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We are BORHANI & PEJMAN

(310) 896-8529

Our mission is to make sure that every client is fully engaged in their case and that they feel like they are a part of the advocacy that is undertaken for them. This is why Borhani & Pejman is where your true defense begins.

WE CARE.

We have an underlying mission for all legal work that is conducted at Borhani & Pejman. We understand that consulting a lawyer is never easy and is often intimidating. Borhani & Pejman does not simply aim to provide outstanding legal services, but to insure that our clients are given the most personalized attention that they could imagine from a law firm.

WE DELIVER.

At our firm, we provide quality legal services at affordable rates, along with flexible payment plans that mean you won’t go bankrupt just because you want to defend your constitutional rights. We are very proud of our many achievements, both in negotiations and in verdicts.

WE ARE AGGRESSIVE.

We know the law, and we care about our clients. We focus on each individual case and work out a strategy that is geared to achieve results. We offer compassionate, interested and committed legal representation to each and every person we serve.

ABOUT LAW OFFICES
OF BORHANI & PEJMAN

The attorneys and staff at Borhani Pejman Law Firm know that choosing an attorney is an important decision. Your future depends on how your legal case is prepared and conducted. The skill of your attorney is important because he/she represents you, your name, and your reputation. That is why you must choose an attorney who will fight for you to the end and is intellectually capable of using the law to protect your rights.

We know the business landscape and understand the legal environment. We combine the technological advantages and depth of a larger firm with the cost advantages of a leaner, smaller firm. Our office is often called upon to provide timely and trusted counsel in a wide variety of legal matters for businesses, nonprofit agencies, public institutions, entrepreneurs, families, and individuals.

 

Immigration / Citizenship
Bankruptcy
Criminal Defense
Civil Litigation

ATTORNEYS

FAEZEH PEJMAN, ESQ.

Attorney at Law

Ms. Faezeh Pejman is the problem solver and the analytical brain of the law firm. Her talents are rooted in a persistent attention to detail borne from her education at the University of Southern California.

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SAAM BORHANI, ESQ.

Attorney at Law

Mr. Saam Borhani began his criminal defense career on the defense team at the Special Court for Sierra Leone, working behind the scenes of one of the most important international criminal cases in a generation.

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AARON SANSING, ESQ.

Attorney at Law

Aaron Sansing is the firm's of counsel for civil litigation and family law. Well respected by the legal community and a relentless advocate for his clients' cases, Mr. Sansing brings over a decade of civil and family trial experience to Borhani & Pejman. A graduate of Cal State Northridge and Thomas Jefferson School of Law, Mr. Sansing routinely wins high figure settlements for his clients in court and has excellent negotiation tactics that are employed against insurance companies and opposing counsel.

"Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away."

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

CRIMINAL & TRAFFIC DEFENSE

Criminal & Traffic Defense 

If you are caught driving with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (“BAC”) of .08% or more you will likely be charged with a DUI. If a DUI involves injury or a person has several prior DUI convictions, the case may be charged as a felony. Driving Under the Influence is one of the most common criminal charges in California.

DUI is a specialized area of criminal defense expertise that requires an experienced attorney who is familiar with the particularities of the law. DUI cases have many defenses that can be leveraged by an experienced criminal defense attorney to reduce or dismiss cases.

Borhani & Pejman has a team of criminal defense attorneys who have years of experience defending clients facing misdemeanor and felony DUI charges. We will formulate a personalized defense that is meant to be tailored to your specific situation and cater to your needs. If you have been charged with Driving Under the Influence, contact an experienced DUI attorney from Borhani & Pejman today at (310) 896-8529.

California domestic violence laws have become increasingly severe and prosecutors now aggressively pursue persons charged with this crime. Prosecutors may even file charges without the cooperation of the witnesses or alleged victims. Depending on the facts of the case, domestic violence cases can be charged as felonies or misdemeanors. Penalties can range from probation to imprisonment.

