Criminal Defense Attorneys in Rancho Cucamonga
Serving all of San Bernardino County and the entire Inland Empire region
Are you facing criminal charges?
If you have been arrested or are the subject of a criminal investigation in Rancho Cucamonga, CA it’s important to seek legal counsel as soon as possible. With the possibility of imprisonment, heavy fines, and your reputation on the line, you simply can’t afford to gamble with your future.
Rancho Cucamonga Criminal Defense is committed to protecting the rights of the accused in San Bernardino County and throughout the Inland Empire. No matter what charge you’re facing — whether it’s a misdemeanor like shoplifting or Driving Under the Influence (DUI), or a serious felony like robbery, rape, or murder — our priority is to provide you with the strongest defense possible to tip the scales of justice in your favor.
Top Notch Criminal Defense Attorneys Fighting For You
Rancho Cucamonga Criminal Defense is the partnership of two seasoned criminal defense attorneys with 37 years combined experience.
Joshua P. Visco has been practicing criminal law since 1996 and has earned the unique distinction as a California State Bar Board Certified Specialist, a credential fewer than 1% of attorneys possess in the state.
As your attorney, I can offer something most other defense lawyers cannot — the prosecutor’s “playbook.” I know how prosecutors think because I used to be one. Early in my career, I worked in the hardcore gang unit of the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office responsible for prosecuting serious violent crimes.
As a criminal defense lawyer, I use what I learned as a prosecutor to give my clients a legal edge that wins cases.
David E. Wohl‘s career spans 27 years as a criminal defense attorney. When he’s not in the courtroom, you can catch him on Fox News programs “Kelly’s Court” and “America’s News Headquarters” where he serves as a legal analyst.
Throughout my 27+ year career, I’ve litigated more than 65 jury trials and hundreds of bench trials. I have expertise in all areas of criminal law but specialize in juvenile dependency matters as well as litigating in Child Abuse Central Index (CACI) hearings.
With every client I represent, I strive to deliver a favorable outcome of their case, whether that means getting charges reduced or dismissed.
If you have been charged with a misdemeanor or felony crime in Rancho Cucamonga, CA, you have a right to a strong defense. Call us today to schedule a Free consultation (714) 315-7152
If You Are A Suspect and Have Not Been Charged
If you are currently in pre-trial and are being investigated, you have the right to remain silent until you have an attorney present. You’ve heard the phrase — “anything you say, can and will be used against you in a court of law.” If you bring us on board, we will be there with you to make sure the authorities are asking fair questions, and we will instruct you to defer the question or respond without incriminating yourself.
You Were Arrested Without Probable Cause
If a police officer investigated the alleged crime scene and made an arrest without compelling proof of guilt, charges may be dropped before a trial even begins due to insufficient evidence or improper procedure.
You Were Arrested And Bail Has Been Posted
You have been detained prior to trial and can be released if bail is paid. A suggestion to the court can be made to reduce or waive your bail altogether.
If You Know You Will Be Found Guilty
If you know you will be convicted of a crime, you may want to enter into a plea bargain with the prosecution. A plea bargain is a mutually agreed upon deal that reduces the charges to a lesser crime or lesser sentencing.
Rancho Cucamonga Criminal Defense has negotiated many plea bargains on behalf of clients that have resulted in a reduced punishment.
Taking a plea bargain is a huge decision. Together we will weigh the pro’s and con’s and move forward with a deal you feel comfortable with. If you are a minor charged with a crime, some courts will want to try you as an adult. We will present a compelling case to ensure you are charged as a juvenile.
Services When Your Case Goes to Trial
If your case goes to trial, you can count on us to be fully prepared on Day 1. Having tried many cases in the Rancho Cucamonga and San Bernardino counties, we have familiarity and experience in how the local courts operate.
Before we enter the courtroom, we will make sure that we have developed an effective defensive strategy that gives you the best chance of acquittal.
In order to present a well-rounded case on your behalf, our firm recruits other legal professionals to provide expertise in a broad range of areas. The following are just some of the experts who can provide helpful counsel toward proving your innocence:
- Private investigators
- Forensic specialists
- Litigation consultants
Rancho Cucamonga San Bernardino Superior Court
If you’ve been charged with a criminal offense in Rancho Cucamonga, CA, your case will
be heard in the Rancho Cucamonga Superior Court located at 8303 Haven Avenue. The steps in the court process will vary according to whether the alleged crime is classified as a misdemeanor or felony. While many of the procedural steps are the same, there are some significant differences.
The following crimes are considered misdemeanors under the California Penal Code
- Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
- Driving on a Suspended License
- Disorderly Conduct
- Petty Theft
- Public Drunkenness
- Prostitution or other sex crimes
- Domestic violence
Penalties for Misdemeanors
- maximum $1,000 fine and
- up to one year in county jail
- revoked driver’s license
The following crimes are considered felonies under the California Penal Code
- white collar crime and fraud
- assault with a weapon
Penalties for Felonies
- more than a year in a county jail or a state prison
Certain offenses in California can be charged as “wobblers” — which means they can be filed as either a misdemeanor or felony. The determination is often made based on the circumstances of your case and your criminal history. The most common wobblers in California include burglary, assault with a deadly weapon, spousal battery, sex crimes and fraud charges.
Criminal Procedures in Rancho Cucamonga Court
If you are suspected of committing a crime, a law enforcement official will contact you. During this time, police may acquire a search warrant which would give them permission to access your home, business, or personal property for evidence in support of their investigation. Once the police have gathered the evidence they need, they will send your case to the District Attorney’s office. At this stage, the DA will either file charges against you, end the investigation with no charges, or request that the police pursue further evidence.
