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If you or a loved one has been accused of crime it is vital that you get experienced counsel to help you with your legal problems. As an Attorney with more than 16 years of experience and someone that has the know how to help people through there difficult circumstances.  Having done both trials in plea deals in more than 12 different counties and represented thousands of client I have the experience to help you.  Many cases require more expertise than what the local "dui guy" can give. so give us a call after you read this article if you have any questions.  

BEING CHARGED WITH CRIME.  

If you have been charged with a crime you may be confused and scared.  You may not be guilty of the crime you may not understand the legal process and it gets more scary as you go along.  In some cases the prosecutors will allege charges that may be difficult if not impossible to prove in order to help in plea negotiations.  If you have been charged with a crime you have probably heard the words plea deal in your case and may confused as to what that really means.  

WHAT IS A PLEA DEAL?

A plea bargain or a deal is an agreement between you and the prosecutors where you of what offense you will plea to and what the ramifications or sentencing you will get for that plea or "bargain" 

A sentence is always up to the sole discretion of the Judge and we will get further into that below. 

Plead deals are unique and very fact specific to the case at hand.  And can very as much as individual cases very. There are several kinds of Plea deals that occur every day in courtrooms across California. 

STIPULATED DEAL

A stipulated deal means that the prosecution and defense agree as to what the terms of the agreement are and the sentence.  If the Judge agrees with this agreement that is what you will be sentenced to.  For example you agree to plea guilty to one count of domestic battery and the agree with the prosecutor you will get Felony probation or wha tis commonly referred to as NISP or no iniital state prison time. 

WHAT IS A SO CALLED LID OFFER?

A lid means there is not an exact agreement reached but rather a range. For example you plead guitly and the District Attorney agrees that there will be a 16 month lid. What this means is that you will at most, get a 16 month prison sentence however, you could get probation the 16 months is the lid of the amount of time you can get. 

WHAT IS A COURT INDICATED? 

A court indicated is when you go to the Judge and ask the Judge what the court will give the person if they plead guilty without or sometimes with the District Attorney not agreeing.  This means it takes away some of the guess work as to what you would get. 

 

All of the above are good options but only depending on the factual circumstances of your case and wether or not you want to go to trial the final decision is yours.  And I have done many many Felony, Misdemeanor, and Juvenile trials we dont push people into anything although sometimes there is such a good offer from the prosecution that sometimes it is absolutely in your best interest to take the offer from the proseucution.  This is a case by case determination based upon how good the case against you is.

 

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If you had a convicted of a Juvenile crime you may be eligible to have the case dismissed or sealed per the new sealing and  destruction of case laws that have made sealing your Juvenile records easier.  

There is a fairly simple process to follow.  However, you should consult an Attorney and get a good legal opinion as to your rights.

THE PROCESS FOR SEALING OF JUNENILE RECORDS

To get an application in Fresno County go to the Probation Department or you can have it sent by mail, or downloaded. 

Our office would review you eligibility requirements for Juvenile sealing, complete the forms and return them to the Probation Department by mail, or have them personally served. 

We will look into your record and do an investigation as to your eligbility and other matters as to your Juvenile record.  This investigation will consider your basic eligibility, criminal background check, and evidence of rehabilitation.  Based on this investigation, the probation officer will write either a report recommending either that  your record be sealed, or stating that you are not eligible to have your record sealed and why. The probation officer will give us a letter stating whether they believe you are eligible and why. 

COURT HEARING

The court and the Juvenile Judge will review your information and the recommendation of either sealing or denying the sealing.  There will be a hearing set and a date given to you to show up in court.  At the Court hearing there will be a Judge, an Attorney and there will be a formal hearing, where the Judge will review the recommendation  of probation and make a decision as to whether the matter will be sealed.  Although not mandatory you should definitely be availiable for this hearing. 

OUTCOME

Once the Judge reviews your application they will either grant or deny your request to seal your juvenile records.  A judge may choose to deny your application for reasons including a lack of rehabilitation, adult chages, and crimes of moral turpitude.  

IF YOUR APPLICATION IS GRANTED

The court will send a record sealing order to all agencies involved in your case, which includes, but is not limited to, police agencies, probation agencies, and courts.  The order will direct the agencies you listed on your application to seal your record and to respond to anyone asking about your juvenile record to say "The applicant has no record" Once your record is sealed, you may legally say that you do not have a Juvenile record.  

Sealing a Juvenile record does not effect the ability of insurance companies to access your records through department of motor vehicles (DMV) in Sacramento, nor will it prevent the Federal Government inlcuding branches of military service from accessing your sealed records pursuant to Section 781 of the Welfare and Institutions code.  

