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Criminal Defense

“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”      -John Adams

Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney  

The concept of "innocent until proven guilty" is a cornerstone of the American criminal justice system. It means that a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until the State can prove their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. Although the criminal justice system in our country is built on this principle, someone accused of a crime is always in danger of losing this presumption by speaking with the police or dealing with prosecutors without being represented by a competent attorney. Only a skilled attorney can guarantee that a client's presumption of innocence is protected through the entire criminal process. The legal system in California is complex, and navigating it requires a thorough understanding of statutes, case law, the rules of evidence, and the subtle art of persuasion.  Experience and skill are of the utmost importance when one is looking for an Orange County criminal defense attorney. 

Adam Klugman was a prosecutor for years and lived the experience of charging, negotiating, working with police, and trying cases from the standpoint of the State or the Government. This experience gives clients a crucial advantage in the defense of their case. 

Call Klugman Law PC in Los Angeles and Orange County, California for help in the areas of:

What Happens When Someone is Arrested California?

  1. Arrest: Police may arrest someone if they have probable cause to believe that person has committed a crime. After arrest, the individual is either taken into custody, or "cited and released," which can happen on less serious misdemeanors. In the case of a cite and release, the person signs a promise to appear for a future court date, which in Orange County, would be at Central Justice Center in Santa Ana, West Justice Center in Westminster, North Justice Center in Fullerton, or Harbor Justice Center in Newport Beach.  If arrested, the person is taken to the police station, where they may be questioned further by police and may be asked to submit to further testing, depending on the charge. After being processed at the police station, the person is then booked into county jail such Orange County Jail or Twin Towers or Pitchess Detention Facility in Los Angeles County. If no charges are filed the person should to be released, as long as there are no other things holding them in custody, within about 72 hours or around 3 days. If charges are filed, the person then has to see a judge unless they can post bail first. In that case, the jail would issue an appearance date where the person is required to appear in court.

  2. Charging Decision: Prosecutors review the evidence gathered by law enforcement to determine whether to file formal charges against the individual. If charges are filed, the prosecutor will prepare a complaint specific criminal offenses alleged and the basis for those charges.

  3. What is an Arraignment?: An arraignment is a defendant's first appearance in court if charges are filed.  If the District Attorney files criminal charges, initially through a complaint, it means that the person accused is required to appear in court. If they are in custody, the person is transported to court by the sheriff, such as the Orange County Sheriff or the Los Angeles County Sheriff. The arraignment is the defendant's first court appearance. During the arraignment, the defendant is informed of the charges against them, their rights, and the potential consequences of the charges. The Judge can also set or review bail at the arraignment. The Defense Attorney can also asked for a lower bail or, often release without bail at all, so long as the defendant follows certain conditions.  The Defendant is also asked to enter their plea, but if the Defendant is represented by an attorney, the attorney will do all the talking on the defendant's behalf.

  4. Pretrial Proceedings: Many very important things happen at pre-trial proceedings between the arraignment at a trial date. A trial may not occur for months or even longer after the arraignment. The bigger question the Attorney and the Defendant deal with is whether a trial is in the Defendant's best interest at all. The Defense Attorney should receive all discovery from the DA, which consists of police reports, recordings, videos, and other materials regarding the charges. There would be ongoing discussions between the Defendant and the Attorney regarding what course to take regarding the case. The Defense Attorney could negotiate an outcome with the District Attorney or even negotiate a dismissal. The Attorney can decide with the Defendant whether to file certain motions to dismiss on the case if appropriate, or to seek judicial diversion if the Defendant qualifies.  

  5. Trial: If the case proceeds to trial, both the prosecution and defense present their evidence and arguments before a judge or jury. Before proceeding to trial, the Defense Attorney should seek to suppress, or throw out, all improperly obtained evidence against Defendant, such as evidence seized by police in violation of Defendant's constitutional rights, or any statements made by Defendant due to an illegal interrogation.  The prosecution has the burden of proving the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The defendant has the right to confront witnesses, present evidence, and testify on their own behalf. At the conclusion of the trial, the judge or jury deliberates and reaches a verdict of guilty or not guilty.

Throughout the criminal process in California, defendants have important rights guaranteed by the state and federal constitutions, including the right to a fair trial, the right to confront witnesses, and the right to legal representation. It's essential for anyone facing criminal charges to seek the advice and assistance of a qualified criminal defense attorney to protect their rights and navigate the legal system effectively.