The best time to seek the legal services of Rancho Cucamonga Criminal Defense is when you are under investigation or have just been charged. The earlier you involve us in the process, the better off you’ll be. We can either convince the District Attorney to not pursue the case or consider reducing the charges. When you bring us on board, we can inform you of your rights and shield you from police questioning.
The worst thing you can do is speak to the police without an attorney present.
Law enforcement has the legal authority to arrest you if they have reasonable or probable cause to believe you committed a crime. An arrest usually occurs when a police officer witnesses the crime firsthand or has obtained an arrest warrant.
Being arrested does not imply automatic guilt. The police are still in the process of gathering evidence for the prosecuting attorney to decide if charges should be filed and if so, what those charges will be.
While in police custody, you will be taken to the West Valley Detention Center, also known as the San Bernardino County Jail in Rancho Cucamonga where you will be fingerprinted, searched, and possibly questioned.
Upon arrest, one of three things will happen:
- no charges will be filed and you will be released
- bail is posted and you are released of your own recognizance but agree to appear in court for future arraignment
- remain in jail and brought to court for arraignment
Initial Appearance or Arraignment
Your first appearance in court will be to go before a judge for an arraignment on the felony or misdemeanor complaint. If you have been charged with a felony, you must be brought before a judge in the lower court within 24 hours of your arrest.
During an arraignment, the judge will read the complaint which states the specific charges the District Attorney is accusing you of committing. You will respond to the charges by entering a plea of either Not Guilty, Guilty, or No Contest.
If you are still in custody at the time of our arraignment, Rancho Cucamonga Criminal Defense will try to have you released either of your own recognizance or assist you on posting bail. Bail is money or property used as collateral to ensure you will return for future court dates. The amount of bail will depend on a few factors such as the severity of the crime and whether or not you are considered a threat to the public or a flight risk.
Preliminary Hearing For Felony Charge
If you have been charged with a felony and entered a Not Guilty plea, a judge or magistrate will schedule a preliminary or probable cause hearing ten days after your arraignment.
At this hearing, the prosecution must provide the court evidence to establish that a crime was committed and that there is probable cause that you are the perpetrator. Criminal Defense Attorney Visco or Wohl will have the opportunity to attack the prosecution’s evidence as well as cross examine any witnesses.
The overall purpose of the preliminary hearing is not to determine guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, but rather to see if there is enough evidence to proceed to a trial.
Upon hearing arguments from both the prosecution and defense, the judge will either
- hold you over for trial in the Superior Court or higher court
- downgrade a felony charge to a misdemeanor
- dismiss charges altogether
Second Arraignment in Higher Court for Felony Charge
If the judge concludes that there is probable cause you committed the crime, you will be arraigned in the upper court, also known as the Superior Court. At the arraignment, a judge will schedule a future trial date. You have a right to a speedy trial which can take place 60 days from the date of your arraignment in the Superior Court.
Two to three weeks after you enter a plea at your arraignment, the court will set a pre-trial conference. This conference is an opportunity to negotiate with the prosecutor in an attempt to settle the case without having to go to trial.
Discovery Phase: During the proceeding, the prosecutor has an obligation to disclose all the evidence they intend to present if the case goes to trial, including police reports, lab reports, witness statements, etc. Criminal Defense Attorney Josh Visco or Dave Wohl will scrutinize all the evidence to identify weaknesses in the prosecutions case. During this time we can file motions such as the motion to suppress evidence and get the case thrown out or we can attempt to negotiate a plea deal.
Plea deals usually involve pleading guilty in exchange for a reduction in charges and/or alternatives to imprisonment, which may include:
- paying restitution to victim
- completing a counseling program or doing community service
If a plea deal cannot be reached, your case will proceed to trial.
California’s Three Strikes Law
If you have prior felony convictions on your record, a district attorney may try to use California’s Three Strikes Law to enhance your punishment for the crime you are currently being accused of committing.
A “strike” is a conviction of a serious or violent felony. If you already have one strike against you on your record and pick up a second strike, your sentence for your current conviction would double. For example, if you were sentenced to 2-4 years in prison, it would be increased to 4-8 years. On the other hand, if this is your third strike, and you’ve had 2 prior felony convictions, you would face a minimum of 25 years to life in prison.
The Three Strikes Rule is one of the harshest sentencing schemes in the country. In 2012, the rule was amended under Prop 36 because individuals who received a second or third strike were receiving 25 years to life for felonies that were non-violent. Today, a harsh penalty will only be imposed if a subsequent felony is serious or violent. For example, if your third strike was felony shoplifting or felony DUI you would not “strike out” and face the mandatory 25 years to life sentence.
If you are in a position where you are facing your second or third strike, Rancho Cucamonga Criminal Defense will vigorously fight to protect your freedom. We have successfully handled many “three strikes” cases and know what it takes to achieve a favorable result. Depending on the facts of your case, we can strive to reduce a prior felony conviction to a misdemeanor or change a current charge from being a strike offense to a normal charge.
In California, you have a right to a jury trial with 12 jurors from your community. The prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the alleged crime. All 12 jurors must be unanimous in their verdict. If you are found guilty, you will attend a sentencing hearing where a judge will state your punishment. You may appeal a felony conviction within 60 days.
The criminal defense attorneys at Rancho Cucamonga Criminal Defense have an excellent track record litigating in court and will fight vigorously to preserve your freedom.