Criminal Defense

Maybe you were just out joyriding with friends. Or you got caught up in a situation that went out of control. Or maybe you felt pushed into doing something that you knew wasn’t right, but you couldn’t see another way out.

Whatever your situation, if you or a loved one has been charged with a crime in Napa Valley, it is of vital importance that you find a knowledgeable attorney to work on the case as soon as possible. Statistics show that the sooner a lawyer is able to start working on a case, the higher the likelihood of a positive outcome.

Napa Valley takes criminal charges seriously, so make sure that you do too.

Kinds of Criminal Charges in Napa Valley

There are a lot of different criminal charges that can be filed in Napa Valley, but in general they come down to infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies. Infractions are the least serious and include things like moving violations. Misdemeanors are more serious than infractions, but of the two “real” criminal charges are often considered “less serious” crimes because they are for offenses that aren’t as dangerous or don’t involve as much money. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take them seriously. A misdemeanor offense goes on your permanent record, and can cost you lots of money in fines and court costs. A few misdemeanors even include jail time of up to one year.

Common types of misdemeanors include:

Common penalties associated with those misdemeanors are:

If you retain a lawyer for your defense, you don’t even have to show up in court for your misdemeanor. This is actually considered standard practice, and it allows people to save face and let their attorneys do their job.

Felonies tend to be crimes that are the most serious, such as murder and large-scale drug trafficking. Punishments for felonies start at one year in state or federal prison and go up from there. You can even get life in prison or the death penalty depending on the severity of your felony. And you should be careful to note that there is sometimes a very fine line between misdemeanor and felony charges. A good lawyer will definitely know if you are on the cusp and try to use this fact to your advantage.

Common types of felonies include:

How to Fight Criminal Charges in Napa Valley

The first step in putting up a good fight against your Napa Valley criminal charges is to hire a qualified criminal attorney who knows the area and how the laws are interpreted locally. This is especially important for those people charged who are visitors to Napa Valley and might not understand local laws and customs.

A knowledgeable Napa Valley criminal lawyer can talk to you about your charges and make sure that you understand them and what is likely to happen with your case depending on whether you decide to plea or go to court. While any kind of criminal charge is something to be taken seriously, Napa criminal attorneys can help you to understand that oftentimes crimes are excessively charged by overzealous prosecutors.

This can make the legal battle you’re facing seem like even more of an uphill climb, but often a good lawyer can easily get charges reduced. And even if that doesn’t work, most judges won’t stand for charges that they believe don’t fit the crime, so sometimes it actually pays to go to court. In fact, because prosecutors know this, it is sometimes possible to negotiate for a more favorable deal as your court date gets closer.

The key is getting your Napa Valley criminal attorney working on your defense as soon as possible so that he or she can have time to ask the right questions, get all of the information that they need, and build a case that will stand up to scrutiny in court. All too often, police departments and prosecutors try to drag their feet in getting necessary documentation over to defense attorneys, so the more time available, the better.

Don’t leave your future up to chance, call a Napa Valley criminal lawyer today.

By Steven Taxman

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