If you have been charged in a domestic violence case, contact Attorney an experienced attorney from Borhani & Pejman to quickly set up a free consultation. You have rights in court and you need to have an attorney that can protect your rights.

Attorneys at Borhani & Pejman have valuable experience in handling domestic violence and abuse cases in California. California domestic violence laws have become increasingly severe and prosecutors now aggressively pursue persons charged with this crime. Prosecutors may even file charges without the cooperation of the witnesses or alleged victims. Depending on the facts of the case, domestic violence cases can be charged as felonies or misdemeanors. Penalties can range from probation to imprisonment.

You have rights in court and you need to have an attorney that can protect your rights.

If you are charged with misdemeanor and felony drug possession, you may qualify for drug treatment programs in California and eventually earn a dismissal.

If you do not qualify for a drug treatment program, you may face a sentence ranging from an infraction to misdemeanor and felony convictions that result in county jail or state prison time.

If you are charged with drug possession, you need to immediately speak to our criminal defense attorneys at Borhani and Pejman. We have fought drug possession cases throughout California for years and we can help you fight your case.

If you are being charged with any kind of drug possession offense, contact the Los Angeles drug possession attorneys at Borhani & Pejman today at (310) 896-8529.

Sex crimes are considered to be one of the most serious crimes by most prosecutors. As such, any charge that includes a sex crime is extremely serious and can have radical consequences for a person’s life and career. However, sex crimes also are often tainted by false accusations, so it is especially important for any sex crime accusation to be properly investigated in a manner that takes into account the relationships involved, motives for falsification, and other factors that cast doubt on the alleged victim's accusations.

Borhani & Pejman's team of criminal defense attorneys has experience with thousands of cases aggressively defending clients facing all types of sex-related charges, and will formulate an active defense to keep you out of jail and away from harm.

If you or a loved one has been charged with any sex offense, contact a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney from Borhani & Pejman today at (310) 896-8529.

The attorneys of Borhani & Pejman are some of the few experts of traffic ticket defense in Southern California. We specialize in helping commercial license holders protect their livelihood by defending them in court and at DMV hearings. Our attorneys have dismissed or reduced thousands of tickets throughout the state by implementing a broad range of proven strategies. We know the law, the courts, and the defenses that you need to fight citations that not only drive up your insurance costs, but also threaten your license and career.

Call our ticket experts at Borhani & Pejman for
o Speeding tickets
o Suspended license
o Moving violations
o DMV hearings
o Failure to Appears
o Warrants

The criminal defense department at Borhani & Pejman is a premier team of Criminal Defense attorneys with experience handling thousands of cases throughout California. Our award winning attorneys have fought every kind of charge, including all violent crimes, assault and battery, burglary, extortion, forgery, probation violation, restraining orders, theft offenses, white collar crimes, weapons charges and gang crimes. In 2010, 2011, and 2012, Saam Borhani, the firm’s co-founder, was honored by Superlawyer Magazine as a Rising Star, an honor reserved for only the top 5% of attorneys. Our attorneys have volunteered for the defense team for the Special Court for Sierra Leone, working on one of the most controversial and historic international criminal court cases.

Your Case is Our Priority.

Whether a client’s case involves a violent crime or a less serious felony or misdemeanor offense, Borhani & Pejman provides each and every client with the highest level of legal representation. There is no "one size fits all" policy at our firm, as we realize that every client has his or her own needs and concerns. and shapes each client’s defense to meet the exact facts and circumstances of their case.

Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy
What is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

The majority of all consumer bankruptcy filings are for Chapter 7. For those in dire financial straits, Chapter 7 provides a means for a fresh start. Chapter 7 is oftentimes referred to as liquidation because debtors are required to sell their non-exempt resources and distribute the proceeds to creditors. While the prospect of liquidating your property is indeed troubling, the key here is that debtors are only required to sell non-exempt resources. In many instances this means that debtors can file for Chapter 7 without losing any assets. Gaining a better understanding of Chapter 7 bankruptcy will help you determine whether it is suitable for your circumstances.

