The following stages of prosecution apply to both misdemeanors and felonies except where noted. See below for the stages of prosecution for infractions.
- Initial Investigation
- Office Hearing
- Defense Investigation
- Bail Hearing I
- Preliminary hearing
- Arraignment on the Information
- Motion to Set Aside the Information
- Pre-Trial Motions:
- Motion for a Change of Venue
- Motion to Compel Discovery
- Motion to Suppress to Evidence
- Motion to Exclude Evidence
- Motions in Limine
- Jury Selection
- Opening Statements
- The Prosecution’s Case
- Motion to Dismiss
- Jury Instructions
- Closing Arguments
During the investigation stage the police gather physical evidence and witness statements to determine if a crime occurred and who committed the crime. Suspects have rights. If you are the target of an investigation, you need an experienced attorney at this stage to protect your rights
Do not talk to the police without consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney first. An attorney can intervene early on your behalf and help you avoid charges being filed. An attorney can also help you avoid arrest and having to talk to the police.
If you know the police want to speak to you call Jennifer Monroe first to see how she can help. Los Angeles and Ventura County Criminal Defense Attorney Jennifer Monroe offers Pre-Filing Investigation services to help you avoid arrest and avoid criminal charges being filed.
After the investigation is complete the police submit your case to the local prosecutor (this could be the District Attorney or City Attorney depending on where the crime occurred and if the charge is a felony or misdemeanor). At this stage it is critical to have an attorney protecting your rights and fighting for you because an attorney may be able to have the prosecutor reject your case or hold an office hearing instead of filing formal misdemeanor or felony charges.
An Office Hearing is conducted by the prosecutor and you may be represented by an attorney. During the office hearing the prosecutor will explain the evidence against you and advise you of the consequences if the if the conduct continues. The prosecutor may also make you an offer that involves you completing classes or community services to ensure charges are not filed. Having an attorney during an office hearing is important because the attorney will speak for you so that you do not risk incriminating yourself, the attorney can negotiate the best offer for you, and advise you whether to accept the offer.
Office hearings are only available in certain areas of Los Angeles County. Contact Jennifer Monroe to see if an office hearing is possible for you.
You need an attorney that can adequately investigate your case to defend you, protect your rights, and fight for the best resolution of your case. Investigation takes place as soon as you hire Jennifer Monroe. She will immediately begin to gather information about you and your background to present you in a positive light to the prosecution and court to obtain the best possible result in your case. She will research the law and facts to ensure that the prosecution has not over charged your case. She will find the best defense for you. She will seek out witnesses in your favor and obtain statements from them. She will go over the prosecution’s case with you, and will walk through the crime scene with you if necessary to see what really happened. She will collect and present evidence in your favor that will help your case. She will work with you to gather the right information for your case. Defense investigation continues until your case is resolved. Jennifer Monroe uses experienced investigators to assist in your defense when necessary.
There are five grounds to demur to the complaint to try and have your case dismissed before you enter your plea. Before entering your plea at arraignment it is important to consult with an attorney to determine if you have grounds to file a demurrer. Jennifer Monroe can help you determine if a demurrer applies in your case.
After formal charges are filed you must appear in court for arraignment. If you are charged with a misdemeanor then an attorney can appear on your behalf. If you are charged with a felony you must appear in court. During the arraignment the judge will inform you of the charges against you and give you an opportunity to enter a plea to the charge. If you already hired Jennifer Monroe she will also be able to speak with the prosecutor to negotiate an offer for you. She will discuss all evidence in your favor that was gathered from the defense investigation that the prosecution is likely unaware of. She will then discuss the offer with you. You will then enter your plea of: 1) not guilty and set your case for another court date in order to review the evidence against you; or 2) guilty or no contest and accept the prosecution’s offer. Jennifer Monroe can help you make the right decision on how to proceed at arraignment.
Your arraignment date is set in a variety of ways: 1) if you are in custody your arraignment will take place within 48 hours of your arrest, or the next court day thereafter; 2) if you were cited out at the scene or from jail you should have received a ticket called a notice to appear, your date to appear appears on the ticket; 3) if you were arrested and posted a bond to get out of jail your court date should be on your bond paper work; 4) if you were not cited out or did not bond out the prosecutor may send you a notice to appear or issue a warrant for your arrest. Jennifer Monroe can help you determine what date you are to appear.
