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Frequently Asked Questions

Ventura Criminal Defense Attorney

When you have been arrested or charged with a crime, you will likely have a number of different questions running through your mind. Being in trouble with the law is frightening, especially in light of the penalties that are possible with conviction. However, The Law Office of Douglas H. Ridley is here to ease the stress you are feeling as you face the charges. We want to be your advocates on the legal platform and defend your rights and interest in the courtroom. Below are some frequently asked questions about criminal defense in Ventura and how a Ventura criminal defense attorney can help in a time of need.

What is the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor?
The difference between the two charges is primarily based on the severity of punishment. Felony offenses are penalized much more aggressively than misdemeanors because they are more serious offenses. Misdemeanors, while they can still include a jail sentence, tend to carry lesser sentences in comparison to felony offenses and often involve non-violent offenses.

What is the Three Strikes Law?
California's Three Strikes Law is a sentencing statute that adds to an individual's jail sentence after repetition of certain offenses. Crimes that qualify for a "strike" are usually serious or violent felony offenses. A third "strike" results in a jail sentence of 25 years to life in prison.

Will I go to jail?
The answer to that question depends heavily on the charge that you are facing. Felony offenses will include a jail sentence, but only if you are convicted. Similarly, many misdemeanor charges do include a jail sentence but these charges do leave room for negotiation. If you are convicted, depending on the nature of the alleged crime and your criminal history, your criminal defense attorney may be able to negotiate a sentence that replaces jail time with community service hours or probation.

Can I have a conviction removed from my record?
With criminal records being so available to the public eye, having a past conviction on record can significantly hinder one's chances of advancing in a career or in education. In California, it is possible to have certain criminal convictions erased from your record. This process is known as expungement. There are several offenses which do not qualify for expungement in California including sex crimes, certain serious alcohol-related offenses and some felony offenses. Assuming your criminal conviction fits the qualifications required for expungement, you must have completed your court-ordered sentence before petitioning for expungement. Having a record expunged will mean that normal background checks conducted by prospective employers will show that you were charged of a crime that was later "dismissed."

Do I still need an attorney if I plan to plead guilty?
Yes. Legal representation is not only valuable to you when you are facing charges you plan to dispute but also when you stand to receive a sentence once you have been found guilty. A criminal defense attorney will be able to protect you from an unfair sentence, negotiate alternative sentences and fight for a lesser sentence. Additionally, it is highly advised that you consult an attorney before pleading guilty because it may be more in your favor to dispute the charge in court than the simply give up from the beginning. While prosecutors may attempt to manipulate you into agreeing to a plea bargain, a lawyer will be able to see past their strategies and fight for your best interest.

Should I take a plea bargain?
Plea bargains are thought of as a compromise between the prosecutor and the defendant in order to conclude a criminal matter. Generally, the defendant will agree to plead guilty in exchange for a concession from the prosecution usually concerning a lesser sentence or charge. Depending on your situation, it may or may not be in your best interest to take a plea bargain but you should never make that decision without first consulting a criminal defense attorney. Plea bargains may seem appealing because they offer a quick and supposedly easy way out of a criminal charge but many times, it may be a better option for you and your legal professional to fight the charges head on. Whether you should take a plea bargain is a question that cannot be answered without information as to the details of your case but you can contact our Ventura criminal attorney and discuss your case with him for free today.

What if a police officer doesn’t read me my rights?
Many people make the mistake of assuming that if the police officer does not read them their Miranda rights, they will be able to have the charges dropped. However, this is not the case. Miranda rights are simply read to inform the suspect that they have the right to remain silent and to warn them about self-incrimination. The only thing that can result from the police officer’s failure to read you your rights is that the information you share with them during interrogation will not be admitted in court as evidence against you.

What is probable cause?

Probable cause is the standard by which a police officer or officer of the court can obtain a warrant for someone’s arrest or to conduct a search of one’s private property and home in attempts to find evidence pertaining to a criminal charge.

If you have more questions about criminal defense and how it applies to your situation or if you would to learn how The Law Office of Douglas H. Ridley can defend you, contact a Ventura criminal defense attorney from our firm today!

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Ventura Office:
3875 Telegraph Rd.
A131
Ventura, CA 93003
805-918-6080
Local: (805) 208-1866
Simi Valley Office:
2655 First St.
#250A
Simi Valley, CA 93065
805-918-6080
Local: (805) 208-1866
The Law Offices of Douglas H. Ridley - Ventura Criminal Defense Attorney
Located at 3875 Telegraph Road A131 Ventura, CA 93003. View Map
Phone: (805) 918-6080 | Local Phone: (805) 208-1866.
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