Best Santa Clara Criminal Lawyers
Santa Clara Criminal Lawyers: Your Best Defense Against Charges
Hey there! If you’ve been charged with a crime in Santa Clara, California, then you definitely need a good criminal defense lawyer on your side. As someone who’s gone through the criminal justice system myself, trust me – having the right legal counsel makes a huge difference.Let’s start with the basics: what does a criminal lawyer actually do? Well, their main job is to protect your rights and build the strongest defense to fight your charges. They’ll investigate your case, meet with prosecutors, file motions to get evidence thrown out, negotiate plea deals if needed, and defend you in court. A good criminal attorney knows how to poke holes in the prosecution’s arguments and show jurors reasonable doubt.I get that lawyers can be intimidating and expensive. But skimping on your defense is not worth the risk. Public defenders are crazy overloaded – they just don’t have the time or resources to give your case the attention it needs. And representing yourself? Don’t even think about it. I tried that once and it was a disaster; I had no clue what I was doing.That’s why I recommend finding an experienced local criminal defense attorney you feel comfortable with. In Santa Clara, here are some firms and lawyers to check out:[Law Office of John J. Garland] – John Garland is a former Santa Clara prosecutor who’s been practicing criminal defense law since the 90s. He’s helped hundreds of clients fight DUI, theft, domestic violence, and drug charges. Super knowledgeable guy.[Hoffman & Lazear] – This husband and wife legal team have over 60 years combined experience. They’re known for their personalized approach and success with complex cases.[Daniel Jensen] – Jensen is a former public defender who started his own practice. He’s an aggressive litigator who digs deep to build airtight cases. Affordable rates too.[Ann Voris Law] – Voris is a former Santa Clara County assistant district attorney. She knows how prosecutors think and uses that insight to exploit flaws in their arguments.[Susan L. Kamlet] – Kamlet has 35+ years under her belt and specializes in defending against sex crime charges. She’s compassionate and really connects with clients.I’d also avoid lawyers who make big promises or guarantee certain results. No one can predict exactly how your case will turn out. The best attorneys are upfront about the challenges but still instill confidence that they’ll battle for the best possible outcome.Now let’s talk about the different types of criminal charges they defend against:
Common Criminal Charges in Santa Clara
In Santa Clara County, some of the most common charges lawyers defend include:
Drug crimes – Possession, intent to sell, trafficking, etc. There are high arrest rates for marijuana, cocaine, meth, heroin.
DUI – Driving under the influence is aggressively prosecuted in the county. There were over 4,800 DUI arrests in 2020 alone.
Theft/larceny – Shoplifting, burglary, and robbery charges are prevalent throughout Santa Clara.
Domestic violence – Can include violence between spouses, partners, family members. Very serious.
Weapons charges – Illegal possession of firearms, knives, brass knuckles. Gang activity contributes to these.Sex crimes – Rape, child molestation, solicitation. These have severe penalties if convicted.
Assault/battery – Violent crimes like these often involve alcohol, gangs, or domestic disputes.
Fraud – Identity theft, forgery, embezzlement, insurance fraud. White collar crimes are common.
Probation violations – If you violate probation terms, your attorney needs to help mitigate.
Resisting arrest – Not complying with police orders. Cops here have little patience for this.So those are just some examples – there are many other charges a good lawyer can help you fight. The key is finding someone experienced with that specific offense.
The Criminal Process in Santa Clara
Here’s a quick rundown of how the criminal justice process works after you‘ve been arrested in Santa Clara:
Booking & bail – You’re photographed, fingerprinted and they set bail. Many lawyers can help get bail reduced or get you released without paying.
Charging decision – The District Attorney reviews police reports and decides what charges, if any, to file against you.
First appearance – This is when you’re formally read the charges and enter a plea of guilty or not guilty.
Preliminary hearing – For felonies, this is when prosecutors must show there’s enough evidence to go to trial
.Plea bargaining – Your lawyer will negotiate with the DA to get charges dropped or reduced.
Trial – If no plea deal, your case goes to trial. Jury or bench trial. Your lawyer‘s skills are vital here.
Sentencing – If found guilty, the judge determines what penalties to impose. Fines, probation, jail time.
Appeals – Your lawyer can appeal the verdict or sentence if there are good grounds to dispute it.Having an attorney beside you every step of the way can make all the difference. They’ll advocate for your best interests, advise you of your options, and make sure your rights aren’t violated.
How Can a Good Lawyer Defend You?
When building a strong defense, some of the tactics a good criminal lawyer might use include:
- Investigating the police – Finding holes in their procedures or misconduct that led to your arrest.
- Suppressing evidence – Getting evidence thrown out that was obtained illegally without a warrant.
- Discrediting witnesses – Attacking witness credibility if their testimony seems dubious.
- Using expert witnesses – Bringing in experts who can weaken the prosecution’s arguments.
- Negotiating plea deals – Working with the DA to get charges dropped or reduced through plea bargains.
- Presenting affirmative defenses – Like self-defense, insanity plea, entrapment, necessity arguments.
- Sentencing mitigation – If found guilty, arguing for lighter sentences and alternatives to jail time.
- Filing appeals – Finding grounds to dispute guilty verdicts or unfair sentences.
- Utilizing diversion programs – For example, completing rehab instead of jail for drug charges.
- Leveraging prosecutorial discretion – Persuading them it’s not in “the interests of justice” to pursue the case.
Having an attorney who knows which strategies give you the best chance at dismissal or acquittal is key. Don’t leave it to chance with a public defender.
What Makes a Good Criminal Lawyer?
When researching criminal defense attorneys in Santa Clara, I’d recommend looking for these qualities:
- Trial experience – Have they taken many cases to trial and achieved wins? Real courtroom experience is invaluable.
- Knowledge of local courts – Do they understand the system and know the judges, prosecutors and police here? Familiarity helps.
- Communication skills – Do they listen to you and clearly explain the law in plain terms? You need an effective communicator.
- Investigation skills – Will they dig deep to find inconsistencies and weaknesses in the prosecution’s case? That can create that reasonable doubt.
- Negotiation skills – Can they effectively negotiate with prosecutors for reduced charges or diversion programs? Those skills get results.
- Compassion – Do they seem to genuinely care and fight hard out of more than just obligation? You want a lawyer who’s in your corner.
- Resources – Do they have sufficient experience and access to experts and investigators who can strengthen your defense? Bigger firms often have more resources.
- Affordability – Do they offer payment plans and is the fee structure within your budget? Balance cost with their qualifications.