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What Are the Steps in A Criminal Case?

Criminal Arraignment

Shaheen Manshoory and his associates have handled over a thousand arraignments, and they bring that experience and knowledge to your case. The Arraignment is usually the first court appearance on a case and begins the trial process. At the arraignment, the defendant is advised of his or her Constitutional rights, the charges against them and enters a plea.

Choosing the right criminal defense attorney is vital before your arraignment. At the arraignment, important decisions are made that can have a serious, and perhaps negative impact on your case. Because the attorneys at Manshoory Law Group are highly experienced, they ensure that your case is handled correctly and successfully from the beginning.

Here are some examples of what our firm handles do at an arraignment:

  • Manshoory Law Group has extensive knowledge and a proven track record in making O.R. and Bail Reduction motions. At the Arraignment, we argue for an O.R. Release or conduct a Bail Reduction hearing, ensuring that you remain out of custody while we, together fight your case.
  • The arraignment is the first appearance where the Defense receives “Discovery”. Discovery is a collection of police reports, evidence, and/or pictures regarding the charges. Our firm forces the prosecution to turn over all “discovery” and requests additional discovery as we investigate the case further.

Pretrial or EDP Hearings

The next step in a criminal case after arraignment is the pretrial. In Felony cases, this is also called an EDP or Pre-Plea hearing. These Pretrial conferences are a chance for the defense to request additional evidence or reports. Pretrials are also the place where plea-bargaining takes place.

Our legal team thoroughly prepares for Pretrials and uses them to get the best results for our clients.

Before attending a Pretrial, our legal team will methodically analyze the police reports and the evidence against you, research all relevant laws and statutes, and conduct necessary investigation so when we arrive at the pretrial negotiations -our attorneys are eager and ready to attack the prosecution’s weak points, and put forth the strongest most aggressive defense.

Our firm prides itself on knowing the decision-makers in each court to obtain the best possible results. An attorney that has the knowledge and contacts at your court can make the difference between jail and freedom. At Manshoory Law Group, our attorneys have perfected their negotiation skills on hundreds of different cases and bring those skills to your case.

Steps in A Criminal Case

What Happens at a Preliminary Hearing in California?

Preliminary hearings only take place in felony cases. They serve as an intermediary stage for Felony cases in order for a judge to determine whether the Prosecution has enough evidence to take your case to trial. An important fact to know and remember is the amount of evidence and level of proof is minimal. You can think of it as a “maybe” standard or a 51 to 49 split.

During the Preliminary Hearing, your attorney should focus on extracting evidence and eliciting answers from the Prosecutor’s witness that are most favorable to you. This is done by Cross-examination, where your attorney attacks the credibility of the witness. The “art” of cross-examination takes an experienced and skillful attorney. At Manshoory Law Group, we pride ourselves on having this valuable skill set and have the track record to prove it.

Other procedures that may occur at Preliminary Hearing:

  • Motion to Dismiss
    At the end of the Preliminary Hearing, if the Prosecutor did not demonstrate enough “evidence” to go to trial, we immediately argue for a dismissal of your case.
  • Suppression Motions
    We will conduct a hearing on a Suppression Motion, also known as a 1538.5 Hearing, where, if the police illegally stopped you and or searched you, we demand that all evidence found not be admitted in court. This will often lead to a dismissal of all charges.
  • 17(b) Motions
    If the Prosecutor fails to show that your case should be classified as a Felony (which has much more serious consequences on your life) our attorneys argue to reduce the charges from a Felony to a Misdemeanor via 17(b) of the California Penal Code.
  • Affirmative Defense
    While most defense attorneys fail to raise any affirmative defenses, self -defense for example, at Preliminary Hearings, Manshoory Law Group believes in not wasting time in resolving your case.

Choosing a Trial Jury

A Jury Trial is where the prosecution and the defense present evidence to a jury of 12 persons from the community. The Jury then decides whether the prosecution proved their case beyond a reasonable doubt, the highest standard of proof in all of the law. So, it is important that your attorney knows how to select jury members that are the best fit for your case.

Most attorneys shy away from the “fight” of going to trial, but Attorney Shaheen Manshoory and his associates welcome the battle- for good reason, they fight. to win. The key to success at trial depends on how well your attorney masters the different stages of a trial.

