Practice Areas – Los Angeles Criminal Attorneys
Like most things in life, it is not what you know; it is who you know. The criminal defense community is tiny and close-knit. Therefore hiring an attorney that frequently appears in the court where your case is pending is essential if you want to obtain the best result!
A local attorney will know the tendencies of the prosecutors and judges and will understand what it takes to fight or negotiate your case successfully. Even if your matter is tried before a jury, a local attorney will know which population segment makes up the jury pool in a particular court location. This type of inciting and insider information will be necessary to successfully navigate a judicial system that can be harsh when punishing a criminal case.
Having worked in Los Angeles Courthouses since 1992, I know exactly how to maneuver a criminal case in each court. Further, I know which judges and prosecutors to deal with and which ones to avoid. Sometimes, pretrial motions can be very effective weapons in a criminal case.
This is information that very few attorneys possess…unless they have been in the trenches for years. Also, some of the courthouses tend to be harsher on specific crimes, while others are more forgiving. Since the District Attorney and City Attorney move their prosecutors around from court to court, it is crucial that your attorney is a constant presence in each of the Valley courts and understands the political landscape.
The Heddings have had a law firm in Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley since the 1970s. We are well known and have handled thousands of cases over the years. For sure, having a local, well-respected and seasoned law firm behind you in the criminal defense arena is a must. There is no substitute for the battle-tested knowledge attained when you fight for your clients for many years. We can get you on the right path with one phone call!
See related blog: Why Hire an Attorney Before a Case is Filed Against You?
What We Bring to the Litigation Table
First and foremost, we give you battle-tested strategy and experience. I have worked for the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office and as a Superior Court judge and therefore have seen how the other side deals with cases. In 1994 I stopped work as a research attorney for a senior judge and opened up my criminal defense practice in the San Fernando Valley area of LA County.
We are now one of the longest-running law firms. With experience comes results. Our firm is set up to produce results that allow clients to lead an everyday productive life moving forward. The Hedding Law Firm is genuinely a top-notch criminal defense firm. Our credentials speak for themselves.
We have been around for over 25 years and have a combined 75 years of experience. Our attorneys genuinely care about your constitutional rights and do everything we can to protect those rights. We represent clients in both state and federal court, and we take the role of a true advocate.
We represent our clients with the highest professional standards. We are not afraid of a challenge, and we do not back down when prosecutors come up with their scare tactics. We fight for our clients' freedom, legal rights, and reputation. If you are being charged with a crime, do not plead guilty, do not plead any contest, do not make any rash decisions, and let us intervene on your behalf. Some of the criminal areas we practice are:
A common misconception is that you will not be charged if your significant other says they do not want you prosecuted after being arrested. That is not true. It's not your significant other against you; it's the people and special prosecuting agencies that deal with these cases. We have dealt with these cases for over 75 combined years, and we know who to talk to and what to do to set the matter up and tell your story.
Some of the critical evidence that I bring to bear in a domestic violence case in Los Angeles is what a particular person has to lose if they're convicted of a crime, how that person's family will be affected if they are convicted of a crime, and how their job will be impacted if they are convicted of a domestic violence crime.
When you come and hire us to represent you, we will have you get character letters from friends, family, and the community to show that you are a respected member of your community. We will paint a prominent picture of you as a solid community member and make a powerful presentation to the prosecutor and judge. We realize that this is your life, and the stakes are real. We will do everything we can to protect you, your family, and your criminal record.
The bottom line is if you possess or sell narcotics, you will be prosecuted. We are able, in many cases, to keep your criminal record clean. Call us and sit with us. We will talk about your case. We know how to handle narcotics cases. We also handle cases of drug possession for sale.
This is the most commonly charged crime in America, and you do not have to be a criminal to get one, but a DUI is a crime and not just a traffic violation and can be severe unless you have a true advocate looking out for you. The potential consequences of a first-time DUI are severe, especially for an under-21 DUI. You can end up in jail for six months, get three years probation, and not to mention the excessive fines. Our lawyers are specially trained to deal with driving under the influence cases.
We deal with the DMV hearing and The Court. We have a law firm specifically designed to take care of these things strategically and confidentially. We will be honest with you about your case from our first meeting. Our Firm will tell you the straight truth.
We are going to take care of the case for you. We will sit down with prosecutors and get you the best possible deal. We guarantee that you will feel that your case was handled discreetly and efficiently and that we fought for you with the court and the DMV. We take the criminal proceeding and the DMV hearing as part of our fee.
Sentencing is significant in federal matters. Judges have a lot of power now. They can give a person whatever sentence they want. Some limitations have become hazy and simply advisory. Our federal criminal attorneys know the judges in the central district, have handled cases in front of them, and know their tendencies. The national system is sophisticated, so you need someone who will go right to work, being simplistic, to get the best possible results. We also handle cases of obstruction.
If you have been involved in a hit-and-run accident, we can provide immediate protection. We will contact law enforcement and begin the process of getting this dealt with and behind you. It would help if you didn't have to look over your shoulder and be worried that law enforcement would come and get you. We will handle your hit-and-run case immediately and professionally. We will do everything to get it dismissed, reduced, or get you on a diversion program. We also handle cases of vehicular manslaughter.
