San Francisco Criminal Defense Attorneys
Fierce and worthy opponents to defend your rights
The Law Office of K.J. Petsas, PC, a criminal defense law firm serving San Mateo and the San Francisco Bay area, has 30 years of experience battling charges of criminal offense on behalf of our clients. We are relentless in the pursuit of justice.
We routinely handle the following types of criminal defense:
What to expect from the criminal process
The more you know about criminal law procedure, the more clear-headed you can be. Often those charged with a crime confess to crimes they didn't commit, lash out at anyone around and make poor decisions that affect their lives and their liberties.
At the Law Office of K.J. Petsas, PC, our San Francisco and San Mateo criminal defense attorneys want to make sure our clients have all the facts and that they know what to expect. We explain their rights in easy-to-understand language. We review the options and the risks and benefits. We do all we can to minimize the impact on your life.
- Stop — The police may stop you for questioning. You have the right to refuse to answer.
- Search — If probable cause exists, a judge can issue a search warrant to look for items connected with the alleged criminal activity. Warrants are not necessary for all searches.
- Arrest — In order to be arrested, there must be probable cause that a crime was a committed and that you committed it. You have two important constitutional rights: the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney.
- Booking — Following your arrest, the police escort you to the police station for the booking process and you will be fingerprinted, interrogated, searched and photographed.
- Appointment of an attorney — If you cannot afford an attorney and you have been charged with a crime punishable by imprisonment or a fine of at least $500, an attorney is appointed to defend you.
- Arraignment — You appear in court once criminal charges are filed and you will be asked to enter your plea to the crime with which you have been charged. In California, this includes guilty, not guilty and no contest. If you plead guilty or no contest, you will be sentenced without trial.
- Bail/bond — Cash, a bail bond or court-depending, a pledge of property — ensures you appear for further criminal proceedings.
- Plea bargaining — Your defense attorney can negotiate a deal with the prosecuting attorney. This may involve pleading guilty to a lesser charge. As the defendant, it is always your choice whether to accept the proposed plea agreement.
- Trial — If you do not reach a plea agreement with the prosecutor (many prosecutors will consider one), your case moves toward trial. The U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to a speedy trial, that is, a trial will be held within a certain time frame after you have been charged. Depending on the charges, you may have the right to a trial by jury. The burden of proof that you committed the crime lies with the prosecution.
- Sentencing — A judge determines your punishment if you plead guilty or no contest or if you are found guilty. Depending on the seriousness of the crime, sentencing could include payment of a fine, jail or prison time, paying for damage caused by the crime, probation, community service, drug rehabilitation or death.
- Appeals — In the event you are found guilty, you have the right to an appeal, usually 14 days after judgment.
- Expungement — In some circumstances, you may be able to have your criminal record removed, or in the case of juvenile records, destroyed.
You are protected by the U.S. Constitution
Several constitutional amendments address specific rights that are important to successful criminal defense:
- The 4th Amendment — Protects you against unreasonable search and seizure
- The 5th Amendment — Gives you the right to remain silent. Refrain from speaking to a law enforcement officer until you speak with your attorney.
- The 6th Amendment — Guarantees your right to a qualified, competent attorney of your choice
Know your rights
Serving clients in San Mateo and the San Francisco Bay area, the criminal defense lawyers at the Law Office of K.J. Petsas, PC offer the experience and attentive counsel you need to tackle defense of your criminal charges. We are conveniently located in South San Francisco and encourage you to give us a call at 650.624.8155 or contact us online to take advantage of our free initial consultation. We return all calls within 12 hours.