Who is good candidate for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Liquidation can be problematic for businesses so Chapter 7 is generally most appropriate for individual debtors. But even among individuals, Chapter 7 is not always the best alternative; Chapter 13 bankruptcy sometimes provides a better remedy to those with a regular income. It is safe to say, however, that for debtors with little or no income, Chapter 7 is usually the most suitable type of bankruptcy. The one limitation is that debtors who have had their debt discharged under Chapter 7 or have completed a Chapter 13 plan within the past eight years cannot petition for Chapter 7.

Do I qualify for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

In determining whether to file for Chapter 7 you should evaluate your financial situation with a bankruptcy attorney. Ultimately you must decide whether you have enough debt to justify filing for bankruptcy. The amount of debt is not as important as your inability to repay it. Some debtors file for bankruptcy with a relatively small amount of debt while others wait until they have accumulated exorbitant amounts of debt before filing. With the assistance of an attorney, you should evaluate your debt, income, expenses and assets. A careful examination of this will help you determine whether Chapter 7 is suitable.

Chapter 7 only discharges certain types of debt so 
the first thing to consider is whether filing 
will discharge your debts. 
In most instances, Chapter 7 discharges 
the following types of debt:
o Medical bills
o Civil judgments
o Credit card debt
o Unsecured loans
You also need to know which types of debt cannot 
be discharged under Chapter 7. 
For example the following debts fall into 
this category:
o Student loans
o Alimony Child support
o Criminal fines

Because Chapter 7 does not discharge every type of debt, the real question is whether your dischargeable debt is high enough to justify filing for Chapter 7. If your debt consists mostly of student loans, Chapter 7 is probably not a suitable remedy. If your debt consists mostly of credit card debt and medical expenses, however, Chapter 7 could be very appropriate.The U.S. Bankruptcy Code requires debtors to disclose all of their monthly income and expenses. In addition to wages earned, debtors must disclose all other sources of income. The income and expenses are subjected to a means test. Debtors who pass the means test are presumed to qualify for Chapter 7. Debtors who do not qualify may still be able to file for Chapter7.

How does Chapter 7 work?

When you file for Chapter 7, an automatic stay is immediately issued which prevents creditors from collecting debts and repossessing your property. A trustee is appointed to collect all non-exempt assets. The trustee then sells the non-exempt assets and divides the proceeds among your creditors. Not everybody loses their assets – exempt assets are not subject to forfeiture. Once the bankruptcy is complete all of your dischargeable debts will be discharged. If you are concerned about losing certain assets in a Chapter 7 proceeding, you may be able to sign what is called a reaffirmation agreement. A reaffirmation agreement essentially permits you to keep certain property outside of the bankruptcy. By executing a reaffirmation agreement you can continue to pay down a mortgage or car payment to prevent forfeiture. The most difficult part of filing for Chapter 7 is determining whether it is suitable to do so. An attorney can help you evaluate your circumstances. After deciding that Chapter 7 is indeed suitable, the bankruptcy proceeding mostly consists of following the rules outlined in the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

What is Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

Debtors who file for Chapter 13 can provide input as to how their restructuring will proceed. Debtors work closely with their attorney to determine terms most favorable to their particular circumstances. The attorney drafts a written plan and submits it to the court for approval. Repayment begins about 30 days after your case is filed with the bankruptcy court, and the debtor is allowed a 3 to 5-year window in which to repay creditors. Debtors are permitted to retain all of their property. creditors are required to follow the plan closely and cannot collect debts not outlined in the plan.

The court oversees the entire process to ensure that debtor and creditor alike adhere to the terms of the plan. Filing for Chapter 13 requires more involvement from the debtor than filing for Chapter 7. The first step is determining whether it is suitable to file for Chapter 13. As with Chapter 7, it is necessary to fully evaluate not only your debts, but also your assets, income and expenses.

