California Board Certified Criminal Law Specialists and Former Senior Prosecutors, Specializing In Criminal and DUI Defense
Finding the Right Attorney
Whether this is your first time going through the justice system, or you have been before, it is important to retain an attorney while going through the process. Even seasoned lawyers will take the time to retain another attorney to handle their own legal matters. This is because the law can vary widely depending on the location and field. If you already have an attorney, they can usually recommend others that might fit the field of your case.
The interview that you will have with your prospective attorney is important and you may forget certain details or questions you might want to ask. Try to think of a few questions about the process you might have, or the elements of the particular charge you have been given. Understanding the case yourself can allow you and your attorney to mesh and tackle your case with added efficiency.
Ask Friends and Relatives
Legal issues are often private matters that people want to keep out of gossip circles. However, your friends and family can be a great source of legal recommendations. While they may not divulge specific aspects of their case, they can give you insight into how their attorney was helpful. Reviews from the internet may be unreliable and many firms may even encourage interns or friends to inflate those reviews artificially.
Understand your Charges
Where are you being asked to appear? Is it a state offense or a federal offense? Knowing the answers to these questions can help you narrow down your search for an attorney. With the internet at your disposal, you can usually find everything you need with a simple search query. Understanding the different zones or district lines may not be necessary, as your attorney is licensed to practice in the entire state. You should also understand if you are being charged with a felony or a misdemeanor and what the agreement of your bond entails, so you don’t end up looking too far for an attorney.
Contact a Local Law School/Bar Association
If you don’t believe you will be able to afford an attorney, you have several options available to help aid your search. There are several clinics offered by law schools that will allow you to obtain legal assistance from law students under the supervision of a licensed attorney. These clinics are usually more affordable or free depending on your circumstances. Additionally, they may also have information on local attorneys offering pro-bono work for specific cases.
Since 1987, our Orange County criminal defense attorneys have successfully defended both felony and misdemeanor crimes throughout the OC criminal courts system. With almost 70 years of combined criminal and DUI trial experience as former senior prosecutors and now Southern California criminal defense experts, Mr. Paul Takakjian and Mr. Stephen Sitkoff are among the most experienced criminal lawyers in Southern California. During your free no-obligation consultation, we will review each of the available facts of your case, as well as your potential outcomes with an emphasis on addressing each and every one of your questions and concerns. Most importantly, when you retain Takakjian & Sitkoff, LLP, you will be represented by either Mr. Takakjian or Mr. Sitkoff, not an associate or contract lawyer.
Our criminal defense expertise includes, but are not limited to, the following:
DUI – Typically charged as a misdemeanor, drunk driving in Southern California can also be prosecuted as a felony offense if aggravating circumstances exist, such as prior DUI convictions and/or your DUI arrest involved an accident, which resulted in injury or death to another. Both Mr. Takakjian and Mr. Sitkoff previously prosecuted both misdemeanor and felony DUIs during their time as deputy district attorneys and served as instructors for law enforcement continuing legal education seminars in the areas of breath testing and Title 17 compliance.
Drug Crimes – For almost 3 decades, we have successfully defended drug possession and drug sales cases in OC, as well as cultivation or manufacturing with intent to sell. We have also forged many close working relationships with local drug/alcohol rehabilitation and alternative sentencing programs throughout the Orange County area. We recognize in order to truly help our clients facing drug charges, we must not only vigorously defend them in court, but also assist them with finding the path to sobriety.
Theft Crimes – Theft crimes can range in seriousness from a minor infraction or misdemeanor, such as petty theft and grand theft, to more serious felony theft offenses, such as residential burglary and embezzlement. Even a minor theft-related conviction can have a detrimental effect on your future and the consequences can extend beyond fines, probation, and jail time. Collateral consequences, such as deportation, loss of professional license, loss of employment, or disqualification of employment eligibility are some examples. For the each these reasons, our goal will always be to reach resolutions with prosecutors that involve either dismissal of charges by way of deferred entry of judgment, or as Orange County refers to it as, “Spit and Acquit.” In other circumstances, plea agreements involving reductions to non-theft offenses can be reached through negotiations with prosecutors.
Sex Crimes – Mr. Takakjian and Mr. Sitkoff were both formerly special prosecutors within the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office’s elite sex crimes special prosecution unit. This rare insight into Orange County law enforcement’s investigative tactics and prosecutorial procedure serves as an advantage in each of the sex crimes cases we defend. If you have been placed under investigation or arrested for a sex offenses, such as child annoyance, child molestation, statutory rape, forcible rape, sexual battery, indecent exposure, lewd act in public, an experienced sex crimes attorney can be the single most important factor in avoiding lifetime registration as a sex offender under California Penal Code 290.
Violent Crimes – An act involving the use or threat of force upon another where the primary objective is the violent act is considered a violent crime. These offenses can range from misdemeanor crimes, such as simple battery and assault, to strikable felonies, such as murder, robbery, and assault with a deadly weapon. In addition, violent crimes can include acts which do not involve actual physical contact or even injury, such as criminal threats and stalking. Many violent crimes are considered “wobbler” offenses, meaning they can be prosecuted as either misdemeanors or felonies. The most common is domestic violence, and like all violent crimes, it is prosecuted aggressively and carries harsh penalties.
When to Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney
When you’re facing misdemeanor or felony criminal charges, it’s a good idea to hire a lawyer to represent you as you make your way through the criminal justice system. You might think you can represent yourself on something seemingly minor at first, but you never know what will have the potential to affect your career and livelihood as well as your reputation or business.
For that reason, whenever your future is quite possibly on the line, it’s best to look for an experienced law firm to represent you and help protect your rights. The bottom line: If you’re facing felony charges of any kind, hiring a lawyer is essential to your future.
Any person facing a criminal charge should hire a criminal defense attorney, and the time to do so is as soon as possible after your arrest. Waiting could result in a legal misstep that puts your future on the line.
Most people don’t have the know-how to navigate the court system on their own. One missing piece of paper or lapsed deadline could result in major legal consequences for you. Our attorneys know what to do, and how and when it needs to be done. We’re former district attorneys, so we know the ins and outs of the Orange County court system. We listen to your side of the story and work to protect your rights. We also explain the process to you and your family, so you won’t have any unanswered questions or concerns.
How Much Does a Criminal Defense Attorney Charge?
Hiring a criminal defense attorney isn’t inexpensive, but it’s impossible to put a price tag on your freedom and reputation. The typical rate for a criminal defense attorney in Orange County is $200 per hour. Some have a minimum charge of $1,000 per day of court. It is common for an attorney to charge a flat fee of $2,000 to $3,000 for representing you in a misdemeanor case. Fees can vary by the complexity of the charges and other factors. A reputable criminal defense attorney will explain their fee structure to you during your initial consultation.
Why Hire Our Orange County Criminal Defense Firm?
There are many criminal defense lawyers in Orange County for you to choose from, however, there are very few who can match our firm’s background and experience in criminal and DUI defense. Whether you are facing a 1st offense misdemeanor, serious felony or a DMV license suspension hearing, you can rest assured we will raise a dynamic legal defense to ensure you receive the best possible resolution. We pride ourselves on maintaining honest and transparent attorney-client relationships, and partner with our clients to achieve the common goals we set together from the moment we are engaged. If you have been arrested in Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Westminster, Santa Ana, Fullerton, Irvine, or anywhere else in Orange County, please contact us at (714) 456-9955 or toll free at (888) 579-4844 for your free no-obligation consultation.