Justia Lawyer Rating
State Bar of California
The National Trial Lawyers Top 40 under 40
The National Trial Lawyers, Top 100 trial lawyers
Best Lawyers
Lawyers of Distinction
Super Lawyers
Super Lawyers Rising Stars

Orange County Criminal Defense Lawyer

Being accused of a crime is extremely difficult, both mentally and physically. Unfortunately, the accusation of criminal activity alone can ruin your reputation and make it difficult to move forward in your professional and personal lives. As such, it is important to fight back if you are facing criminal charges.

With the help of a qualified and compassionate California criminal lawyer, you have the opportunity to potentially avoid serious consequences and punishments that come with being charged with a crime. Legal support is key for you and your family during this time.

Our team at Power Trial Lawyers can provide reliable legal representation for your criminal case. We have helped hundreds of clients with their defense claims and offer options for most people accused of committing crimes in our community.

Power Trial Lawyers: Your Orange County Criminal Defense Attorneys

At Power Trial Lawyers, we understand how frightening or intimidating a DUI defense argument or other criminal defense cases may feel. If you are facing false accusations of criminal activity, you may feel discouraged, frustrated, or confused about how to proceed. We have represented many people during our time in business, offering comfort and reliable information during this tumultuous process.

Our team has legal defense experience in a wide range of crimes, allowing us to represent clients in any criminal defense category. During our time in business, we have settled claims outside of court in a mediation setting, but we have also taken cases all the way to court.

We are confident we can create a defense strategy that is effective and reflects your perspective and reality. There are always at least two sides to a case, and we are here to make sure your side is heard and give you the strongest opportunity to have your case dismissed.

Our team is here for you during all stages of the criminal defense process to ensure that you feel heard, seen, and properly represented in court.

What Is Criminal Defense Law?

Criminal cases make up a large portion of the legal system. A criminal claim occurs when the state or federal government formally accuses an individual or group of committing a legal activity. The government does this as a way to enforce laws and hold rule-breakers accountable for their illegal actions.

Criminal cases are in contrast to civil claims, where one individual or group presses charges against another individual or group for the harm that they caused. In a civil claim, the punishment is usually financial, such as a fine or reparations. In a criminal case, those found guilty often have to serve time in prison or jail or face similar legal consequences to atone for their wrongdoings.

When someone is accused of a crime, they act as the defense in the criminal case and employ a criminal defense attorney to help them discredit the accusations against them through evidence and arguments to the contrary. Though the United States maintains that every person accused of a crime is innocent until proven guilty, the accused must work to discredit the prosecution’s claims through concrete evidence and well-formulated arguments if they wish to avoid criminal charges and the subsequent punishments.

Why Do I Need a Private Criminal Defense Attorney?

Criminal charges are serious because they come with life-altering punishments such as incarceration, steep fines, and probation. Depending on the crime, a defendant could spend the rest of their lives in prison as the result of a criminal case. Unfortunately, some of the people who serve time in the prison system are innocent, but they didn’t have the support and representation of a good defense attorney during their claims.

Though the law guarantees that everyone accused of a crime will be assigned to a public defender if they cannot afford legal representation, it is important to avoid using this option if you can help it. Public defenders are in short supply and are often assigned far more cases than the average private attorney. As such, public defenders often cannot spend proper time and attention with each of their clients. Your case will almost certainly suffer if your attorney does not have the time to get into the details and formulate a creative defense strategy tailored to your unique situation.

Your life, family, and reputation are all at risk during the criminal defense process. You can easily lose everything that you have worked for if the court finds you guilty. It is important to make a strong effort to avoid guilty charges and do everything in your power to clear your name. The most effective way to achieve these objectives is with the help and support of an Orange County criminal defense attorney from Power Trial Lawyers.

How Much Does a Private Orange County Criminal Attorney Charge?

It is natural to be concerned about the cost of private representation, as it can be a significant expense. Many attorneys charge between $250 and $500 per hour.

Unfortunately, it is difficult to say how much your claim will cost because it depends on your unique circumstances and the complexity of your claim. Additionally, all attorneys charge differently for their legal services, which makes it difficult to estimate how much the process may cost.