If you missed your arraignment date a warrant is out for your arrest. Warrants are also issued by the court at the request of the prosecutor and police without any notice to you. If there is a warrant out for your arrest you can be arrested at any time by a police officer and taken to jail. If you think you may have a warrant out for your arrest, contact Jennifer Monroe, she will find your warrant for you. She can also walk you into court on your warrant and fight to keep you out of jail without having to post bail.
At the arraignment Jennifer Monroe will make a motion to modify the amount of your bail. She will seek for you to be released on your own promise to appear without having to post bail if you qualify. If you don’t qualify for release on your promise to appear she will fight to have your bail lowered as much as possible.
Jennifer Monroe will seek to protect your rights by obtaining all the evidence against you from the prosecution. She will request all evidence against you, as well as any exonerating evidence in your favor. If the prosecution does not provide these items she will file a motion to compel discovery on your behalf and request the judge order the prosecution to turn over the evidence. Jennifer Monroe will also meet with the prosecutor and police to personally view any physical evidence against you if necessary.
In all felony cases you have a right to a preliminary hearing before a judge to determine whether the prosecution has enough evidence to take your case to trial. This right does not apply in misdemeanor cases. During the preliminary hearing the prosecution presents witnesses against you. The law only allows the defense to present very limited evidence, but it is important to have an attorney to cross-examine the witnesses against you and argue to the court why a dismissal or lesser charge is appropriate in your case.
Arraignment on the Information
In all felony cases after the Preliminary Hearing another court date will be set to advise you of the charges the prosecution seeks to proceed to trial with. These may be the same as the original charges in the complaint or the prosecution may add charges based on the evidence presented at the preliminary hearing.
Motion to Set Aside the Information
In all felony cases after the arraignment on the information, the defense has an opportunity to motion to the court that the prosecution failed to present sufficient evidence at the preliminary hearing to support the charges in the information. If successful, those charges will be dismissed by the court.
The pre-trial hearing is an opportunity to make sure all the discovery has been provided by the prosecution. The pre-trial also allows Jennifer Monroe to present additional information in your favor obtained from defense investigation. At the pre-trial, Jennifer Monroe will negotiate the best possible offer for you. At the pre-trial you will have to decide whether to accept the prosecutor’s offer or go forward to trial. Jennifer Monroe will help you make the right decision for you.
Before trial Jennifer Monroe will determine whether any of the following motions are appropriate in your case and file them with the court if necessary:
- Motion for a Change of Venue to ensure you receive a fair trial that you are entitled to under the law.
- Motion to Compel Discovery to force the prosecution to turn over all damaging evidence, as well as any exonerating evidence in your favor.
- Motion to Suppress Evidence if the evidence was illegally obtained in violation of your rights.
- Motion to Exclude Evidence if the evidence is inadmissible at trial based on existing law.
- Motions in Limine
The jury trial beings with a series of motions in limine where the prosecution and defense motion to the court for rulings on evidentiary issues that will arise in trial. The motions in limine vary from case to case based on the evidence in each case and typically involve motions to suppress or admit certain pieces of evidence or witnesses. They often involve presenting witnesses before the judge and after argument from the attorneys, the judge decides if the jury will get to hear that particular evidence. Jennifer Monroe will review all the evidence and determine the appropriate in limine motions to file in your case. She will also anticipate and be prepared to respond to all of prosecutions motions in limine.
- Jury Selection
Jury Selection is a critical stage of the trial because the jury takes the law and facts presented and ultimately decides your fate. Jurors can be unpredictable and it is best to have an experienced trial attorney like Jennifer Monroe to select the best possible jury for your case.
- Opening Statements
Jennifer Monroe will use this opportunity to get the jury to know you and your defense. It’s important to get the jury questioning the prosecution’s case early on.
- The Prosecution’s Case
The prosecution will call witnesses against you and present evidence they feel establishes you are guilty. Jennifer Monroe will vigorously cross-examine and impeach their witnesses.
- Motion to Dismiss
After the prosecution rests their case, Jennifer Monroe will motion to the court to dismiss your case if the prosecution fails to prove their case. The judge then decides if the case goes forward.
If the judge decides the case should go forward then Jennifer Monroe will have an opportunity to put on a defense for you. Jennifer Monroe will sit down with you before trial to develop and go over the defense strategy. The defense will involve calling witnesses on your behalf and possibly having you testify. You will not have to make the decision to testify alone. Jennifer Monroe will spend time reviewing your options and helping you to decide if testifying is in your best interest. The ultimate decision whether you testify is up to you.