Chapter 13 is most appropriate for those with a regular income but who continue to have difficulty repaying debts and covering monthly expenses. Upon deciding that Chapter 13 is a good alternative, you should create a budget you can live with. Based on this budget, and with the assistance of an attorney, you should create a Chapter 13 restructuring plan to repay your debts. Your attorney will submit this plan to the court for approval and help you with filing forms and pleadings in a timely fashion. Throughout the bankruptcy proceeding, you will be required to attend meetings with creditors and the court. Once you have made all of the payments required by the Chapter 13 plan, the plan will be terminated and all debts included in the plan will be discharged.

What are the benefits of filing for 
Chapter 13?

Filing for Chapter 13 can be powerful because it effectively stops actions such as wage-garnishment, repossession and home foreclosure. When debts go unpaid, creditors sometimes seek a judgment to begin wage garnishment. This means that a portion of your wages will go directly to repaying the creditor. Oftentimes this creates severe problems for debtors

because they lose the ability to allocate their budget according to their priorities. Immediately upon filing for Chapter 13, wage garnishment ceases and creditors are relegated to receiving payments through the restructuring plan.

Home foreclosure has become a serious issue in recent times. Chapter 13 can help you avoid home foreclosure as well as vehicle repossession with what is known as the Chapter 13 cram down. As soon as you petition for Chapter 13, the court issues an automatic stay which prevents creditors from obtaining remedies such as foreclosing on your home or repossessing your vehicle.

The Chapter 13 plan will then restructure your debt so that your home and car payments become more manageable. By lowering the interest and reducing monthly payments, Chapter 13 provides a way for you to catch up on your home and car payments.

To qualify for Chapter 13 your monthly income must be substantial enough to cover both the plan payments and your regular monthly expenses. In regards to mortgage payments, the Chapter 13 plan restructures payments that have fallen into arrears, but you are still responsible to pay your monthly mortgage payments outside of the plan. Regarding car payments, future payments can sometimes be included in the Chapter 13 plan, effectively lowering the total cost of your vehicle.

Individuals with excessive back taxes and child support can also benefit from Chapter 13. These debts are not dischargeable under Chapter 7 but can be worked with under Chapter 13. Chapter 13 allows debtors to eliminate interest and penalties and create a manageable payback plan. Debtors can make payments on unpaid taxes and child support over a five year period under Chapter 13. By restructuring debt in this manner, debtors can fulfill their civic and family duties.

For debtors who do not pass the Chapter 7 means test, Chapter 13 can provide a suitable remedy. Many debtors do not qualify for Chapter 7 but are in dire need of financial assistance. Chapter 13 can provide relief for such debtors, as restructuring debt might reduce monthly expenses just enough to get them back on their feet.

Civil Litigation

Civil Litigation

The litigators at Borhani & Pejman provide the very best in informed representation of civil matters throughout California. Our practice is centered on understanding the needs of our clients and taking the time to find out the most efficient and effective means to meet those needs. Whether that path results in successful out of court solutions or aggressive representation in court trials, our methods deliver results for our clients.

Our lawyers' aim is to make injured parties whole, and that goal extends to civil litigation. Borhani & Pejman represents defendants and plaintiffs in claims, lawsuits, and arbitrations involving auto accidents, slip and fall, dog bites, slander, assault and battery, police misconduct, wrongful death, and consumer fraud.

IMMIGRATION LAW

Immigration Law

Citizenship/Naturalization

Citizenship/naturalization is the legal process by which an immigrant becomes a U.S. citizen. While one does not need a the services of an attorney to become a U.S. citizen, an experienced attorney's help can make sure the citizenship process is done correctly the first time and avoid delays or requests for evidence from USCIS as a result of missing documentation or an improperly filed application. A lawyer may also be able to help you overcome obstacles to immigration such as a past criminal conviction. A noncitizen's past criminal record, no matter how far back in time it occurred, can bar an individual from naturalization and may lead to commencement of removal proceedings and the loss of permanent residence.

