San Fernando Valley Criminal & DUI Defense Lawyers

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Are You Really Innocent Until Proven Guilty?

Innocent Unless and Until Proven Guilty Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

Being arrested can be a terrible experience. You can deprived of your liberty, you could be embarrassed, it cost money to post bail to get out of jail and in the case of certain famous athletes, you could lose your job. The NHL or the NFL can do what they like with their players or do what they wish to their players. Each organization has rules in place to deal with situations that occur. Should a player get arrested, the organization has a policy about how to deal with the player. Just as many employers have work policies having to do with background checks or arrests and convictions. If John Doe gets arrested, John may get fired. He learned this when he read his company policy manual when he was hired. But wait, are we not entitled to some type of hearing or something before we get hired? Maybe, but that depends upon who you work, how they deal with such situations and the nature of your employment.

But an arrest is very different from a conviction. An arrest as defined by Wikipedia:

” Is the act of depriving a person of their liberty usually in relation to the purported investigation or prevention of crime and presenting (the arrestee) to a procedure as part of the criminal justice system.”

But the fact that someone has been arrested does not mean that the arrestee has done anything wrong. In fact, many people are arrested who are ultimately not charged with a crime or who are never convicted of a crime, or who are convicted of a lesser crime. Specifically, in the case of domestic violence in California, people are arrested every day based upon allegations of abuse by other parties and based upon a belief that abuse occurred without any eye witness corroboration and based upon speculation or conjecture by non-witnesses.

Let’s take for example, the Slava Voynov arrested earlier this month. Mr. Voynov took his wife to the hospital. Upon arrival hospital staff observed what appeared to be physical abuse to Voynov’s wife. The staff then notified law enforcement which came and promptly arrested Mr. Voynov. Based upon this arrest, Voynov was jailed, had to post bail to get out of jail and will be required to appear in court in December. After his arrest, the entire world found out he was arrested, the NHL promptly suspended him indefinitely with no hearing and without so much as criminal charges being filed or a conviction in court.

Please understand how our criminal justice system works. We all enjoy the presumption of innocence and the fact that we are all innocent unless and until proven guilty in court. This means that we either have to be found guilt, beyond a reasonable doubt by a judge or jury after a trial or we have to plead guilty in open court after being advised of the charges against us and given an opportunity to defend those charges at trial.

I have been a criminal defense lawyer for nearly two decades. I do not condone domestic violence or any other violation of the law. I support and respect our judicial system. It is by no means perfect, but it is likely the best judicial system in the world.

Please remember that no matter what the media says, no matter what we see on a You Tube video, no matter what your gut tells you, you are all innocent until proven guilty. Know your rights, talk to a lawyer if you or a loved one is arrested. Enjoy your freedom and never forget that it is precious and often not appreciated until it is lost.

Jeffrey S. Vallens Attorney at Law

If you have questions about your rights, call me:

(818) 783-5700