West Hollywood is known throughout the world as one of the most interesting cities in California. There's a lot of activity going on there and for the last 26 years I've been handling cases that occur within West Hollywood's jurisdiction.
There's no court in the city of West Hollywood, so most of the cases used to go to the Hollywood court which has been closed now for a number of years. So, West Hollywood is kind of divided up jurisdictionally where some of the cases will go to Van Nuys.
Some of the cases will go to downtown Los Angeles, and yet, some of the cases may also end up going to the Airport court. So, you really have to look when you get arrested and you end up getting a ticket — a citation to appear in court — or if you get arrested and you post a bail, you have to look to see which court they're sending you to. That's the first step.
Who Prosecutes Crimes in West Hollywood?
Once you have the court, obviously you're going to meet with an attorney. I've been doing this now for 26 years — handling criminal cases that arise out of the city of West Hollywood. I know the different types of crimes that are usually prosecuted there.
You have the City Attorney's office and you also have the District Attorney's office who are the lawyers that are in charge of prosecuting crimes.
What basically happens is, typically the Sheriffs or the Los Angeles police department come in contact with somebody. They end up arresting them or they decide to give somebody a citation for some sort of a criminal act.
The person is given a court date and then the police have the responsibility to send that paperwork to the prosecutors. The prosecutors who are lawyer like me, then look at the paperwork and decide whether or not they're going to file a criminal case, and if they are going to file a criminal case based on an incident that happened in West Hollywood, what charges would they file and also, what bail would they ask for?
Sometimes I've seen people get released on their own recognizance by the police, especially in today's society because of the coronavirus, they're trying to keep people out of the jails, but then the person goes to court and the prosecutors argue that the type of case they filed requires the judge to set a bail.
Now the person gets pulled into custody and can either post a bail, in which case they would get a bail bondsman and get out, or they can't post bail and they remain in custody while the case is pending.
Review Your Criminal Charges with a Attorney
So, your best bet if you've been arrested and you were in West Hollywood and you allegedly committed some sort of a criminal offense, is to get to an attorney. Sit down with them.
Let them know what happened. I meet with people all the times, either face-to-face or over the phone and we talk about — under the cloak of the attorney/client privilege — what occurred in their case.
Whether or not they believe the prosecutors have evidence that proves they committed a crime, and obviously I get their story so I can bet figure out how I can help them.
Another piece of the puzzle I will need is the police report. Once I go to court, I'll be able to do that. I'll also want to speak to the prosecutor to see what their perspective is. That's when we really have the good meeting about the case to discuss exactly what the charges are, what evidence the prosecutors have and what potential defenses we might have. So, that's the procedure.
Plea Bargaining with Prosecutor
Once we decide what our position is going to be — whether we're going to go to trial or whether we're going to try to work out a plea bargain — that will dictate what we do next.
If we decide we're going to try to work out a plea bargain, I'm going to want character letters from you. I'm going to need to hear your side of the story and we're going to put together what I call a mitigation package for the prosecutors and I will take it all the way the chain to the top prosecutor if necessary to try to get a fair resolution.
So, if you've been arrested and have a case in West Hollywood, I know the jurisdiction very well. I feel confident I can help you. I suggest you pick the phone up and we'll get the case moving in the right direction.
We want to get out of the criminal justice system as fast as possible with the least amount of damage to your record, to your freedom and to your reputation.