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Criminal Law

Pleasanton Lawyer Helping Clients Defend Against Prosecution

Criminal law is intended to prevent crimes by prescribing punishment for certain offenses. In a criminal proceeding, the government files legal charges against individuals who have allegedly committed a crime. In California, the criminal justice system is complex, with the circumstances of every case dictating the severity of charges as well as any potential defenses. At our firm, Pleasanton criminal defense lawyer John W. Noonan brings over 45 years of experience to his advocacy on behalf of East Bay residents in need of legal representation in adult and juvenile court. Mr. Noonan and our skilled team provide clear and consistent communication throughout the legal process as we work to dismiss or reduce criminal law charges. Clients of our firm communicate directly with Mr. Noonan, who maintains offices in Dublin and Manteca in order to best serve individuals throughout the Tri-Valley area.

Standard of Proof in Criminal Cases

Evidence plays a key role in all criminal law cases, from DUI cases to cyber crimes. According to California law, the standard for criminal cases requires that a jury be satisfied that all elements of the crime have been proven by the prosecution. This means that the state must show the evidence is so conclusive that reasonable doubt does not exist in the mind of the ordinary person. In other words, the evidence need not show absolute certainty, but there are certain factors that must be met.

In a criminal case alleging a DUI charge, for example, it is critical to understand the role played by evidence. The prosecution may rely on a field sobriety or chemical test to show that the defendant had been driving under the influence of alcohol. A skilled criminal defense lawyer in the Pleasanton area can investigate whether there may be a way to reduce or dismiss charges based on the method used to obtain these test results. Legal options may also be available to help a defendant when a Breathalyzer test involved faulty equipment.

Evidence Must Support all Elements of a Crime

To bring charges against a defendant, the prosecution must show evidence that meets all elements of the crime. For example, a charge of murder under California Penal Code section 187 is the unjustified and unlawful killing of another human being with malice aforethought. Murder is an example of a crime that requires the prosecution show a mental state as well as an act. The defendant’s mental state at the time the crime was committed may dictate the severity of the criminal charge brought by the prosecution.

As an element of murder, intent to kill differentiates this criminal charge from manslaughter. The defendant’s mental state, or specifically, whether they knew that death would occur and intended death to occur, determines whether the charge will be murder or manslaughter. A manslaughter charge does not include the mental element of intent. In some DUI cases, the defendant may be charged with manslaughter if a crash accidentally resulted in the death of others. A seasoned Pleasanton criminal defense attorney can assess whether the prosecution is likely to be able to meet the necessary elements of the charges against you.

Misdemeanors and Felonies

Criminal law includes both misdemeanors and felonies set forth in the California Penal Code. These are two separate categories of crimes. Misdemeanor crimes are typically considered less serious, and punishable by under one year of imprisonment or fines. An example of a misdemeanor crime may include a first-offense DUI conviction. Some crimes are termed wobblers and can be prosecuted as either a misdemeanor or felony. In these situations, the prosecution will determine charges based on the circumstances of the case, as well as any potential criminal record.

Retain a Pleasanton Lawyer Skilled in Fighting Criminal Law Charges

The manner in which a criminal case is prosecuted is dictated by the facts and evidence. For example, the defendant’s use of a weapon in an alleged assault may increase the prosecution's charges from a misdemeanor to a felony. Serving people in Pleasanton and surrounding areas, criminal defense attorney John W. Noonan understands the nuances of criminal law as he fights for the rights of his clients. Relying on decades of trial experience, Mr. Noonan and his team are prepared to advocate fully for residents of Dublin, Manteca, and other nearby areas who are facing criminal law charges, from misdemeanors to felony crimes. Our firm can be reached 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Either call us directly at (925) 463-3340 or complete our online form. Mr. Noonan is dedicated to protecting the rights of those accused throughout the Tri-Valley Area and the East Bay.