To ensure you can afford your legal representation, ask any potential attorneys what their fees and payment structures are. This will allow you to anticipate the expenses more accurately.

Types of Criminal Defense Cases

As mentioned above, criminal cases encompass over half of the legal system and allow the government to enforce laws through fair trials and peer-led juries. As such, there are many different types of criminal cases, as well as different severities and charges within each type. If you are facing a criminal case and are acting as the defense, you need to understand your situation from a legal perspective so that you can make empowered decisions about your case.

Our team at Power Trial Lawyers has represented clients in all of the categories below. Our wide range of experience makes us well-equipped to represent you and has given us significant empathy toward all of our clients.


DUI defense is the most common type of criminal case, as many people drive their cars daily. As a result, there are many opportunities for DUIs to occur.

Driving under the influence, or DUI, occurs when a driver gets behind the wheel of a car with a blood alcohol level of .08% or any amount of illegal or recreational drugs in their system. The law sets these limits because drivers have diminished hand-eye coordination and the capability to make fast decisions when under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Both coordination and quick decision making are crucial to driving safely and avoiding collisions.

The law categorizes DUIs as “wobbler” charges, which means they can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the case’s unique circumstances. In most cases, a DUI is considered a misdemeanor. However, if the driver already has multiple DUIs on their record, their blood alcohol content (BAC) was egregiously high, or the driver killed or seriously harmed someone during their DUI, the charges may be felony in nature to protect the community from further harm.

All DUI charges in California come with the possibility of jail or prison time, fines, mandatory DUI classes, and consequences from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The DMV often suspends licenses or limits driving privileges after a driver has committed a DUI. Drivers may also need to have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed on their car to eliminate the possibility of operating their own vehicle under the influence.

Though a DUI may seem like a small infraction, it is not. If the court finds you guilty, you will face significant obstacles in your day-to-day life, as well as ongoing legal issues such as jail time or steep fines.

Assault and Battery

Assault and battery are violent crimes that the law takes very seriously to protect the public. Though some people with criminal records can find fairly suitable employment after they have served their time, those accused of assault or battery may have difficulty. The violence of these offenses makes managers and hiring professionals wary that you will be dangerous to their current employees. Because of this, you need to fight diligently for your rights after an assault or battery accusation.

The law defines assault as “an unlawful attempt, coupled with a present ability, to commit a violent injury on the person of another.” This means you do not have to actually harm someone to face assault charges. Threatening or trying to assault someone with a valid ability to do so is enough to bring charges against you.

Examples of assault include:

  • Punching, kicking, or hitting
  • Choking
  • Throwing objects
  • Sexual assault
  • Cutting

This is not a definitive list of assault types, and your assault action may be different from the offenses listed above.

Though nearly any criminal activity can be “aggravated” if a weapon is involved, it is especially common for assault and battery charges to be aggravated. This is because many people use weapons such as knives and guns to commit assault. If you had a weapon at the time of the alleged offense, even if you did not use the weapon, you may face additional charges for aggravated assault.

As with DUIs, assault and battery is a “wobbler” offense, meaning they can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the situation.

Sexual Assault

If an attack or violent outburst is sexual in nature, the court will charge the defendant with sexual assault, perhaps in conjunction with other charges. Common examples of sexual assault offenses include:

  • Rape or any nonconsensual sexual activity
  • Trafficking
  • Exploitation

There are many other types of sexual assault that can be part of your charges. If you are unsure of what you are being charged with or how your case is expected to proceed, please speak directly to your Power Trial Lawyers attorney.

Though sexual assault is very serious, accusations are not always accurate or legitimate. If you are facing sexual assault charges, please understand that there is hope to clear your name. Because the jury must find you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, our attorneys can help to refute the prosecution’s claim and infuse doubt into the minds of the jury about your case if it goes to trial.

Murder, Manslaughter, and Homicide

Though many people use the terms “murder,” “manslaughter,” and “homicide” interchangeably, their definitions are distinct and important to understand so that you can fully comprehend the charges you are facing.

Homicide is the overarching category of offenses that result in a person’s death, with manslaughter and murder falling within the umbrella of homicide. Murder is intentional killing, while manslaughter is accidental or involuntary. The degrees of the offense, such as second-degree murder, etc., reflect whether the offender planned their offense ahead of time or whether the impulse arose in the moment.