All of the juveile records must be reported even though sealed when applying for a security clearance or employment with a private company that engages in business with the Federal Government.  

If you are denied you may re apply at a later time.  

The best thing to do is if you have questions give us a call and we can help you get started on the process which could be a long and difficult process.  

But we have helped many minors in the past and know that you can be helped and you may need some help with the process to ensure that if you are able to get this relief you get it done rather than have a problem at a later time.  If you have quesitons give us a call at 559441-1418. And we can make an appontment.

 

If you have been convicted of crimes in the past and want to move on with your life than you should give us a call so that we can help you with the process, we have helped many other people get there lives back on track after convictions.  As an Attorney with more than 16 years of experience  I can help you get through this. 

WHAT IS AN EXPUNGEMENT?

A succesful Expungement will withdraw "guilty" or "no contest" plea and dismiss the case.  Defendants convicted of a Misdemeanor, or Felons sentenced to probation, local county time "aowp" and other local committements may be eligible for an expungement.  Even people with AB 109 time may be eligible for expungements.  

Defendants may  file this petition once they have paid all fines are not currently on probation for another offense, and have no active cases before the court. 

BENEFITS OF A DISMISSAL?

The offense is no longer considered a conviction

If all of your convctions are dismissed you can mark "no convctions" on applications

All empolyers cannot legally consider as a basis for employement or non employment or advancement or lack of advancement.

May help with licensing with state agencies.  (Nursing, LVN, and teaching Credential) 

May help with housing or voucher programs

may help with Immigration consequences

May help with eligbility for financial aid

WHAT ARE NOT THE BENEFITS OF A DISMISSAL?

It can still be used for future prosecutions

May still limit professional and occupational licenses 

Does not affect your gun rights and 

There could be other limits to the expungement.  Many people will ask me if it is still worth it to do the expungement, and my answere most of the time is yes it almost always helps I think to get an update on your records and to help you get back on your feet, and get some of these problems behind you.  

When doing expungements we will usually order your records including DOJ and local records to research to determine exacly how the expungement will help you and then move forward by getting a court date.

The Judge makes the final determination on the case some expungements are discretionary and some are not.  

The best thing for you to do is get the expungements done and move forward with an update of your "rap sheet" and criminal history to help you as much as possible. 

If after reading this article you have more questions give us a call at 559-441-1418.   

 

If after reading this article you have any questions about the specifics as to how to clean up your record give us a call at 559-441-1418.  we can help you to get this part of your life behind you.  

STEPS TO CLEANING UP YOUR RECORD

 

1.  The first thing you need to do when cleaning up your record is to find out exactly what is in your criminal record.  

bolow are some ways to go about this

 

Go to the clerks office and get a copy of your criminal history. you may  have to go to the arhives department at the the Fresno County Archives. 

You can also go the Fresno County Police Department Records Division to find out if you have any local criminal history.  

You can also obtain a fingerprint background check by submitting a doj request for live scan services.  

You will be given instructions by the DOJ on how to fill out the form and exactly how to do a live scan fee waiver and instructions.

 

CLEARING YOUR RECORD

There are many different paths to post conviction relief if you have served your sentence and have no open and active cases then you  may be ready to clear your record under one of the various forms of post-conviction relief.  

expungement 

Felony reduction

DEJ for Immigrants

Proposition 47

Proposition 64

Certificate of Rehabilitation

You need to speak to an Attorney about the various forms of relief and what works best for you before proceeding.  Proceeding whithout first getting legal opinions from an experienced Attorney could have adverse affects on you so if you still have question give us a call at 559-441-1418.

 

If your child has been arrested you will have a lot of questions and it is imperative that you get the help of an experienced juvenile defense attorney.  I have obtained knowlege of the Juvenile Justice System from many different angles having been a Juvenile Corrections Officer, Probaiton Officer, and Deputy District Attorney as well as a Criminal Defense Attorney

with 16 years of experience in the Juvenile Justice system.  

below I will be giving an overview of the system in Fresno; however, this overview can be applicable to the system in other counties as well  

ARREST:

Juvenile accused of committing crimes will have contact whith law enforcement the officer will either cite and release the minor or take him or her to Juvenile Justice Center for booking.  If the minor is cited then he will either have to appear in Juvenile Court or will have to meet with a probation officer.  

The officer can arrest and then realease to a parent or guardian.  

nex the minor if tanken to the juvenie justice center will be taken into custody and booked

BOOKING/CUSTODY

The minor will be interviewed

a brief medical assesment

the minor will be assed to see if he is a danger to himself or others and if he has ganb membership or affiliation and the juvenile will be assigned to a housing pod based on the results of the interview and other determinations.

