Former Prosecutor with Over 20 Years Experience
If you or a loved one is under investigation or charged with a crime, you need an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney to protect your freedom.
With over 13 years experience as a Senior Deputy District Attorney and 20 years of criminal law experience, Ambrosio E. Rodriguez understands what you are up against: “the system.” The government has unlimited resources to come after you.
As a former prosecutor, Mr. Rodriguez does not only know the system, he was the system. Mr. Rodriguez will aggressively represent you to achieve the best possible outcome. When you hire Mr. Rodriguez as your criminal attorney, you tip the scales of justice in your favor.
Experienced Los Angeles Criminal Lawyer
Mr. Rodriguez prosecuted over 1,000 cases, including death penalty trials, during his 13 years as a prosecutor. He was the Trial Team Leader of the Sex Crimes Unit and in the Homicide Unit. He has also cross-examined hundreds of “experts” and is prepared to challenge any scientific evidence presented by the prosecution in their case against you. As your criminal defense attorney, he will put his expertise of the criminal justice system to work for you so that you can get back to your life.
Beyond experience, Mr. Rodriguez brings a strong team to your defense comprised of experts, investigators, and associate attorneys. His team often conducts its own investigation, which includes questioning witnesses, examining the crime scene, and combing through the evidence to understand the situation and make sure the jury hears your side of the story.
Do not be intimidated by an aggressive prosecutor trying to scare you into accepting a plea deal. Instead, call a Los Angeles criminal attorney with a proven track record and experience in courthouses throughout to fight the charges.
California considers crimes that involve sex or are sexually motivated to be particularly reprehensible. That’s why the penalties are so steep. A conviction can ultimately affect your life for decades after you’ve completed your court-imposed sentence if you’re required to register as a sex offender. The only way to prevent these consequences is by asserting a strong defense from the get-go. As Senior Deputy District Attorney, Ambrosio Rodriguez prosecuted thousands of sex crime cases. He’ll use his inside knowledge to your benefit when your future is on the line.Link To Practice Area
Do not underestimate just how aggressive the state will be in prosecuting charges for a violent crime. These crimes are unlike others because the victims tend to be vocal and involved. Prosecutors are under pressure to not only convict, but to also secure the harshest penalty they can. Whether you’ve been accused of assault, manslaughter, homicide, or another violent felony offense, you deserve the right to defend yourself. Our Los Angeles violent crime attorneys have been defending clients against these serious offenses for decades – and winning. We’ve secured multiple not guilty verdicts and gotten the charges dropped for countless clients. We will work diligently to secure similar results for you.Link To Practice Area
Some crimes fall under federal, rather than California state, jurisdiction. This is true for many drug crimes, as well as white-collar offenses. When you’re facing federal charges, you need an attorney who understands how the federal criminal justice system works. Our Los Angeles federal crimes attorneys have been navigating the federal court systems in California for decades, and you can trust that we’ll draw on that experience as we fight for you.Link To Practice Area
Compared to other states, California has relatively relaxed drug laws. However, the penalties for possession, selling, distributing, and/or trafficking controlled substances are still quite harsh for misdemeanor and felony charges. You might even face two separate sentences if you’re charged with both state and federal offenses. Our Los Angeles drug crime attorneys know that evidence can make or break these types of cases. That’s why we’ll carefully examine how evidence was seized by the government and if your rights might have been violated. If we suspect they were, we’ll ask the court to toss the evidence, and the charges against you, too.Link To Practice Area
Courts in California err on the side of caution when asked to issue a restraining order. Once a protective order has been served, you are legally obligated to comply. That’s true, even if the order is based on false allegations or lies. If you violate your restraining order, you can face very harsh criminal consequences, including the possibility of jail time. Our team of Los Angeles restraining order attorneys can help you advocate for yourself and fight to minimize the penalties you might face.Link To Practice Area
Whether you’ve been accused of shoplifting, burglary, or robbery, theft offenses are subject to long terms of imprisonment and steep fines in Los Angeles. Once you have a theft conviction on your record, future employers might be hesitant to trust you, and landlords might feel uneasy renting out an apartment. You can potentially stop this from happening, but only if you go on the offensive and fight any charges filed against you immediately. In representing you, our Los Angeles theft crime lawyers will pick apart the state’s case against you, identify weaknesses, and make the prosecutor’s job as hard as humanly possible. A strong defense can be the difference between walking away with your freedom and a conviction. – Penal Code 484 PC, 459 PCLink To Practice Area
Even though they’re “victimless” crimes, white-collar offenses are still taken seriously in Los Angeles. A conviction for embezzlement, fraud, or identity theft can strip you of professional licenses and land you behind bars. These cases are usually very technical and nuanced. The state will benefit from a thorough investigation and the aid of experts – so should you. Our Los Angeles white collar crime attorneys will carefully analyze the details of your case, bring in experts for assistance, and determine which defense strategies might be best suited for your particular case.Link To Practice Area
