do we bail him out?

It’s probably one of the most common questions I hear when i first speak to families that are faced with a loved one in custody.  Their initial response is to rush to bail him out.   Whether this is a good idea or not, depends on two factors.  If your loved one is facing criminal charges, he will appear in court within 48 hours, not including weekends or holidays.  At that hearing the Judge or magistrate will decide to either release him from custody on his own recognizance (commonly called an O.R. Release) or to set a bail amount.   At that first hearing, we can move to get our client out on an O.R. release (which means that his promise to appear is sufficient and he need not put up any money or collateral).  We can also request that his bail amount be lowered.  One a couple of recent cases, we were able to reduce bail from 8 million to 1 million and from $120,000 to &20,0000.   On a 10 percent premium, that could save you at least $10,000 on bail.

The ultimate question remains, can you afford to bail him and AND get him proper representation.  If you can afford both an attorney and bail, then by all means get him bailed out.  You may still want to talk to us to see if we can lower the bail further or if we can guide you towards trustworthy bailbonds company. 

But if your finances don’t allow for both, then you are putting yourself in a very precarious position by bailing him out and then facing the criminal justice system without an attorney.  I have seen people bail out and appear in court without an attorney just in time for the bail to be increased and they go right back (obviously without an attorney to argue for them to stay out)

So the final word on the question of to bail or not to bail:  If you have the resources to bail and get strong representation, by all means bail them out (first consult us to see if we can save you money).   If you have to choose between bail and an attorney, remember that posting bail only gets him out that day and the criminal charges are still waiting for him.  

Best of luck,

How to choose a criminal defense lawyer.

Today, i met with some potential clients who brought up a good question that i feel many people grapple with when they or a loved one is arrested and facing criminal charges.  To many people, this is their first contact with the criminal justice system and the local courts.  Unlike Tony Soprano, most people don’t have a criminal defense attorney on retainer “just in case” something comes up.  So when they have to find a criminal defense lawyer, they feel totally clueless.

To add to the problem, most people don’t have a lot of time to research and find a criminal defense attorney.  Your loved one is arrested and is due in court in 2 days.  If its the weekend, the odds of you speaking to an attorney dwindle even more.  For these reasons, some poor souls get stuck with their family law attorney or some attorney that did a Will for their uncle representing them in criminal court.  (well-meaning attorneys who know nothing about the specialized field of criminal defense). 

 So what do you do?  What do you look for? That’s what the family of my client asked me.  They felt comfortable enough with me to tell me that they had met with 2 other attorneys and had phone consultations with 2 more attorneys in a 2 day span.  The four attorneys they met ran the spectrum. 

They met a criminal attorney downtown who had a beautiful office and had apparently been practicing for many years.  The attorney was late to their appointment and spent about 10 minutes with them, most of which he spent talking “at them” not with them.   They liked the guy’s experience and he looked successful but didn’t feel any connection with the attorney.

 The next criminal attorney was someone they spoke to over the phone.  The attorney claimed to be a “senior partner” at a large criminal defense firm.  The family said they were impressed with what the man had to say.  He spoke smoothly and confidently about being able to help their son.  The family told me they were eager to meet with the man and hire him, but that’s when everything fell apart.  The defense firm had advertised that they had a local office close by where they can meet clients.  When they asked to meet the man at that office, he told them that they don’t really have an office in that city.  They then found out that smooth talking attorney was not going to be the one meeting with them or even representing their son in court.  They were going to meet an attorney who they had not talked to and who was a young associate at the firm.  That was the end of that.

Their third contact with an attorney was someone who had mailed them a flyer to their house.   They later found out its called “Jail mail.”  The attorney had included a $500 off coupon in their pamphlet.  They never got a chance to talk to the “attorney” and spent 15 minutes talking to a paralegal. 

 The second attorney they met was a local attorney and seemed very nice.  Aside from having to reschedule their appointment once because the attorney was running late, the office seemed very professsional.  The problem came up when the attorney was unsure if they were there for a child custody case (family law) or a criminal case.  The attorney apparently mistook them for some other clients.  They felt comfortable with the attorney but they didn’t get the feeling that he knew alot about what was going to happen to their son in criminal court.

