Winning in criminal defense takes a variety of different forms. First, a dismissal of all of the charges is the best example of a “win”. I have had a great deal of success in getting cases dismissed lately. In the last week I got a sex offense dismissed in Van Nuys, a battery dismissed in Pasadena and a felony domestic battery dismissed in Ventura. But, the vast majority of criminal cases which get filed don’t get dismissed outright.
What other resolutions constitute a win? A true win depends upon the specific needs of the specific client. Some clients seek to avoid deportation. Some clients seek to avoid jail. Others yet want to keep their job or a state license or avoid sex offense registration. In the case of a serious felony, keeping a client out of prison could be considered a win. In a third strike case, or a murder case, simply avoiding a life sentence could be a huge victory.
I recently resolved two DUI cases for the same client while he was on probation for another misdemeanor. He was arrested twice within 2 weeks of each other. I wanted to go to trial on one of the cases, believing I would get him acquitted at trial. The problem was that even if he were found not guilty he would have surely been found in violation of his probation for driving without a valid license. As this was his 6th offense for driving on a suspended license, he would most certainly face more jail time than on his second DUI. The case was resolved as a reckless driving charge and he was able to avoid jail time. This was a victory for my client even though I had hoped for an even better result.
Since the recent presidential election, I have been getting more calls than ever about criminal immigration issues and avoiding deportation both in pending cases and finished cases. We try harder than ever to fashion very creative settlements to avoid convictions for moral turpitude crimes, deportable offenses and especially trying to avoid any conviction for an excludable offense. We must take note of jail terms, specific charges, the record during a plea or sentencing hearing and even the amount of restitution to be paid as a result of a conviction.
I recently resolved a very serious case in Van Nuys. My client was charged with a sex offense against a child. This is not only deportable, but an excludable offense, meaning, if convicted my client would be deported and NEVER allowed to return to the United States to see his wife, children and extended family. His family was extremely upset when he was convicted of residential burglary and sentenced to 360 days in county jail. They came to my office after the sentencing to complain about my work. Shortly after his release from county jail, my client was transferred to an INS holding facility and had a court hearing. Almost immediately thereafter, he was released on bond. I am told by his immigration attorney that he will likely remain in the country because of my work. Neither he nor his family ever came back to say thanks when he got home.
Monday I have an appointment with an immigration lawyer to try and seek post conviction relief for a man who was convicted of multiple offenses in San Fernando. Even though his felony was reduced and expunged, he is still facing deportation. Fortunately, new California law actual may actually help this fellow by giving me the vehicle through which to actually vacate his conviction and keep him in the country.
The bottom line is that victories in criminal and DUI cases take many forms for different people. Often, my expectations of the outcome of a case are higher than those of my client’s. I often say that if we don’t fight, we can’t win. But, we must always remain cognizant of our client’s actual needs. Good communication between the lawyer and the client can often help to ensure victories when we need them.
If you have been charged with a crime or DUI, call an attorney who can help. If you are facing deportation from a past criminal conviction:
Call me, attorney Jeffrey Vallens (818) 783-5700 or (888) 764-4340 or
Email me at: email@example.com or visit my sites for more information: