A felony is a crime for which a person “may be imprisoned in the State Prison.” It is the most serious type of criminal offense.
Sentences in State Prison for felonies range from a minimum of sixteen (16) months to as much as life imprisonment without possibility of parole (LWOP cases).
A client who is charged with a felony has the right to a Preliminary Examination, which is a hearing resembling a “mini-trial,” complete with witnesses testifying on the stand. In my experience, many attorneys do not know how to fully exploit the Preliminary Examination for the client’s benefit.
For example, the prosecutor nearly always wants a short “Prop 115″ hearing in which a police officer basically recites another cop’s police report into evidence. Prosecutors usually do not want their prosecution witnesses testifying at the Preliminary Examination who later, at trial for instance, may have to relate the same information before a jury. Prosecutors know that it is almost impossible for a witness to accurately testify later to the same facts, and therein lies the foundation to attack the witness’ testimony at trial against the client with a prior inconsistent statement.
Unlike all too many attorneys who fail to appreciate the importance of this and many other tactics at the “Prelim,” I exercise the client’s right to subpoena any and all witnesses whose testimony may weaken the prosecution’s case, be the foundation for a reduction of the case to a misdemeanor, or, in certain cases, provide the factual basis for the dismissal of the charges.
In cases where identity of the perpetrator is in question, I request of the court a real lineup before the Preliminary Examination takes place. Many lawyers fail to ask the court for a lineup, foolishly assuming that the “field show-up” or “photo line-up” identification of the client by the victim or witness has made the client’s identification positive. I have handled numerous cases where the alleged victim and/or witness cannot identify my client at a real lineup, in spite of any previous ID (however coached it might have been by the cops), and my client’s charges were dismissed. Certainly, any witness is going to automatically identify the client in court, since the client is the only person sitting next defense counsel, so the importance of using this procedure is obvious.
The procedures briefly outlined above are just two of the many techniques that a competent criminal lawyer may use to protect the client. Your attorney will have only one opportunity to help you at each stage of the proceedings. Felony cases are the most serious of all crimes, and you will need the very best and most experienced legal counsel that you can get.
Nothing less than your freedom and future are at stake.
These are examples of the many Felony cases that I have handed, including:
- Homicides (Murder, Manslaughter, Attempted Murder)
- Sexual Assault (I obtained a Not Guilty in a “Life Without Possibility of Parole” case)
- Kidnapping (from a potential life sentence to a “time-served” sentence of 90 days)
- “Three Strikes” Enhancements to Felony Cases (Successful motions to remove strikes)
- Robbery & Burglary
- Major Drug (Sales, Possession for Sale, and Cultivation / Manufacturing)
- White Collar (Fraud, embezzlement, tax, identity theft)
- Felony DUI (injury to another) & vehicular homicide
- Domestic Violence
- Grand theft & vehicle theft
- Stalking & “terrorist” threats
- Aggravated assault
- and many more kinds of cases classified as “felonies.”
Some crimes may be charged by the District Attorney either as a felony or a misdemeanor (so-called “wobbler” cases). In many of such cases, I have been able to get my clients’ felony charges reduced to misdemeanors, either by negotiated plea or by the court’s order, thereby eliminating the clients’ exposure to substantial prison time.
I will be happy to evaluate your felony case, or that of your loved one, with a view to exercising the most vigorous and aggressive defense available. I take pride in being an American lawyer, and in the results that I have been able to get for my clients over the years. Jail interviews are available by prior arrangement.
Please do not underestimate the importance of obtaining quality, experienced counsel as your criminal defense lawyer.
For a case consultation, without charge, call me, San Francisco defense attorney Michael Ross, at (415) 345-1335.