When it comes to criminal defense, there are a lot of City Attorney hearings throughout Los Angeles. The San Fernando Valley is basically controlled by the City Attorney’s office as far as misdemeanor cases go, domestic violence cases, and the like. A City Attorney hearing in Van Nuys is conducted right near the courthouse. Right in the Marvin Braun Building, and basically what’s happening with the City Attorney hearing is, a hearing officer who is not a City Attorney is actually paid to try to resolve criminal cases. What that means is, if your case has been set for a City Attorney hearing, there’s a good chance you can get a non-filing. Meaning, there’s a good chance that you can convince the City Attorney’s office not to file a criminal case against you and basically, give you a warning.
But, the reality is, if they do and you commit any further crimes, they are able to refile not only the new case but also the old case. So basically, they’re going to tell you, don’t do this anymore. Sometimes if it’s a domestic violence case for example, they might make you do some anger management courses or some domestic violence courses in order to get them not to file a case. Other times, they’ll just warn you and tell you that they’re going to keep the case in the office for a year and if you have any other cases, they will file this case against you as well.
I have seen scenarios where people go into a City Attorney hearing in the Van Nuys building and they end up getting cases filed against them. That’s because they’re not polite. They’re not cooperative. I always suggest, any time there’s a chance that a criminal case could be filed against you, you better have an attorney by your side. Let your attorney guide you through it. I’ve done hundreds of City Attorney hearings in the Van Nuys area, so I know how the Van Nuys City Attorney’s office handles these cases. Again, the City Attorney will get the case, they’ll look at it and say, maybe we’ll give this person a break. Let’s do a City Attorney hearing. Then the hearing is had and the hearing officer at the end of the hearing will either make a decision or let you know at a later date, but usually, they’re going to make it on that date, and then they’ll talk to the City Attorney about it.
Now, a lot of times, you can get your arrest record clean if they do a City Attorney hearing and they decide not to file any charges against you, which is beautiful. They’ll have you or your attorney contact the liaison officer for the City Attorney’s office in Van Nuys and make the moves in order to get them to give you a slip — basically saying that it’s not an arrest. So that really keeps your record clean, so if somebody runs you, not only do they not see a case filed against you or a conviction because nothing is filed – they’ll also won’t see that arrest record if you were arrested and had to post a $50,000 bond. That will all be wiped out if the case is handled the right way.
So, City Attorney hearings in Van Nuys are basically to determine whether charges are going to be filed. But I’m telling you, having done this for twenty-five years, most of the time if it’s handled the right way with your attorney, you’re going to end up with a non-filing and you’re going to get a chance to move on with your life.
But I have seen them conduct City Attorney hearings in Van Nuys and they let the person have a break and they don’t file anything and then six months later the person picks up another domestic violence charge related to the same individual – now they file both cases against them. The case that they got the City Attorney hearing on and the new charges and now you’re looking at double the time and double the problem.
So, if you have a City Attorney hearing in Van Nuys, huddle up with a good criminal defense attorney who is familiar with that courthouse and the prosecutors and how the City Attorney hearings work, give them all the relevant information. Let them advise you on how you’re going to conduct yourself in the City Attorney hearing. Let them do most of the talking to try to help you. Follow their lead and you should be able to get a non-filing, which is just as good as a dismissal.
Categorised in: Van Nuys Court