We are powerful advocates in the Juvenile Court. We care about kids and getting them on the right path. We are ready to fight for your child, their future criminal record, and their rights. We know juvenile law and the juvenile courts throughout San Fernando Valley. We have dealt with the judges and prosecutors, and we know what it takes to win an adjudication hearing if necessary; we know what it takes to fight a fitness hearing, and we know what it takes to resolve a juvenile matter in court.
Are you being charged with or investigated for a sex crime, such as lewd acts with a minor? It would help if you acted immediately. A conviction will change your life. You will have to register as a sex offender; your photograph goes on the internet; your relationships change. It would help if you had attorneys like us who have over 75 years of combined experience dealing with these cases.
We have handled numerous matters and know who to talk to and what to say. We have much experience in this area of law. We will take the case professionally and discreetly and protect your reputation and freedom. Sexting becomes a crime when it involves a minor. Penal Code 290 PC defines failing to register as a sex offender.
We can help you if you have been involved in a theft-related offense. Before you go to court, we can often influence what happens with the prosecutor. We will let them know your story and the good things about it, and we can sometimes affect their decisions on what they file, whether an expungement, a lesser charge, or even a dismissal.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a violent felony, you must obtain a criminal defense attorney who knows the system where the case is. In today's political climate, with the three-strikes law and the government cracking down and creating special units to deal with violent crimes, you need a law firm like ours.
We have handled over 50 major felony jury trials and 16 murder cases. Our law firm has extensive experience defending clients against any violent crime, including armed robbery, arson, assault and battery, attempted murder, child abuse, criminal threats, elder abuse, false imprisonment, firearm offense, home invasion, kidnapping, murder, resisting arrest, brass knuckles, and voluntary manslaughter.
Many people ask what the judge will do when it comes to a probation violation or a bench warrant has been issued. You may lose many rights, and you will need a powerful advocate on your side. We encourage you, if you have a warrant, you're being investigated, or you have a probation violation, to come to sit down with us, and we will discuss all the specifics. We can answer your questions about what determines a sentence and how to avoid jail time.
At the Hedding Law Firm, our criminal defense lawyers also can help you with expungements, probation violations, sentencing, three-strike cases, weapons charges, white-collar crimes, internet crimes, aiding and abetting, plea bargaining, gang sentencing enhancement, and obstruction of justice. If you or someone you know faces a criminal charge, there is no need to look further.
What is a Misdemeanor?
A misdemeanor is a crime that typically carries up to a year in jail. It can also carry a maximum fine of $1,000.00. There are several different types of misdemeanors — ones that I would characterize as high-grade and low-grade misdemeanors.
For example, a higher grade misdemeanor would be like a domestic violence charge. At the same time, a lower grade misdemeanor would be like a disturbing peace-type charge. Not all misdemeanors have a top of one year. Some misdemeanors have a top of six months. For example, a first-time DUI has a 6-month top, whereas a second-time DUI has a 1-year top.
An infraction is Not a Crime in California
The biggest thing about infractions that I consider different than misdemeanors is I think there's a pretty strong argument that an infraction is not a crime. It's just a public offense.
It didn't mean that you could even file what they called an expungement motion on an infraction. Now, you're able to do that. But that expungement term is deceiving because there's no such thing as a true expungement in California that completely wipes a crime or an infraction off of somebody's record.
It dismisses the case and shows that the Minute Order rejected the claim. Typically, if someone were to do a live scan and look at their record or if somebody else looked at their history, it would also show that that case was pending and had been dismissed.
So, if you have to choose between an infraction and a misdemeanor, you will pick the offense every time. They can't put you on probation for an offense, and again, the most crucial distinction, in my opinion, is that an infraction is not a crime, whereas a misdemeanor is a crime.
Therefore, you're entitled to a jury trial to try to defend yourself in a misdemeanor, whereas, in an infraction, you're not allowed a jury trial. You are typically entitled to a court trial to let the judge decide whether you're innocent or guilty of whatever infraction you're charged with. A lot of cases can be set as infractions or misdemeanors. For example, driving on a suspended license can be charged as an infraction — just a traffic defense — and there is usually a fine.
If it's severe enough, they can also charge it as a misdemeanor, in which case you could be looking at spending some time in jail. Often, we see people being charged with driving on a suspended license related to DUIs where their license was suspended because of a DUI. They pick up a new case and drive on a suspended license because of the DUI — that's typically going to be filed as a misdemeanor, and there are a mandatory minimum of ten days of jail for that sort of offense.
Jury Trial Eligibility
Other matters have even as low as a ninety-day maximum sentence. So, misdemeanors are crimes, and you're entitled to have a jury trial for a misdemeanor. At the same time, you're not allowed to have a jury trial for an infraction.
As far as the general information about an infraction, the most you could be fined for an infraction will be $100 plus a penalty assessment. There's a 200% penalty assessment on all fines in San Fernando Valley. So, in that scenario, you would be somewhere in the $300 to $400 were you to get a $100 plus penalty assessment.
So, as you can see in assessing the whole infraction/misdemeanor problem, there are a lot of things going on there, and you're going to want a defense lawyer who's been doing it for twenty-five years, like me, to sort things out for you and try to get you the best resolution.
If you've got a warrant for an infraction or a misdemeanor, you want to get an attorney there. Get it taken care of. Get it off your record so you're not looking over your shoulder, and that's something that we can do. Pick up the phone. Make the call, and we'll get this thing moving in the right direction.