- Jury Instructions
Jury Instructions are read to the jury before closing arguments and provide the jury with the law they must follow in deciding your case. The prosecution and defense have an opportunity to submit jury instructions to the judge and draft special instructions if necessary. Jennifer Monroe will ensure that the jury is instructed on all of your defenses.
- Closing Arguments
The prosecution is allowed to have two arguments. The defense only has one opportunity to argue to the jury. Jennifer Monroe will review the law and facts with the jury and argue that the prosecution has failed to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt and therefore must find you not guilty.
After a guilty or no contest plea is entered to a plea bargain, you will be sentenced to the terms of the plea bargain. After a guilty verdict, the judge decides your sentence. Jennifer Monroe will present factors in mitigation on your behalf to the judge to try and keep you out of jail, and obtain probation or a reduced sentence.
Jennifer Monroe will not abandon you after you are convicted. She will be there to help you succeed on probation. Depending on the complexity of your post-conviction matter, an additional flat rate may be charged.
If you are granted probation the judge will order you to complete a series of conditions, including but not limited to education classes, community service, payment of fines, and obey all laws. Jennifer Monroe is available to help you and explain in detail what is expected of you to in order to avoid violations of probation.
If you are in violation of probation, it is considered a new charge against you. You need the help of an experienced attorney to present your side to the judge. Jennifer Monroe will work with you and the judge to try and resolve the violation as quickly and painless as possible.
Jennifer Monroe can file these motions on your behalf. Once expunged you do not need to disclose your conviction to private employers. Contact Jennifer Monroe for more information about whether you can benefit from having your conviction expunged.
If you have a warrant out for your arrest you could be arrested at any time and held in jail until brought to court. Jennifer Monroe can help you determine if you have a warrant for your arrest. She will then assist you in clearing up the warrant with the court. She will try and resolve your situation without you going to jail or having to post bail.
Infractions are the lowest level of offense you can be charged with. Infractions are punishable by a fine not jail, therefore you do not have the right to a jury trial or a government appointed attorney. However, you may hire your own attorney. Jennifer Monroe will appear with you or appear for you so you do not have to appear in court. See the Infraction Defense section for a list of infractions Jennifer Monroe can handle for you.
Arraignment on Infractions
After formal infraction charges are filed you must appear in court for arraignment. Note, your ticket will serve as the formal charging document for an infraction unless the prosecutor files a formal complaint. During the arraignment the judge will inform you of the charges against you. If you already hired Jennifer Monroe she will also be able to speak with the judge and prosecutor to negotiate an offer for you. She will then discuss the offer with you. You will then enter your plea of: 1) not guilty and set your case for court trial; or 2) guilty or no contest and accept the offer. Jennifer Monroe can help you make the right decision on how to proceed at arraignment.
Your arraignment date is set in a variety of ways: 1) if you received a ticket during a traffic stop or at the scene of a traffic stop, the ticket is called a notice to appear, your date to appear appears on the ticket; 2) if you did not receive a ticket the prosecutor may send you a notice to appear or issue a warrant for your arrest. Jennifer Monroe can help you determine what date you are to appear.
If you missed your arraignment date a warrant is out for your arrest and your driver’s license was likely suspended. Warrants are also issued by the court at the request of the prosecutor and police without any notice to you. If there is a warrant out for your arrest you can be arrested at any time by police officer and taken to jail. If you think you may have a warrant out for your arrest, contact Jennifer Monroe, she will find your warrant for you. She can also walk you into court on your warrant and fight to keep you out of jail.
Before the court and prosecution will issue subpoenas for the officers and witnesses against you for court trial, the court requires that you post bail for the charge. The amount of bail could be substantial depending on the nature of the charges and the number of charges. At the arraignment Jennifer Monroe will try to have you released on your own promise to appear without having to post bail if you qualify. If you don’t qualify for release on your promise to appear she will fight to have your bail lowered as much as possible.
Many people make the mistake that during a court trial they can just tell their side of the story to the judge and they will get their case dismissed. However, the court decides the case based on the applicable law and if you do not know the law, you will likely not succeed. Jennifer Monroe can help you evaluate your case to determine if you should go to trial.
Los Angeles and Ventura County Criminal Defense Attorney
Call Jennifer Monroe directly at (805) 501-1880 for immediate assistance with your criminal case and for a Free Consultation.