CUSTODY HOUSING PODS

After the juvenile is booked they are assigned to a housing pod.  This will be based upon where the minor wil be safe any gang involvement and other factors that affect the minors needs.  

the minors charges are also assessed to find out where the minor would be best served and how to best serve the minor. 

FIRST HEARING IS THE DETENTION HEARING

After a minor is arrested the Juvenile Court or the arresting agency has 24 hours to file a petition, what is referred to as a complaint in the adult system if ithe crime is a felony they have 48 hours.  this excludes holidays and weekends.  the charges are outlined in what is called a petititon not a complaint.  Sometimes the District Attorney will decide not to file charges against a minor and the minor will be released with no charges filed.  If the case does not proceed whithin the time frame then the minor must be released from custody.  Therefore if the cases does not go to adjudication within the 10 days then there must be a  release of the minor even if the case will be refiled by  the District Attorney at a later point.  

At the detention hearing the charges will be read the minor will be appraised of his or her rights and an Attorney will be present on behalf of the minor. 

ADJUDICATION HEARING (COURT TRIAL)

Again within 10 days of the detention hearing the court trial must begin for the minor unless there is some type of time waiver.  This will depend on the nature of the charges and the decisions of the Attorney.  Minors are not entitled to a Jury Trial  many of the other rigths are afforded to minor that are similiar to the rights of an Adult. 

DISPOSITION/ SENTENCING

A disposition hearing is what is referred to as a sentencing hearing in adult court.  

there will be a probation report prepared by the probaiton officer and there will be all parties present during this hearing.  The Judge will make his decision on what should happen to the minor based upon the imput of all the different parties.  

If after reading this article you still have question give our office a call at 559441-1418.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If your child has been arrested or detained at Juvenile Hall you will have a lot of questions about the process of Juvenile Court and exactly what will be happening, and about the process both you and your child will be going through.  As a former Juvenile Corrections Officer, Juvenile Probation Officer and Attorney with more than 15 years of experience in Juvenile Law I can help you.  If you have questions after reading this article give us a call at 559-441-1418. and we can get you and your child through this. 

 

ARREST AND DETENTION

The first thing that will happen that will bring your child into the system is that they will be arrested or detained.  What that means is that there has been an allegation of the kid breakin some law of city ordinance.  

The officer will either cite the child with a date to go to Juvenile Court or the child will be detained at the Juvenile Justice Center and brought to court within 48 hours for a Detention Hearing. One main difference between adult and Juvenile Court is that there will not be the right to bail at this stage of the proceedings. 

WHAT IS A DETENTION HEARING AND WHAT HAPPENES THERE?

In Juvenile Cour the charging document is calleda  petition.  Meaning that will outline the charges against the minor and what the allegations of the law violations are exactly.  The court must find that there is a prima facia case that a violation of the law has been allged in the police reports.  The minors counsel could stipulate to the prima facia case if  the reports appear to accurately allege a crime has been committed in the petition.  

There are several things that happen at a detention hearing.  One of the first things  that will happen is that an Attorney will be provided to the minor if you cannot afford one. 

Next a detention memo will be prepared by the court to determine if the minor should be detained at JJC, released on the monitor or returned to the parent pending the outcome of the hearings.  

From this point on certain rights come into play the right to an Attorney the right to a speedy trial, although unlike the adult courts there is no right to a public Jury trial in fact all proceedings are confidential to protect the minor. 

Also there are strict time limits within things can happen in the Juvenile Court such as 15 days after the detention the Adjudication must be heard.  If the minor is sleeping at home or out of custody then the minor will have the right to an Adjudication within 30 days. 

Also at the detention hearing the court will make the decision regarding wether the minor will be housed at JJC many factors go into this consideration such as school performance prior history and other factors such as risk to the community and seriousness of the charges.  

WHAT IS AN ADJUDICATION HEARING?

An adjudication hearing is the terminology used in Juvenile court for a hearing that is a juvenile trial.  At that hearing the minor does not have the right to a public or Jury trial.   A Judge will be the sole arbiter of the hearing and  will make the decision as to the truth or veracity of the charges called a petition agains the minor.

Your child will have all the other rights that would he would have if the minor was being charged in adult court.  Therefore, you need an attorney who is experienced in both Juvenile and adult court to properly represesent your child.  If you have question after reading this article give us a call at 559-441-1418.  

 

 

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Gerald Schwab, Jr.

CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY & DUI ATTORNEY SERVING ALL OF CALIFORNIA

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Fresno Criminal Defense Attorney
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Fresno, CA 93704
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