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Aggressive, experienced representation in the criminal courts. Charles Mashburn handles state and federal criminal cases in Los Angeles County, Orange County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County, and by special arrangement in San Diego, Ventura, Santa Barbara and Kern Counties. Mr. Mashburn can also handle cases in Northern California by special arrangement.

Mr. Mashburn has extensive experience in trying cases, and in achieving favorable resolutions without trial.

Have you been arrested in California? If you have, then you need to be represented by a California criminal lawyer. If you have been arrested in California, only a lawyer who is licensed to practice in California can lawfully give you legal advice, and only a lawyer who is experienced in California criminal defense can give you good advice.

California criminal defense law is complex. The California Penal Code is made up of more than twelve thousand sections, and governs everything from the definition of crimes, to proper procedures when you are brought to court, including pretrial procedures, procedures for jury and nonjury trials, and procedures for sentencing and punishment.

The California Penal Code, in turn, is interpreted and explained by thousands of legal case opinions which are published by the California Court of Appeals, and the California Supreme Court.

The Penal Code definition of a crime is very important, because this part of how the police made a decision to arrest you. If their interpretation of the Penal Code is incorrect, then you may have been arrested without just cause. In some cases, this can be addressed by a motion to dismiss the case.

Not all crimes are defined in the California Penal Code. There are also criminal offenses defined in the Business and Professions Code, the Health and Safety Code, the Insurance Code, the Revenue and Taxation Code, the Vehicle Code, and the Welfare and Institutions Code. Only a California criminal lawyer can guide you through the complexities of these various code sections.

The California Penal Code governs and defines pretrial procedure, which is also discussed (here). Under the United States Constitution, you have a right to a speedy trial – but what does that mean? How quickly must the State of California bring you to trial? All of the deadlines for trials and pretrial hearings are set forth in the California Penal Code. If your speedy trial rights are violated, then there may be grounds to secure your release from custody, or dismiss the case, or both – but only an experienced criminal defense lawyer can file the appropriate motions in court to obtain the proper relief.

The California Penal Code also governs how your trial and pretrial hearings are conducted, but there is one major factor in your trial and pretrial hearings that is not covered by the Penal Code: How evidence is presented. Evidence is defined in the California Evidence Code, which also controls when and how evidence is introduced in court.

Everyone who watches television is familiar with the objection for hearsay. Everyone who watches television knows the definition of hearsay – a witness cannot repeat something they heard outside of court, right? But documents always come into evidence, right? Only on television. The real life hearsay rule is far more complex. Unless they fit within one of the recognized exceptions to the hearsay rule, the contents of documents are hearsay, just as with oral testimony. In real life, evidence must be relevant. The attorney who seeks to introduce it must lay a proper foundation. Documents must be property authenticated. The evidence, whatever it is, must not have a prejudicial effect outweighing its probative value. Only a California criminal defense attorney can navigate you safely through this baffling maze of rules.

Let’s assume that you have lots of favorable evidence. The twelve people in the jury box will be the ones who weigh that evidence, and it is very important that you get the right twelve people. Jury selection starts with forty or fifty strangers walking into the back of the courtroom. Then they are questioned by the prosecutor, your lawyer, and the judge. Your lawyer and the prosecutor can challenge jurors for cause, if they show during questioning that they are unsuitable, and your lawyer and the prosecutor each get to challenge a certain number of jurors for any reason they want. The process of choosing the right jurors is intricate and complex, and for this you need an experienced California criminal lawyer.

Once the jury is selected, then your lawyer can make an opening argument in your defense. Then the witnesses will take the stand. A good criminal defense lawyer controls the trial by controlling the flow of evidence. This is done through effective cross examination of prosecution witnesses, and effective objection to any damaging prosecution evidence. Once the prosecution is finished, then you have a chance to present your witnesses and evidence. Again, a good criminal lawyer will present your witnesses in the most favorable light, and protect them from the prosecution cross examination through appropriate objections.

Then comes the summation, or closing argument, and the jury, chosen by you and your lawyer, will have a chance to decide the case.

But what if you do not want to go to trial. A jury trial is a very rigorous experience, and many people have perfectly good reasons to want to avoid the trial process. If this is your situation, then an experienced criminal lawyer can help you negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecution, or the judge.

If you are charged in a criminal case, your future is at stake, and you need the help of an experienced criminal attorney.