Who Can Become a U.S. Citizen?

To become a U.S. citizen, you must:

o Live in the United States for at least five years (or three years if you are married to a U.S. citizen). You must be physically in the United States for at least half of that time;
o Live continuously in the United States from the date of your application up to the time of citizenship;
o Be a person of good moral character; and
o Meet requirements for literacy and knowledge of U.S. government and U.S. history.

Applicants are tested in their ability to read, write and speak words in English. However, depending on your age and how long you have been a lawful permanent resident, you may be examined in your native language. Immigration Consequences of a Criminal Conviction .

What Criminal Convictions Subject a 
Noncitizen to Deportation?

There are many crimes that would subject a noncitizen to deportation. Here are some examples:

o Fraud or theft crimes with loss greater than $10,000 (sometimes fraud or theft offenses are called "crimes of moral turpitude," since they reflect on your moral standards);
o Murder;
o Rape;
o Gun charges;
o Drug offenses;
o Money laundering;
o DUI that results in injury of another person;
o Felony assault and battery;
o Crimes of domestic violence, even if the charge is misdemeanor battery.

Immediate Relatives of U.S. Citizens

Spouses, Parents (U.S. citizen child must be 21 or older) and Unmarried Children Under Age 21.

Petitions subject to a wait

• First Preference Unmarried adult children of U.S. citizens.
• Second Preference Spouses and Unmarried children of U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents.
• Third Preference Married children of U.S. citizens.
• Fourth Preference Brothers and Sisters of U.S. Citizens.

Other ways to immigrate based on family relationship:

• VAWA self-petitions Husbands, wives, or children of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents who are physically or emotionally abused may be allowed to self-sponsor. To be eligible, the person must show that he or she was abused or subject to extreme cruelty by a spouse or parent who is either a green card holder or a U.S. citizen.
• Fiancé visas A US citizen can file a visa petition to allow his or her fiancé(e) to come to the U.S. on a K-1 visa. The fiancé(e) must marry the U.S. citizen who sponsored him or her within 90 days of entering the U.S.

EB-1 Individuals with extraordinary ability in designated fields; certain outstanding professors and researchers; or some executives and managers if certain conditions are met.

EB-2 Individuals with exceptional ability in the arts, sciences, or business and certain professionals with advanced degrees (beyond a bachelor’s degree) or a bachelor’s degree and at least five years of progressive experience in the field.

EB-3 Skilled workers, professionals holding bachelor’s degrees and other workers

EB-4 Individuals designated under the immigration statute as “Special immigrants.”

EB-5 Investors who invest between $500,000 and $1,000,000, and create at least 10 new full-time jobs, among other requirements.

B-1: The B1 Visa is for temporary business visitors. This visa allows for a variety of business and economic activities in the U.S.

B-2: The B2 Visa is issued to tourists, and may also be granted to spouses, children and parents of B1 Visa holders.

E: E visas are given to nationals of countries with which the US has signed a trade agreement who come to the US to conduct certain activities in related to trade with the designated country.

F: The F category is designated for students who are enrolled in certain authorized educational programs.

H-1B: One of the most common and popular employment-based visas, the H-1B visa is available to foreign workers to enter the U.S. temporarily for the purpose of performing services in a “specialty occupation” for a U.S. employer.

J-1: The J1 visa Program is for foreign nationals who want to participate in an exchange visitor program / internship program in the US

K: Fiancées of US Citizens and their minor children may be eligible for a K visa.

L: L1 intra company business visa allows managers, executives and specialized knowledge employees to transfer from a foreign company to a US parent, affiliated, or subsidiary branch to perform temporary jobs Owners and/or employees of smaller businesses may also apply for this visa.

O: The O-1 visa is a temporary work visa available to foreign nationals who have "extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics."

P: The P categories of visas are for non immigrants that will be coming to the U.S. to perform in athletics or entertainment.

R: Certain religious workers are allowed to work temporarily in the US on R visas.