How Does Bail Work in California?

Bail is an amount of money a Defendant or someone on a Defendant's behalf can post to secure their release from custody while waiting for a trial or other resolution of their pending criminal charges. In some cases, bail is not required at all to secure a Defendant's release, and some cases are so serious that the Defendant can be held in custody while waiting trial and not be allowed to post any bail. When someone is arrested by the police, the police can either "cite and release" them or take them to the police station and then book them into county jail. In the first situation, the person is given a citation, usually for a misdemeanor, and is then freed if they sign a promise to appear on a pre-selected court date at a courthouse such as Clara Shortridge Foltz Justice Center in Downtown Los Angeles, Airport Courthouse near LAX in Los Angeles, North Justice Center in Fullerton, West Justice Center in Westminster, Central Justice Center in Santa Ana, or Harbor Justice Center in Newport Beach. If the person does not appear at the court date, the court could issue an arrest warrant.

If the person is arrested and booked into custody, they can either post bail or wait to be brought before a Judge. A Judge has the ability to set bail but they also have the ability to release the Defendant from custody pending the trial or other closing out of the case. This is sometimes known as O/R release or "own recognizance" release where a Defendant promises to appear on their own word. Often, a Judge will set a conditional release, meaning a defendant can be released on the condition that they promise to do something, such as obeying a restraining order, or showing continued proof of participation in an outpatient treatment program. Another alternative is where the court can release the Defendant an electronically monitored house arrest. 

A defendant may have to wait in custody for several days before seeing a Judge to set bail. However, a Defendant has the ability before this to post bail before this happens, posting what is known as "schedule bail." This is a uniform list of offenses and bail amounts set by the court. The Judge has the power to order bail less than the schedule amount, or even not to require bail at all, but in order to be released before even seeing a Judge, the Defendant is likely required to post schedule bail through the police department or county jail. 

Types of Criminal Cases in California

In California, criminal offenses are categorized into two main types: misdemeanors and felonies. Misdemeanors are less serious crimes punishable by up to one year in county jail and/or fines, while felonies are more serious crimes punishable by incarceration in state prison and/or fines.

Common misdemeanor offenses in California include battery, assault, misdemeanor domestic violence, theft, vandalism, and driving under the influence (DUI). Felonies encompass a broader range of offenses, such as assault with a deadly weapon, assault likely to cause great bodily injury, rape, robbery, burglary, murder, felony domestic violence, and drug trafficking.

The severity of punishment for a criminal offense in California depends on various factors, including the specific elements of the crime, the defendant's criminal history, and any aggravating or mitigating circumstances. Sentencing guidelines provide a framework for judges to determine appropriate penalties within statutory limits.

Legal representation is crucial for anyone facing criminal charges in California. A skilled criminal defense attorney can help protect your rights, navigate the legal process, and advocate for the best possible outcome. They can assess the evidence against you, identify potential defenses, negotiate with prosecutors, and represent you in court if necessary.

It's essential to seek legal advice as soon as possible after being arrested or charged with a crime in California. Early intervention by an experienced attorney can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case and help minimize the potential consequences you may face.

General Intent vs. Specific Intent Crimes

General intent crimes refer to criminal offenses where the prosecution must prove that the defendant committed a crime but does not need to prove the defendant intended to commit it. For example, a person driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a general intent crime. The defendant may have thought they were not under the influence even though they were. A prosecutor only needs to prove that the defendant was criminally intoxicated while driving and does not need to show that the defendant intended to drive while criminally intoxicated.

In contrast, specific intent crimes require the prosecution to prove both that a defendant committed the criminal act and intended to commit the criminal act.  

Burden of Proof

In criminal cases, the burden of proof rests with the prosecution. They must prove the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This high standard ensures that the accused is not wrongfully convicted. If the prosecution fails to meet this burden, the defendant should be presumed innocent.

When a defendant states they have an affirmative defense, like self-defense, the burden switches, and the defendant will have to prove self-defense. 

Motions are requests made by either party to the court, seeking a specific ruling or action. 

  • Motion to dismiss, which is a request of the court to dismiss the case due to legal defects or lack of evidence
  • Motion for discovery, which asks the court to order the prosecution to provide specific evidence
  • Motion to suppress evidence, which seeks to exclude certain evidence from the trial due to violations of the defendant's rights

Some of these motions can have a serious impact on your criminal case. Only a California Defense Attorney can litigate your case for you if you are charged with a crime or DUI or domestic violence in Orange County.

