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Frequently Asked Questions About Criminal Defense

Knowing your rights is vital to having a level playing field between you and your accusers. When the police and the prosecutors come for you, they're counting on you not understanding the "rules," which means you're more likely to accidentally waive your rights or get yourself in serious trouble. As Oakland criminal defense lawyers, our job is making sure our clients know exactly what they're doing and why—protecting them and their future.

Get the answers to our clients' most common questions below!

  • I didn't do anything; should I just clear things up with the police?

    Absolutely not. We advise defendants not to speak to police until a defense lawyer arrives. People who speak to the police, especially innocent people, get themselves into trouble. If you misspeak or say anything remotely strange-sounding to the officer, you're more likely to become a suspect. If you're already a suspect, you're more likely to get arrested.

    No one made anything better by speaking to the police while unrepresented.

  • Don't I automatically get a public defender?
    Not necessarily. Those who are considered "indigent" or in extreme poverty will receive a public defender. If your income isn't low enough to qualify, you won't be provided with a defense lawyer—you'll have to call one yourself.
  • If the police never read my Miranda Rights, will my case get dismissed?
    The police are required to inform you of your rights before questioning you, and they are usually read to you during your arrest. However, not being read your rights does not automatically make your arrest invalid. It could make what you say inadmissible in some cases, but it's not a guarantee. If you weren't read your rights, however, be sure to tell your attorney—it may make certain legal remedies available to you.
  • When does the judge set bail?
    If you are in custody during your first court hearing (your "arraignment"), then the judge would set bail during that hearing. Bail is set according to a few factors: the facts of your case, your criminal record, and whether or not you're perceived as a "threat" to society.
  • I was arrested for DUI last week. Do I need to call an attorney?
    The better question is, "will calling an attorney make my life easier?" And the answer is almost always "yes!" If you want to increase the odds of keeping your license and minimizing your penalties, calling a DUI defense attorney is in your best interests. You only have 10 days from the day of your arrest to prevent your license from being suspended, so call a lawyer as soon as you can.