California Top Rated Criminal Defense Attorney

Criminal Defense Lawyer Protecting Your Rights

It is deeply stressful to be accused of a crime. You may be concerned about what your future holds, and you may be worried about the impact on your family. Whether you are accused of a felony or a misdemeanor, you should consult an experienced Riverside County criminal defense lawyer. Shaffer T. Cormell has more than 20 years of experience in criminal law, and he represents defendants in court every week. He understands that your freedom, your reputation, and perhaps your job are at stake. His commitment is to help defendants navigate through the confusing criminal justice system. Shaffer Cormell stays up to date with current developments in the area of criminal law. We invite you to explore some of his past results to see what he has accomplished for former clients.

DUI/DWI

Drunk driving is taken seriously in California. You can be charged with a per se DUI if your blood alcohol content is .08% or higher, and you can also be charged with a DUI for driving while impaired by alcohol. There can be significant consequences for a DUI conviction. These may include incarceration, hefty fines, the loss of a driver’s license, and the stigma of a criminal record. However, there may be arguments that a criminal defense attorney in Riverside County can raise against DUI charges. For example, an officer who pulls you over for a reasonable suspicion of criminal wrongdoing is required to honor your Fourth Amendment right to be free from an unreasonable search or seizure. If they do not, any evidence obtained in the unreasonable search or seizure can be subject to a motion to suppress.

Criminal Law

All crimes need to be established beyond a reasonable doubt, which is a tough standard for prosecutors to meet. Even so, most prosecutors pursue charges on which they believe that they have a reasonably good chance of winning. It is critical to retain an experienced criminal attorney if you are charged with a crime. Depending on the specific crime charged, a conviction may result in serious penalties, such as prison time, the loss of a driver’s license, a lifelong registration requirement, and the forfeiture of assets.

Felonies

Felonies are the most serious crimes. They carry a maximum sentence of more than a year in prison or jail. When they are particularly serious, they may be punished with life imprisonment or death. Certain felonies cannot be reduced to a misdemeanor, such as murder, rape, and lewd acts with a child under age 14. However, some felonies are “wobblers,” meaning that the prosecution has the discretion to charge them as either a felony or a misdemeanor. These include domestic violence, assault with a deadly weapon, and vandalism. A Riverside County criminal defense attorney can help you argue that a crime should be charged as a misdemeanor rather than a felony.

Misdemeanors

California misdemeanors are crimes for which the maximum sentence that can be imposed is a year in county jail. These are less serious than felonies. Most ordinary misdemeanors can be punished with a maximum of six months of jail time and a maximum fine of $1,000. Aggravated misdemeanors are those that can be punished with a maximum of a year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Sometimes a misdemeanor can be charged as an infraction, which is a lower level of offense.

Drug Crimes

The California Uniform Controlled Substances Act divides controlled substances into different schedules. For example, Schedule 1 controlled substances include opiates, heroin, and mescaline. A drug crime can be charged in connection with possession, possession with intent to sell, selling, or manufacturing of controlled substances. Under some circumstances, a criminal defense lawyer in Riverside County can get an intent to sell charge reduced to a charge involving simple possession. Sometimes it is possible to attend drug diversion programs or substance abuse education and treatment, rather than facing incarceration.

Traffic Tickets

Some people assume that they should simply pay traffic citations. However, traffic tickets can have significant consequences. When too many points are accumulated, a driver’s license may be lost. Insurance premiums may increase. Our firm has a record of success in keeping points off our clients’ driving records. We handle traffic offenses such as speeding violations, failures to stop at a red light or stop sign, illegal lane changes, driving on a suspended license, and reckless driving.

Domestic Violence

In California, domestic violence is a crime when it occurs within a familial or intimate relationship as described under the California Penal Code. You can be charged with domestic violence if you commit a criminal act against your spouse, your ex-spouse, someone whom you are dating, the co-parent of your child, or a cohabitant or a former cohabitant in your home. A prosecutor charging you for a domestic violence crime may have multiple code sections with which to charge you, and they may choose particular charges based on how serious the conduct was and how significant the injuries were. For example, you can be charged under section 243(e)(1) for battery within an intimate or familial relationship, but you could be charged under section 273.5 when willful conduct resulted in a corporeal injury that caused a traumatic condition.

Assault and Battery

Simple battery can be charged under California Penal Code 242 if the prosecutor can show that you touched a person in an offensive way. You need not have caused the victim of the battery any sort of injury or pain. If your actions constituted battery and resulted in a serious injury, you may be charged under Penal Code 243(d), which prohibits battery causing serious bodily injury. The penalties for battery can include a maximum of six months of incarceration and a $2,000 fine. However, battery against certain kinds of public employees, such as police officers and firefighters, can be charged as battery on a peace officer, which can be a felony charge. Even if you are facing only a simple battery charge, though, it is important to hire a Riverside County criminal defense lawyer who can keep your record clean.

Theft Crimes

Theft-related convictions can be especially harmful with regard to finding a job. Employers often do not want to hire job applicants who have a theft conviction on their record because they are worried about the possibility of becoming a victim of theft. This is one reason why it is so important to fight a theft charge. Theft crimes are divided into petty theft and grand theft. Petty theft occurs when the stolen money or property was worth at most $400. Grand theft is the nonconsensual taking of money or property that belongs to someone else that is worth at least $400. Other theft crimes include embezzlement, armed robbery, carjacking, identity theft, and vehicular theft.

Expungement

Often, people are able to rehabilitate from their past crimes, but a criminal record may continue to stigmatize them. Expungement is a way to mostly clear one’s record for certain purposes, such as employment or professional licensing. Penal Code section 1203.4 provides for expungement of criminal convictions. Expungement is only available if you were convicted of a felony or misdemeanor that is eligible for expungement, you got an order to terminate probation early or successfully completed probation, you were never sentenced to state prison because of the conviction or for violating the terms of probation, and you are not currently charged with a crime, on probation for a crime, or serving a criminal sentence.

Consult a Knowledgeable Criminal Defense Attorney in Riverside County

We understand that it can be terrifying to be accused of a crime. A criminal record can make it challenging to get a job or find a place to live. It is important to seek out experienced criminal defense counsel who can mount a strong defense on your behalf. Call Shaffer Cormell toll-free at (888) 922-5051 or complete our online form to find out more about your options.