Criminal Defenses and Defense Strategies

In criminal defense cases, defense strategies play a crucial role in protecting the rights and interests of the accused. At Klugman Law PC, we employ various tactics to challenge the prosecution's case and establish reasonable doubt. These tactics are often based on your criminal defense.


This defense asserts that the defendant was not present at the scene of the crime when it occurred. You must be able to provide evidence or witnesses to corroborate your whereabouts.

Constitutional Violations

This defense focuses on violations of the defendant's constitutional rights during the arrest, search, or seizure. If law enforcement acted unlawfully, evidence obtained through such violations may be suppressed.

Duress or Coercion

This defense argues that the defendant committed the crime under duress or coercion. To use this defense, you must have been forced or compelled to act against your will due to threats or fear for your safety or the safety of others.


This defense asserts that law enforcement induced or persuaded the defendant to commit a crime they would not have otherwise committed. It aims to show that the defendant was lured into criminal activity by law enforcement's actions. Even if, for example, you were tricked into criminal activity by an undercover police officer, you typically still must show that you would not have committed the crime but for the entrapment.


A defense strategy often revolves around proving the defendant's innocence. This may involve presenting an alibi, challenging the credibility of witnesses, or introducing new evidence to cast doubt on the prosecution's case.

Insanity Defense

This defense asserts that the defendant, due to a mental illness or defect, was incapable of understanding the nature or wrongfulness of their actions at the time of the offense. We can present expert testimony and evidence to support this claim. If successful, however, the defendant may be sent to a mental health facility. 

Lack of Intent

If the crime requires intent, we might be able to argue that the defendant did not have the necessary mental state to commit the offense. This strategy seeks to establish that the defendant's actions were accidental or lacked the requisite intent to commit the crime.

Mistaken Identity

This defense challenges the accuracy of eyewitness identification, asserting that the defendant was wrongly identified as the perpetrator due to factors like poor lighting, stress, or unreliable witnesses.

Necessity Defense

This defense argues that the defendant committed an illegal act to prevent a greater harm or danger. It asserts that the defendant had no reasonable alternative and that their actions were justified under the circumstances.

Self-Defense or Defense of Others

This strategy is used when the defendant claims they acted in self-defense or defense of others. The defense aims to demonstrate that the accused reasonably believed they were in imminent danger and used reasonable force to protect themselves or others.

In criminal defense cases, defense strategies and types of defenses vary depending on the unique circumstances of each case. Our defense attorney uses a range of tactics to challenge the prosecution's case, protect the rights of the accused, and establish reasonable doubt. 

Choose Klugman Law PC as you Criminal Defense Lawyer in California

When facing criminal charges, the criminal defense attorney you hire can make all the difference. Adam Klugman is a former longtime prosecutor, giving clients a significant advantage. Klugman Law PC will:

  1. Build a strong defense uniquely specified to you, your situation, and the facts of your case.
  2. Protect your rights. As the accused, you deserve an attorney that will safeguard your constitutional and legal rights, ensuring your fair treatment throughout the criminal process and challenging any violations of your rights.
  3. Provide case evaluation and strategy. We will analyze the evidence, assess the strengths and weaknesses of the case, and develop effective defense strategies tailored to our clients' specific circumstances.
  4. Advise and counsel you to regarding the best course of action, based on our years of experience.
  5. Have your back, no matter what, and no matter how high the stakes are,

Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney in Orange County Today 

If you're facing criminal charges, time is of the essence. Contact Orange County and Los Angeles, California defense attorney Adam Klugman by filling out the online form or calling  (714) 559-0931 to schedule a consultation. During this meeting, we'll discuss the details of your case, assess your legal options, and provide an initial strategy for your defense.

This web page is intended for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. Please do not transmit confidential information through this website.

Let Us Help You Today

Klugman Law PC focuses on Criminal Defense, DUI, Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana, Driving Under the Influence of Prescription Drugs, Drug Defense, Weapons Defense, Domestic Violence, Restraining Orders, Civil Harassment Restraining Orders- Plaintiff and Defense, Post-Conviction Relief for Immigration Purposes, Theft, Trespassing, Vandalism. As a former prosecutor, Attorney Adam Klugman gives his clients a unique advantage.

Contact Klugman Law PC

Klugman Law PC is committed to answering your questions about Criminal Defense and Domestic Violence legal issues in California.

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