Prosecutors in Los Angeles will not take allegations of domestic violence or abuse lightly. The state will pour countless hours and resources into an investigation. The only way to clear your name and beat the charges to make sure that you also benefit from a thorough inquiry. Our Los Angeles domestic violence lawyers will enlist the help of experts and work diligently to gather evidence to not only support your side of the story, but to discredit the claims against you, as well. Call us today if you’re facing felony charges. Penal Code 273.5 PCLink To Practice Area
Drunk driving causes thousands of injuries and deaths in Los Angeles every year. So, it’s no surprise that the LAPD and other law enforcement agencies have ramped up efforts to combat driving while impaired. That’s why DUI arrests have increased in recent years. However, police don’t always follow the rules when stopping suspected drunk drivers, performing searches, conducting sobriety tests, or making arrests. This can be beneficial to you when you’re fighting DUI charges. Our Los Angeles DUI lawyers will carefully scrutinize every aspect of your interactions with the police, identify issues with the state’s case, and ask the court to dismiss any evidence that’s obtained in violation of your rights. Vehicle Code 23152(a) VCLink To Practice Area
Homicide is perhaps the most serious crime in California. If convicted, you face the possibility of decades or life behind bars. The Death Penalty could also be on the table. Know that the prosecutors handling your case will be under intense pressure to convict, so they’ll spare no expense in building the strongest possible case against you. Our Los Angeles homicide lawyers will rely on decades of experience prosecuting and defending these serious matters. We’ll not only devise a dynamic defense strategy for you, but also undercut the prosecution’s case at every turn. Penal Code 187 PCLink To Practice Area
California Three Strikes Law
California Criminal Law Basics
How To Find the Right Criminal Defense Attorney
Understanding the Criminal Process in California
Since 1994, California has had a “Three Strikes” law on the books. Basically, if you’re convicted of multiple violent or serious felonies, you will automatically be subject to aggravated penalties.
Violent felonies are defined in Penal Code Section 667.5 PC, and include murder, voluntary manslaughter, rape, oral copulation or sodomy by force, kidnapping, extortion, and carjacking.
Serious felonies are defined in Penal Code Section 1192.7(c) PC, and include robbery, first-degree burglary, sale of certain controlled substances to a minor, and any felony where the defendant uses a firearm or inflicts great bodily harm.
Here’s how the sentencing scheme works under the current Three Strikes law, which was amended by Proposition 36.
- First Strike: You receive a first strike on your criminal record when you are convicted of a serious or violent felony. Penalties for the underlying offense apply.
- Second Strike: If you have one strike on your record and are convicted of another serious felony or violent felony, you will be sentenced to twice the term of imprisonment for the offense.
- Third Strike: When convicted of a third serious or violent felony, you will automatically receive a sentence of 25 years to life in prison. This is true, despite what penalties may typically apply to the underlying offense.
The only way to avoid getting a strike on your record and the repercussions imposed by the Three Strikes law is to defend yourself aggressively. Contact the Rodriguez Law Group for more information about how our experienced lawyers might be able to help.
In California, crimes and offenses tend to fall into one of four different categories, based on the seriousness of the conduct.
Infractions are the least serious offense a person can commit in the state of California. In fact, infractions aren’t typically found in California’s Penal Code. Rather, infractions tend to be violations of other areas of California law – such as the Vehicle Code. Infractions are most often punishable by fines.
Misdemeanors are offenses that are punishable by less than one year in county jail. These crimes are more serious than infractions, but tend to be less reprehensible than felonies.
A felony is the most serious crime a person can commit in the state of California. If convicted of a felony, the maximum term of imprisonment is more than one year.
Some crimes in California are classified as wobblers. These are offenses that can be charged as misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the specific circumstances of the case at hand. A wobbler offense might be charged as a misdemeanor if the defendant has no prior criminal record or no one was seriously injured. On the other hand, when aggravating factors are present, the crime might be elevated to a felony.
Many times, the state has a lot of discretion in choosing which charges to file and how serious those charges will be. By enlisting the help of a qualified criminal defense lawyer to advocate for you from the start, you can potentially limit the seriousness of any charges you may face.
Whether you’ve just been arrested or have already been charged with a crime, it’s important to begin defending yourself as soon as you can. It’s the only way to protect yourself from harsh penalties and consequences.
Hiring a qualified and experienced attorney to lead your defense can make a massive difference in how your case unfolds. With so much at stake, your choice of attorney is critical. But, how can you know which criminal defense attorney is the best one for you?
