Criminal Defense Law Frequently Asked Questions

If you’ve been accused of a crime, you may understandably be worried about how this situation will impact your future. How will it affect your ability to keep or land a job, and will it rob you of your freedom? Likewise, you may be wondering how you can protect yourself and make your voice heard. Fortunately, the Law Office of Michael C. MacNeil can help you to navigate these situations and guide you through your case with your best interests in mind.

Perhaps you’re dealing with an alleged restraining order violation, an alleged second amendment violation, or a domestic violence allegation. As a criminal defense attorney in San Diego serving clients locally and virtually throughout California, I can answer any questions you have about your criminal law matters in California.

Below, you’ll find the most common questions about what criminal defense law is, how it works in California, and how a criminal defense attorney can help.

How Arrests are Handled in California Depend on the Crime & Probable Cause

If you have been accused of committing a crime in California, such as violating a restraining order, police generally cannot arrest you without obtaining a warrant for your arrest first. However, per the criminal law in California, if a police officer has probable cause to believe that you committed a felony, he or she may arrest you without a warrant.

Know Your Miranda Rights

Note that once you have been taken into custody, police must recite your Miranda rights to you. For example, if you were arrested for an alleged criminal act in San Diego, it is within your rights to remain silent if a criminal defense attorney in San Diego is not present with you. Likewise, police should let you know that anything you say can be utilized against you. According to the criminal law in California, if the police fail to share with you your Miranda rights, any statements you make to them cannot be used against you when you go to court.

What If I am Accused of Violating a Restraining Order?

The criminal law in California severely punishes restraining order violations. For this reason, if you are accused of violating a restraining order, it is critical that you get in touch with a criminal defense attorney near you immediately to protect your rights.

Before you can be convicted of committing a restraining order violation, prosecutors have to prove five things:

  • A judge legally issued a restraining order in writing against you.
  • The judge’s restraining order addressed your content.
  • You were aware of the restraining order and its contents.
  • It was within your ability to follow the judge’s order.
  • You violated the order intentionally.

A highly skilled and experienced trial attorney can effectively defend you against your charge by demonstrating in court that the above-listed elements cannot be proven. Make sure your attorney has the trial experience necessary to defend your case in court well.

What Should I Do If I Am Accused of Committing a Second Amendment Violation?

The criminal law regarding guns in California is extremely strict compared with other states. For this reason, to avoid losing your firearms or your civil rights, it’s imperative that you contact a criminal defense attorney right away if you’ve been arrested for a gun-related offense.

Carrying with a License

Note that if you’re accused of carrying a gun with no “carry a concealed weapon” license, you could face either a felony or a misdemeanor charge. The maximum penalty for a misdemeanor is a $1,000 fine and/or a year in jail, as well as possibly three years’ probation. Meanwhile, the harshest penalty for a felony is three years behind prison bars.


Also, let’s say that you use a firearm in self-defense. If a police officer believes you used your firearm unlawfully, you will probably be taken into custody. Then, you might be charged with a violation such as felony homicide or brandishing a gun depending on the circumstances surrounding your case. The sooner you consult an attorney after being arrested for a firearm-related crime, the greater your chances of protecting your Second Amendment right and freedom.

What Should I Do If I am Accused of Domestic Violence?

If you have been arrested for domestic violence, contact an attorney as soon as possible. Per the criminal law regarding domestic violence in California, you might have defenses to your domestic violence charge, such as claiming self-defense. Your attorney can discuss your defense options with you.

Also, after your arrest, avoid contacting the other party—and that includes through their coworkers, friends, and family members. Likewise, be sure to write down the details of the incident leading to your arrest, including any contact information or names of witnesses. Your attorney should receive all of this information to help you to build a proper defense.

How Do I Protect My Rights When Dealing with Criminal Law Matters in California?

If you’re wondering what the criminal defense law is in your specific situation and how it impacts your case, let’s start the conversation today. During a free consultation either in person or virtually, I’m here to help Californians examine the details of their case and then offer next steps to help you achieve favorable outcomes that have your best interests in mind.

Contact me right away to receive a low-cost consultation regarding the criminal law situation you’re currently facing in California.