TN: TheTN classification allows qualified Canadian and Mexican citizens to entre into the United States to engage in business activities.The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)

Asylum may be granted to people who are already in the U.S. and because of persecution or fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. To be eligible, the applicant must ask for asylum at a port of entry or subject to a few exceptions file within one year of arrival in the U.S. These factual and legal issues are complicated and require the assistance of an experienced immigration attorney.

CLIENTS' FAQ

CLIENTS' FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

If you were sued, you must act fast in order to assure that you are protected.


1. Move fast in the face of deadlines. Every lawsuit has deadlines. Make sure you are aware of the deadlines and act in accordance with them. Any delays could negatively impact your position.

2. Gather Your Documents. Begin compiling all of your relevant documents, including correspondences, contracts, pictures, and any other pieces of evidence that you think has anything to do with the lawsuit.

3. Contact our offices for a free consultation. Bring all of your documents you have gathered to the consultation. Even if you do not have the money to hire a lawyer, you should speak with us because we may be able to offer creative methods of resolving the matter quickly and inexpensively.

4. Looking at Settling or Mediation. Settlement, through formal or informal mediation, is often a preferred option. Our attorneys regularly fashion settlement agreements with opposing counsel, and its never to late to work up a deal. Of course, this option is dependent on the needs and wishes of the client. Therefore careful discussion is needed between you and our firm before deciding to embark on settlement negotiations.

5. Going to Trial. Most cases settle before going to trial, but you should always be ready for trial. Our attorneys work every case as if it will end up in front of a jury. We believe this is the best way to be prepared.

EFFORTS FOR INFORMAL RESOLUTION Our attorneys will sit down with you to examine the facts of the lawsuit. This first meeting is important because the attorney will review the relevant documents, research the law and begin to examine options for you. Our attorneys may at this point contact opposing counsel to try to resolve the matter short of litigation if it is decided that this is the best option to move forward.

FILING THE LAWSUIT AND FILING THE ANSWER The filing of a complaint with the court begins the lawsuit process. After service of the complaint, the defendant usually has 30 days to respond in the form of an "Answer", "Demurrer", or "Motion to Strike".

DISCOVERY After the defendant has filed an Answer, the discovery process begins. The discovery process allows for both litigants to properly investigate the case, and to force the opposing side to provide supporting evidence for their claims. Discovery can be in written form or in the form of a deposition.

TRIAL If a resolution is not reached, a trial ensues between the litigants. It may be in front of a jury or a judge. The plaintiff has the burden of proof to prove its claims and the defendant has the opportunity to respond to the plaintiff’s claims. The jury or judge returns a verdict after deliberations and if the defendant is found liable, an amount of monetary damages is determined in relation to the defendant’s extent of liability.

1. Talking about your case. Do not discuss your case with anyone other than your lawyer. Not even your friends or family. Anything you say can be used against you.

2. Police Do not contact any police, investigators, or the prosecutor's office without first talking to your lawyer.

3. Witnesses Immediately find and locate any potential witnesses that may have any information that will help your case.

4. Police calling you. If contacted by the police, refuse to answer any questions without your lawyer present.

5. Do not let the police search you. Never consent to any search or give anything to the police without talking with your lawyer first.

6. Be honest with your lawyer. Everything you tell your lawyer is confidential and won't be used against you. Be honest and communicate with your lawyer.