It’s important to research and ask questions when choosing a lawyer. These are a few questions you might want to ask a defense lawyer when you meet for an initial consultation:
- How long has the attorney been practicing criminal law?
- What other experience does the attorney have that might be relevant and beneficial to your case? For instance, has the criminal defense lawyer also worked as a prosecutor?
- Has the attorney handled other cases that are similar to yours? If so, what were the results?
You should feel comfortable when speaking with your lawyer. You should believe that you can confide in them and trust them with information that might be difficult to share. In order for your attorney to be able to help you, you’ll have to be completely open and honest with them. So, make sure you choose a lawyer you can talk to.
To get acquainted with the experienced attorneys at the Rodriguez Law Group, give our law office a call or connect with us online today. We’d be more than happy to sit down, discuss your case, and answer any questions you might have.
Criminal proceedings in Los Angeles can be a bit overwhelming. Things can be easier when you understand how the criminal process works and what you can expect.
The criminal process begins when you are placed under arrest by a Los Angeles or California law enforcement offer. An arrest can be made if the officer has probable cause to believe that you’ve violated the law. While police can have a warrant to make an arrest, it’s not necessarily a requirement.
Once you’ve been arrested, you’re usually transported to the local police precinct or jail and booked. Booking basically means that your personal information is entered into the department’s system, along with details of your alleged crime.
Once someone has been booked, they can be released on their own recognizance or detained until arraignment. Defendants who are released must promise to show up for their initial hearing, which is also known as an arraignment. If a defendant is detained, the state must schedule and hold the arraignment within 48 hours of the arrest, not including weekends and holidays.
The arraignment is the first hearing in a criminal case. Here, a defendant learns about their constitutional rights and is told what they’ve been charged with. The defendant then has the opportunity to respond to the charges by entering a plea. You can plead “not guilty,” “guilty,” or “nolo contendere.” How you plead will influence how the case proceeds.
A guilty plea or a plea of no contest (nolo contendere) will effectively end the proceedings, and the case will skip ahead to the sentencing phase.
When a defendant pleads not guilty, the court will determine whether that person should be detained, released on their own recognizance, or released pursuant to bail. Bail, or bond, is essentially collateral that’s paid by the defendant (or a bail bondsman) to secure their release. As long as the defendant shows up to court when ordered, bail money is returned to the payor.
Many times, attorneys – both for the state and defendant – file pre-trial motions during the arraignment hearing. Motions might include requests to dismiss the case or for the issuance of a protective order.
What happens after arraignment really depends on whether you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor or a felony.
Discovery is a period of time in which the state and defense exchange information. In criminal cases, the state is required to turn over whatever information and evidence it has related to a case. This gives the defendant the opportunity to prepare a full defense.
Pre-Trial Conference (Misdemeanor Cases)
Following arraignment for a misdemeanor, a pre-trial conference is held. Here, you, along with your defense lawyer, sit down with the prosecution to discuss the case and potentially negotiate a resolution.
If the state’s case is weak, a good defense attorney might be able to convince the prosecution to dismiss the charges. If the state has a legitimate case, a good defense attorney will work to negotiate a reduction in charges or, quite possibly, a plea deal.
As the defendant, you retain the right to accept or reject any plea bargains extended to you by the state. If an agreement is made, or if the state drops the charges, the case is over.
Preliminary Hearing (Felony Cases)
If you are facing felony criminal charges, a preliminary hearing will be held. Pursuant to California state law, you have the right to a preliminary hearing within 10 days of your arraignment. This is much more formal than a pre-trial conference. A judge considers evidence and witness testimony to determine if there are legitimate grounds for sending your case to trial. For a trail to be warranted, a judge has to believe that it’s more likely than not true that you are guilty of the charges.
The preliminary hearing is a critical point in any felony criminal case. This is often the opportunity to destroy the state’s case by attacking the validity and legitimacy of evidence and aggressively cross-examining witnesses to lower their credibility or believability. At the conclusion of the preliminary hearing, a defense attorney can move to have the charges reduced or, better yet, dropped altogether.
If the charges are not dropped and the judge determines that there are grounds for a trial, the case will move forward. Note, however, that if a felony is reduced to a misdemeanor, the state will be limited to pursuing misdemeanor penalties at trial.
Scheduling a Trial
Once you’ve been formally charged with a crime, you are entitled to a jury trial. When this trial has to be held depends on the charges against you.
Misdemeanor Charges: The trial start date depends on whether or not you were in custody at the time of your arraignment. If you were in custody, a trial must be scheduled to begin within 30 days of your
arraignment or plea (whichever is later). If you weren’t being detained at the time of your arraignment, the trial must be scheduled to start within 45 days of your arraignment or plea.