How does Jury Selection Work in Los Angeles

Selecting a jury is part experience, part psychology, and part gut instinct. Voir Dire is the process by which attorneys question prospective witnesses. So, it is important that your attorney knows how to select a jury that is the best fit for your case.

Manshoory Law Group has conducted many effective Voir dire Examinations, empaneling juries that have returned NOT GUILTY verdicts. Although many will agree that selecting a jury is an inexact science, Attorney Shaheen Manshoory and his associates believe the biggest disservice you can do to your client is to overlook this very important step.

What is Cross-Examination in a Trial?

Trials are won and lost on Cross-examination. Cross-examinations are one of your most important Constitutional rights and are considered the ultimate way to get to the truth. On Cross-examination your attorney confronts the witnesses against you with a series of questions DESIGNED to establish that witness is UNTRUSTWORTHY. A successful Cross-examination leads the jury to disbelieve the witness and sways them to a verdict of NOT GUILTY.

Steps in A California Criminal Case

Presentation of a Defense

Although the prosecution has the burden of proof in a criminal case, the defendant has the constitutional right to present a defense to the charges.

A defense can consist of many different types of evidence:

  • Witness Testimony

Witnesses that testify favorably for the defense such as Percipient (eye-witness) who challenge the Prosecutor’s witnesses’ version of events and can establish valuable affirmative defenses such as establishing an alibi. We may call Character Witnesses that may testify that the charges against you are completely out of character for you. Or we may call character witnesses that attack the credibility of the prosecutor’s witnesses or even the alleged victim of the case.

Testimony of the defendant- Although, the defendant has the ABSOLUTE right not to testify on his or her behalf. This right is so absolute that if the Prosecutor even mentions that the Defendant didn’t testify- the CASE DISMISSED.

  • Demonstrative or Documentary Evidence

This type of evidence consists of maps, models, audio/visual recordings, documents, DNA samples, handwriting samples, or photographic evidence that can directly refute the prosecutor’s version of the facts and result in a verdict of NOT GUILTY.

  • Expert testimony

Sometimes the jury needs the help of an expert witness to help them understand complex evidence. Prosecutors often rely on County or State “experts” that are overworked and have been known to make grossly negligent errors in analyzing scientific evidence.

Manshoory Law Group knows that prosecutors bet on juries not being able to fully understand complex, scientific evidence. That is why we work with a variety of independent expert witnesses, who are leaders in their perspective fields to explain evidence that is not only easily understood but presents the evidence in the light most favorable to our client.

At Manshoory Law Group, we have the best defense team comprised of Investigators, Experts, and witnesses that gives you the advantage needed to win a jury trial.

What Is Alternative Sentencing?

A skilled Los Angeles criminal defense attorney will attempt to obtain the most favorable outcome for his client. When the Manshoory Law Group works on your case, we will try to seek alternatives to jail to minimize any significant disruption to your life.

Some of those alternatives include:

  • electronic home confinement
  • work release or work furlough
  • city jail
  • alcohol or drug rehab
  • sober living
  • cal trans or community labor
  • community service

Our firm will analyze your case and then explore each of these options based on the relevant facts of your case. Please note, these programs vary in nature from county to county.

Department will assign you to work at a site. You work during the day and can go home at night.

  1. Electronic Monitoring: Also known as House Arrest. This involves wearing an ankle bracelet that electronically monitors your whereabouts. The wearer can usually go to work or school but must be home at all other times.
  2. Alcohol or Drug Rehab: Sometimes a DUI or drug-related arrest is a symptom of an underlying addiction issue. For those cases, rehabilitation is a better option than jail.   An experienced lawyer will know how to obtain this type of relief and will emphasize to the prosecutor and/or judge that this is a much better solution than jail.
  3. Sober Living: These are houses, for both men and women, where all residents must maintain sobriety to stay in the house. Each house is different, with some residents required to attend a 12-step meeting daily, participate in group meetings, and perform chores. For residents that are repeat offenders, this may be a healthy alternative to improve the quality of their life.
  4. Cal Trans: Cal Trans requires one to assist in cleaning up local highways in the community in lieu of jail. A similar program is Community Labor, where you may be required to engage in physical labor that helps improve the community. A certain level of minimal physical fitness is required to do these activities.
  5. Community Service: Community Service involves doing an activity that benefits the local community. It is often less physically demanding than Cal Trans or Community Labor.