Arraignment - This is the very first court appearance the accused will have and it is the process by which a person is brought before a court to hear and answer criminal charges against the accused. Personal presence is required. If the accused is out of custody, he or she must be on time no matter what. Six things occur at arraignment: 1.) Defendant is advised of his or her constitutional rights. 2.) Counsel is appointed. 3.) The charges are read to defendant, and a copy of the complaint is provided. 4.) Defendant is invited to enter a plea to the charges. 5.) Bail is determined, which may be different than the presumptive bail amount, or defendant may be released on his or her own recognizance. 6.) A date for the defendant's next court appearance is set. As discussed more in depth below, that next date may be a preliminary hearing if at least one of the charges is a felony, or a pre-trial hearing if charges are mis

Bail Review / O.R. (Own Recognizance) - The second step is the bail review. The accused is entitled to bail review within three days of the arraignment. Bail is money that an arrested person gives to a court to ensure that he or she will appear in court when ordered to do so. The Eighth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution requires that bail not be excessive. Released "on their own recognizance," or "O.R." means if the accused has strong ties to a community, has little or no past criminal record, a job, and is not a danger to the community or a flight risk, a judge may be convinced to grant an O.R. release. Simply put, the accused released on O.R. must simply sign a promise to show up in court and doesn't have to post bail. If the judge denies O.R. release, then a lower bail amount will be requested by your Los Angeles criminal defense attorney.

First Readiness / Prelim Setting / Disposition Conference - The third step is the first readiness-conference sometimes called a settlement conference or a prelim setting. It is set before the preliminary hearing and is a good opportunity to try and resolve the case through a plea bargain. These conferences also provide an opportunity for your lawyer to obtain from law enforcement and the prosecutor, necessary information called discovery for your defense.

Preliminary Examination - The Preliminary Hearing / Pretrial Hearing - The fourth step is the preliminary hearing. If the defendant is charged with a felony, he or she is entitled to a preliminary hearing before a judicial officer within 10 court days of arraignment. (Persons charged with only misdemeanors are not entitled to a preliminary hearing.) The purpose of the preliminary hearing is to weed out weak or unmeritorious charges. Usually it is in your best interest to get this out as early as possible to allow your attorney time to attempt to settle and get prepared for the preliminary hearing. At the preliminary hearing (a.k.a. "prelim"), which is relatively informal and held before a magistrate (a judge) without a jury, the prosecutor must show that there is a strong suspicion that a crime has been committed and that the defendant is probably guilty. This evidentiary standard is relatively easy to meet, and is far less than the "beyond a reasonable doubt" evidentiary standard used at trial. This means that a defendant may be held to answer upon evidence.

Arraignment in Trial Court - If the felony charges are not dropped at the preliminary hearing, you will be arraigned in superior court where your trial will later be held. This is the arraignment after you have been bound for trial at the preliminary hearing and the next settlement conference date is set at this time along with a trial date. This is also an opportunity for your Los Angeles criminal defense attorney to file motions and demand further discovery. When the defendant is held to answer to a felony charge, the case is transferred to the trial division, where the prosecutor files a new document called "an information", which contains the offenses the defendant is accused of committing. The defendant must be arraigned on the information within 15 days of being held to answer. At the arraignment on the information, all of the procedures that occurred at the initial trial arraignment occur again. At arraignment, the judge will set a

Pre-trial Readiness Conference - The sixth step is the second readiness conference this is set up to see if your case can settle. If you cannot settle your case at this readiness conference, you will probably go to trial. At the pre-trial hearing (which occurs in both felony and misdemeanor cases), the parties may again discuss settlement of the case, discuss possible discovery issues, and make other motions, such as a 995, 1538.5. In every criminal case the prosecutor discloses to the defense who the witnesses will be and what documentary and other physical evidence will be introduced at trial. The initial discovery occurs at arraignment, where the defense is given a copy of the complaint or information, the police report, any statements made to the police by the defendant, any scientific reports (such as breath alcohol test results in a DUI case) and a list of the prosecution.

Motion Hearings - The seventh step is the pre-trial motion hearing. This allows the defendant's Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer the opportunity to challenge evidence that the prosecutor may try to introduce at trial.

Trials - The eighth and final step is the jury trial. If the defendant is answer ready on this date he or she will be assigned out to trial court, and the trial will begin within a day or so. There must be a unanimous verdict for guilt. There will usually be 12 jurors and 2 alternates. In some cases a jury trial is waived and the defendant is tried before only a judge. This is called a court trial.

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