Felony Charges: The trial must be scheduled to begin within 60 days of arraignment. At the conclusion of the preliminary hearing, the state must file an information (accusatory pleadings) within 15 days.
If the defense and prosecution are unable to negotiate a deal, the case will move forward to the trial phase. This begins with jury selection, where the attorneys choose the panel of jurors that will be asked to hear and decide the case. During this process, which is known as “voir dire,” the lawyers have the opportunity to ask prospective jurors questions to narrow down the field. Once jury selection is over, the panel will be comprised of 12 members.
When the trial begins, the prosecution and defense will make their opening statements. The prosecution goes first and presents an overview of the case against the defendant. The defense follows, offering a brief rebuttal and overview of their arguments.
Once opening statements have concluded, the prosecution will have the opportunity to present its case to the jury. This includes presenting evidence and witnesses. Witnesses are subject to cross-examination by the defense. When the prosecution is done presenting its case, the defense gets its turn to argue in front of the jury. The defense also has the opportunity to present evidence and question witnesses. State prosecutors also have the right to cross-examine these witnesses.
At the conclusion, attorneys for both sides will be able to wrap up their arguments for the jury.
Deliberation and Verdict
Once the trial has concluded, the jury will deliberate and attempt to decide whether it believes the defendant is guilty or not guilty. It must do this for each count and each charge. Any decision must be unanimous – meaning that all of the jurors be on the same page. Once the jurors have come to an agreement, they will return to the courtroom to issue the verdict.
There are three possible outcomes of jury deliberation:
- Not Guilty: The defendant is acquitted and free to go. The criminal case is over.
- Guilty: The defendant is convicted and the case moves forward to the sentencing stage.
- Hung Jury: This means that the jury was unable to reach a unanimous decision. A judge will usually ask a jury to return and continue to discuss the case when this happens. However, when it’s clear that there won’t be a unanimous decision, the jury will be “hung.” When this occurs, the defendant is free to go. However, the state reserves the right to file charges and pursue the defendant for the same offense in the future.
Note, the case can be resolved privately between the defense and prosecution at any point in time before the verdict is issued.
If you are convicted, your fight isn’t over. You have the right to appeal the jury’s decision to a higher court if there wasn’t sufficient evidence to warrant your conviction or there was some mistake of law.
You must file a Notice of Appeal within 30 or 60 days, depending on whether you were convicted of a misdemeanor or felony.
If you have any questions about what to expect during the criminal process, our experienced team would be happy to sit down with you at your convenience. Simply give our Los Angeles law firm a call today to arrange your free initial case evaluation today.
Recent Los Angeles Results
The Rodriguez Law Group can help you wherever you are facing charges throughout Southern California. That includes Los Angeles County, Riverside County, and San Bernardino County. We also help clients in Culver City, North Hollywood, Santa Monica, Encino, Glendale, Burbank, Hollywood, Culver City, Beverly Hills, and more. If you have been arrested or are under investigation, it is critical that you contact a qualified criminal defense attorney to assist you in this time of crisis.
Los Angeles Office
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Experience You Can Trust
Los Angeles has thousands of criminal defense lawyers to choose from. Mr. Rodriguez sets himself apart from the rest because he will personally handle your case. He will not pass you off to his associate after completing the initial interview. By hiring The Rodriguez Law Group, you will receive the personal attention of an attorney with a proven track record. More importantly, you will receive the quality representation and respect that you deserve during this difficult time.
If you have been charged with a crime anywhere in Los Angeles, hiring a criminal defense attorney is one of the most important decisions you will ever make. A skilled lawyer can greatly increase the chances that the case will end as favorably as possible for the defense. The quality of representation will have long-term consequences for you and your family.
If you are seeking a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles, make sure you hire someone with the expertise and proven track record. Regardless of the crime, The Rodriguez Law Group is prepared to aggressively defend your legal rights.
Call The Rodriguez Law Group For a Free Consultation
Choosing a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer can be a difficult process. To make the process easier, we offer a free consultation. Call today at (213) 204-4977 or fill out our free case evaluation form to see how we can assist you during this difficult time. We look forward to meeting with you to discuss your criminal defense needs.
With over 20 years of experience, and 13 years experience as a Senior Deputy District Attorney, Ambrosio E. Rodriguez has the experience you need when you have been charged with a crime.
As a former prosecutor, Mr. Rodriguez handled thousands of cases, including domestic violence, sex crimes, and death penalty trials. When facing a possible criminal conviction, you owe it to yourself to hire an attorney with a proven track record that will fight for you in court.
Mr. Rodriguez has unmatched trial court experience and will aggressively protect your liberty.