minor.
Differences Between Juvenile Justice System and Adult Justice System
|Adult Justice System||Juvenile Justice System|
|Goals||To punish the defendant; to protect society at large.||To reform and rehabilitate the juvenile offender; to serve the minor’s best interests.|
|Charges filed||Charged with a “crime”||Charged with a “delinquent act”|
|Right to bail?||Yes.||No. May be released to custody of parents.|
|Right to counsel?||Yes.||Yes.|
|Right to know charges against him?||Yes.||Yes.|
|Privilege against self-incrimination?||Yes.||Yes.|
|Right to public trial?||Yes.||No.|
|Right to trial by jury?||Yes.||No.|
|Charges resolved||Jury determines “guilty” or “not guilty.”||Evidence is presented to a judge, during an “adjudication hearing.” Judge determines whether juvenile is “delinquent.”|
|State must prove charges “beyond a reasonable doubt.”||Yes.||Yes.|
|Sentencing||As established by law, in accordance with the crime committed and sentencing guidelines.||Greater discretion to fashion a sentence that serves the juvenile’s best interests, e.g., counseling, substance abuse treatment, community service, restitution. Incarceration is not always the first or best option.|
Common Defenses in a Criminal Case
Although each criminal case varies, common reasons a case may be reduced or dismissed may include:
- Illegal or wrongful conduct of law enforcement – Some of the most frequently violated constitutional rights include:
- Your 4th amendment which keeps you from unreasonable seizes and searches,
- Your 5th amaendment which is the right to due process. This includes hearing your Miranda rights, your right to remain silent, etc.
- Wrongful conduct of prosecution – This may include false confession, falsified evidence, racial profiling, sexual abuse, intimidation, etc.
- The prosecutor’s failure to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime
- Legal excuse from being punished for the crime – This may include self defense or defense of others
While this is not an exhaustive list, your Sacramento criminal defense lawyer can help you develop a plan of action that best suites your personal situation. Contact Chastaine Law today for a free case evaluation.
How A Sacramento Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help You
A Sacramento criminal defense lawyer will be able to handle all manner of criminal cases. From serious and violent felonies to misdemeanors, no case is too big or too small for The Chastaine Law Office. Every case we handle is important to us because we know it is important to you.
Mr. Chastaine has over 31 years of experience as a criminal attorney. He has handled everything from capital murder cases to misdemeanors like DUI and petty theft. He practices in numerous counties and works with both state and federal cases. Our team will work collectively to find any viable defense to your case. Mr. Chastaine and his associates employ all their effort and skills to gather evidence through subpoenas and the use of investigators and then use that evidence to build a defense.
The attorneys at The Chastaine Law Office are also experts at sentencing and can negotiate with prosecutors to lower your jail or prison time. Not every case can be beaten up front. Sometimes the evidence is stacked against you and the best you can do is mitigate the damage. The criminal attorneys at The Chastaine Law Office are professional negotiators that can ensure you get the best sentence a prosecutor or judge is willing to offer. “
When the vast resources of the government are brought to bear against you, you need a strong, aggressive, and experienced criminal defense lawyer to level the playing field. If you have been arrested for a crime you need to contact The Chastaine Law Office before you do anything else!