 Overall, it was fascinating to me what this family had to say about their experience in this stressful period.  They shed light on my profession as a criminal defense attorney and how it serves the community.  They also gave me a glimpse on how we can improve.  Choosing someone to represent a loved one in court is almost as important finding a surgeon.   In my discussion with the family, I came to understand 3 major things that guided their choice.  

1) Comfort Level with the Attorney.  Meeting with the attorney and speaking with him/her is key.  Don’t be sucked in by speaking to a “senior partner” or an other attorney that may send a young associate to handle your case.  The one on one connection with the person handling the case is key.  

2) Exclusively Criminal.   You wouldn’t trust your heart surgery to a doctor who spends half his time doing cosmetic surgery and liposuction.  Don’t trust your freedom to an attorney who handles family law, immigration, pet law and criminal law.  Criminal defense is a highly specialized and ever changing field and no attorney who tries to dabble in everything will do one anything really well.

3)Choose Local.  Don’t bring someone from the westside or downtown to Norwalk  or Whittier to handle your case.  They don’t come here regularly and don’t know the court, the judges and the prosecutors.  They will feel like a fish out of water and you are going to be the one that pays the price.

 Best of Luck.

Hiring a criminal defense attorney at the earliest stage is key.

The easiest thing anyone facing criminal charges can do to help themselves is to get expert help from an experienced criminal defense lawyer and most importantly, get it as soon as possible.

Being arrested and charged with a crime is a process and it takes time for the process to play out.  The one thing you want to do is to have an advocate at the earliest part of that process.  Waiting “to see what happens” is by far one of the costliest things people do.  Once you are arrested and now are facing a court date, an experienced criminal defense attorney can contact the District Attorney’s Office and talk to them about the pending charges.  The prosecutors are the ones that make decisions on what charges to file, felony or misdemeanor or whether to file charges at all.

In my experience, a client has been arrested and is given a court date.  The district attorney then goes to work to figure out what charges to file.  If you don’t have an attorney at this stage, no one will be your advocate during this critical “Pre-filing” period.  if a case is somewhat weak, any information we can give the D.A. that he or she may not have could push it into a possible “DA reject” as opposed to formal charges being filed.

 The other huge mistake some people make is to go to the first court appearance by themsleves and see what happens.  What will happen 10 times out of 10 is a worse result than if you would have had a local attorney who knows that court come with you. Sometimes, irreversible damage happens when clients show up and attempt to “talk their way out of the charges.”  First of all, the D.A. will not talk to you about the facts of the case.  So save your breath on trying to explain your way out of things.  secondly, the District Attorney might make you a plead guilty offer.  You are not an attorney and hence cannot negotiate that offer.  Take it or leave it.  Worse part about all this is that most times the DA will then write down than bad offer on her files and we are stuck with that offer even if you later try to get an attorney to come in and fix things.

So, its important to hire a good criminal defense attorney but also to hire them early.  It’s like trying to do an engine overhaul on your car and realizing you need a mechanic when the engine is on the garage floor in a 100 pieces.

Charges dismissed against client charged with Vehicular Manslaughter


A tragic car accident that claimed the life of a passenger in one vehicle became even more tragic when our client was charged with Vehicular Manslaughter for causing the accident and the death of the passenger in the other vehicle.


Our client was an elderly driver with no record and the unfortunate chance of being involved in this horrible car accident.  After the police did a short investigation, they decided to file our client with criminal charges for causing the death of the victim through his negligent driving.  The accident could have been caused by anyone under the circumstances, but the criminal charges were devastating to our client. 


Before hiring us to represent him, our client was frightened of losing his license and the very real possibility of going to jail.  His case was filed out of the Whittier Criminal Court. 


Criminal Defense Attorney Anthony Arzili negotiated with the prosecutors in Whittier court for nearly 4 months.  The final result was a great success.

 On the Eve of our Jury Trial, the District Attorney agreed to dismiss the Vehicular Manslaughter against our client.  Our client pled no contest to one count of misdemeanor reckless driving and community service and was able to save his license.