Those who are found guilty of homicide charges will experience extreme difficulty finding gainful employment, appropriate housing, and applying for assistance because of their record. Even employers and landlords who offer options for those with a felony record will hesitate to hire someone with a homicide charge, especially murder. Because of this, it is important to make every effort to clear your name and avoid punishments for these crimes.

White-Collar Crimes

Unlike violent crimes, white-collar crimes are nonviolent offenses that are usually motivated by money or finances. However, though the offenses are nonviolent, they can still inflict a great deal of harm on the victims, which is why the government prosecutes them as felony offenses.

Examples of white-collar crimes include:

  • Fraud, such as healthcare fraud
  • Embezzlement
  • Money laundering
  • Tax evasion
  • Forgery
  • Identity theft
  • Extortion

There are other examples of white-collar crimes that may apply to your situation, depending on what you have been accused of doing.

White-collar crimes are usually complicated and require a significant amount of proof to convict. If you are being accused of a white-collar offense, having a defense attorney can especially impact the trajectory of your case. We can use the complexity of these claims to our advantage and develop a defense strategy that effectively infuses the prosecution’s argument with doubt.

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence falls under the criminal legal system, but the outcomes and punishments depend on the severity of your situation. Though many people believe that domestic violence only happens between romantic partners, it can happen between any people who live together or have a close connection. This includes:

  • Roommates
  • Siblings, including step-siblings and half-siblings
  • Parent and child
  • Grandparent and grandchild
  • Spouses

If you have been accused of domestic violence, it is imperative that you take action to protect yourself right away, as the consequences of domestic violence appear quickly and are all-encompassing. The police or law enforcement officers who respond to domestic violence calls are legally obligated to prevent further harm to victims. This means most alleged abusers are forced out of their homes for a simple accusation of domestic violence.

Domestic violence falls under three distinct categories:

  1. Physical, including hitting, punching, kicking, slapping, choking, etc. These offenses are similar to assault charges, but they happen between two people who live together or have a close connection.
  2. Mental or emotional, including manipulation, gaslighting, yelling, put-downs, etc.
  3. Financial, including withholding shared money, stealing, or otherwise using finances to control the other person.

Any of the above types of domestic violence can yield serious consequences if you are found guilty. It is important to act quickly if you have been accused of domestic violence of any kind.

Drug Possession

Drugs and other controlled substances are heavily prosecuted in the United States legal system. The court assesses the kind of drug that the defendant had, as well as the quantity, before assigning a charge or a punishment. Schedule 1 drugs are those with a high potential for addiction and abuse, while Schedule 5 have some accepted medical uses and a lower potential to be abused. Those who are arrested for possession of Schedule 1 drugs will face stricter penalties than those arrested for possession of Schedule 5 drugs.

Though cannabis is recreationally legal in California, private citizens are not allowed to distribute or traffic cannabis. If you have more than the legal limit of cannabis in your possession, the court can still charge you under the assumption that you will be distributing the drugs illegally.

Please note that the drugs do not need to be on your person at the time of your arrest for you to be found guilty. If they are on your property or in a location that is under your control, you can still be arrested and found guilty of drug possession.

Because the law is strict on drugs, you need to take action if you have been accused of a drug crime. The consequences can affect all other areas of your life, and your only recourse is to hire a defense attorney.

Gun Possession

Though many people legally own firearms in the United States, the laws surrounding the possession of firearms are complicated. It is fairly easy to be accused of illegally possessing a gun, as many people are ineligible from legally buying or having them. If you have a felony record, for example, you are likely ineligible to legally own a gun to protect your community.

The state of California is especially strict about gun ownership and prosecutes violations to the fullest extent of the law. As such, it is essential for you to protect yourself with a qualified attorney if you have been accused of gun possession.

What to Do if You Are Arrested on Criminal Charges

If you are accused of a crime or arrested on criminal charges, it is important to remain calm and not resist. Resisting arrest or arguing with the police can both be used as evidence in your case, and neither will look good to a jury. They may view these actions as an inadvertent admission of guilt or fear of facing repercussions.

