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Pre-Filing Intervention in Criminal Cases in Los Angeles


I was speaking to a prosecutor the other day who has been filing cases in the San Fernando courthouse for the last three years.  He finally got a new assignment.  He’s sitting in the early disposition court there.  We were talking about pre-filing intervention and what he thought about criminal defense attorneys trying to reach out to him and his other fellow filers about their clients trying to avoid a filing.

He said a lot of times they frown upon that.  They obviously don’t really have the time nor the inclination to mess around with pre-filing letters.Pre-Filing Intervention Criminal Cases in Los Angeles

Getting Charges Dismissed After an Arrest in Los Angeles

However, he did indicate after I prodded him a little bit, that there are certain cases where there’s a close call and if the attorney can get to them either by way of a phone call or a letter and bring up some good mitigating circumstances about their client — or point out a defense that the police may not have followed-upon — then they will certainly take a look at that.

He gave me an idea of some of the things that I knew that they do, which is they pretty much will grill the police over and they’re going to ask who is this guy?  Why did he do this?  What’s going on here?

If there’s holes and issues in the case, they will challenge the police officers who come in and try to file cases.  I’ve known this for a long time.  I’ve been doing this for twenty-five years — that the prosecutors who are out there dealing with cases — know what it’s going to take to win a case and when they’re not going to be successful in a case.

So, they will ask questions of the police and if the police don’t have the answers and there’s holes and issues with the case, then they’re going to make the police go back out and continue their investigation.  They will not file a case under these circumstances.

So, they pretty much train police officers to make sure that when they come in and they’re holding a case in their hand, they better have sealed up all of the holes and done their investigation.  Otherwise, the prosecutors are not going to file the case.

Avoid the Filing of Formal Charges in Los Angeles

So, I am a firm believer in pre-filing intervention in the right case.  There are some cases where either you want to try to avoid a filing altogether by getting some good mitigating facts to the prosecutors, and there’s other cases where maybe you just want to get the mitigating facts in there.

You know a case is probably going to be filed, but maybe you don’t want certain charges filed against your client and you want to make sure that the prosecutors get the other side of the coin.

We do it all the time if it’s the right case.  If it’s not the right case and we already know they’ve got the evidence and it’s going to be filed, it’s just going to make us look stupid, so obviously we’re not going to send a pre-filing letter or calling any prosecutors.

But I have had some recent success lately, sending a letter out, following-up with a call and getting cases not filed.

Does Pre-Filing Makes Sense in Your Los Angeles Criminal Case?

Really what you need to do is sit down with your attorney and talk to him.  I have you come in and we talk about whether pre-filing makes any sense and if it does, I have you get character letters and other letters that will be beneficial to you when it comes to the prosecutors making a filing decision on your criminal case.

So, if you’ve got a situation that you think pre-filing intervention makes sense, come and sit down with me.  We’ll talk about it and I’ll give you an honest answer.  I’ll give you an honest assessment of whether you’re just wasting your time or whether it’s something that I would do in an effort to either avoid a filing or avoid more serious charges be filed against you.

Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney

If you’re wondering what pre-filing intervention is, you should realize by this post that it’s a defense attorney contacting the filing deputies in the particular courthouse where your case is pending, trying to either convince him not to file the case or trying to convince him to file some other charges different than what the police arrested you for.

Just because the police arrest somebody for a crime, doesn’t necessarily mean that’s what the prosecutors are going to file.  The police are not lawyers.

The prosecutors are the ones who are going to make the decision.  A lot of times the police get it wrong and it’s my job as a defense attorney to point that out and make sure we get the best result when it comes to pre-filing intervention in a Los Angeles criminal case. Call the Hedding Law Firm to review your case.

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About the Author

Named Top Los Angeles Criminal Attorney by LA Times and named one of the Top 100 criminal defense attorneys in California by the National Trial Lawyers Association. I'm the attorney other lawyers hire to defend them.