As the arresting officer is obligated to tell you, you have the right to remain silent during your arrest and the questioning process at the police precinct, and it is in your interest to do so. Even a small comment or question can be used against you as evidence of guilt, and prosecuting attorneys are highly trained to spin these types of comments into strong arguments. To avoid this, remain silent except to ask for your attorney. Your case will be safer if you allow your attorney to make your statement for you.

Your Role in a Criminal Defense Argument

The United States law declares that defendants are “innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.” In other words, you are not obligated to prove your innocence. Rather, the prosecution must prove that you are guilty. However, this does not mean you and your attorney do not have a job to do. Your role may be particularly challenging as you must anticipate the prosecutor’s tactics and present evidence to the contrary.

If your case makes it to court, your attorney will have the opportunity to cross-examine the prosecution’s witnesses, as well as call their own witnesses to establish doubt in the prosecution’s argument. Your attorney will be able to identify any evidence that may help with this based on your unique situation.

Alternative Sentencing

California courts aim to hand out sentences that suit the crimes that are committed. The more serious the offense, or the more bodily harm that you caused, the more serious the punishments will be.

In some circumstances, defendants are eligible for alternative sentencing options such as community service, educational classes, or house arrest. Generally, this is only available for those who have committed nonviolent crimes and who do not have an existing criminal record, as the court is still obligated to protect the public if there is a threat. First-time DUIs that do not result in death or injury, for example, often result in alternative sentences rather than jail time.

If you wish to be considered for alternative sentencing options, it is important to have your lawyer negotiate these options on your behalf. These options may be part of a plea deal if your attorney believes you will be found guilty in a court setting.

Appeals for a Criminal Defense Case

If you have already gone through your criminal case and were found guilty, you still have options such as filing an appeal. However, many people misunderstand what appeals are and the capacity that they have.

The appeals system allows you to ask a higher court to look into your case and evaluate the decision that resulted from your original trial. You may only file an appeal if you believe there was a misappropriation or misuse of justice based on the evidence and witnesses in your case. You may not file an appeal simply because you did not agree with the outcome of your claim, nor may you introduce new evidence to the appeals court.

In an appeal, the appeals court will review only the case that has already transpired to see if the judge, attorneys, jury, or other party involved in the case violated the law or mishandled the judicial system. You have limited opportunities to file for an appeal, so be sure you have grounds to do so before you act.

If an appeal is not appropriate, other options may be available to you if you have been found guilty of a crime.

AB 2942 and Sentencing

If you are currently serving time for a criminal offense, a recent law may be able to minimize your sentence. Assembly Bill 2942 calls for a re-evaluation of harsh sentences to determine whether the sentencing was appropriate for the crime committed. In many cases, the court is finding that punishments were too harsh and are, therefore, not productive in the pursuit of justice.

Factors like good behavior, rehabilitation, and a minimized risk of repeat offenses all contribute to your likelihood of receiving a reduced sentence through AB 2942. In these claims, your attorney will work with a district attorney to reevaluate your claim and decide whether the punishment fits the offense. If you have served some of your time and have taken steps to improve yourself and demonstrate good behavior, AB 2942 will be more helpful to you than if you have not begun your sentence or are otherwise unimproved from the time of your arrest.

Power Trial Lawyers Is Your Trusted Option for Criminal Defense

Our team at Power Trial Lawyers understands how intimidating and complex criminal defense claims can be. We are here to answer your questions and develop the most effective possible defense strategy for the unique circumstances of your case. You and your family can trust us during this difficult and confusing time.

For more information or to schedule a consultation with a member of our team, please contact Power Trial Lawyers today.

Client Reviews
"Matthew is the most knowledgeable lawyer. I have worked with teams of lawyers and none of them were as knowledgeable and prompt as Matthew. I trust all of my company’s legal affairs with Matthew. He makes me rest easy knowing he is on it.” Michael
"Matthew is the epitome of hard work and dedication, when it comes to his work. Matthew has helped me with all my contractual work needed to help me launch my start up. Matthew is honest, diligent and relentless." Carol
"Matthew was very responsive and caring for my case. He handled my case with efficiency and made sure to secure exactly what we wanted. He has represented my company previously and when we needed a lawyer, it was no question – we phoned Matthew!" Tony