Getting arrested for a misdemeanor or felony crime in Kern County, CA, is a stressful experience as local law enforcement and residents are known to be tough on crime.
After being arrested, you must remain silent and not make any statements to law enforcement before speaking with a criminal defense lawyer. This is because you might make incriminating statements that could be used against you later in court.
Unfortunately, many people don't know their constitutional right to remain silent or realize Kern County prosecutors will likely use their own words to convict them.
The prosecutor has to prove, beyond any reasonable doubt, all the elements of the crime to convict you.
They will also typically seek the maximum penalties if you are convicted, whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or felony crime.
This is why you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can negotiate a favorable settlement or fight the charges in court.
Most people arrested in Kern County are residents of Bakersfield, while others drive through the county and get pulled over by police.
Type of Crimes We Handle in Kern County, California
Our Bakersfield criminal lawyers handle a wide range of misdemeanor or felony crimes in the Kern County Superior Court, including:
- domestic violence such as Penal Code 243(e)(1) domestic battery,
- corporal injury to a spouse under Penal Code 273.5 PC,
- violations of a restraining or protective order under Penal Code 273.6 PC,
- criminal threats under Penal Code 422 PC,
- assault and battery under Penal Codes 240 and 242 PC,
- drug possession under Health and Safety Code 11350 HS,
- drug sales under Health and Safety Code 11351 HS,
- credit card fraud under Penal Code 484(e) - 484(j),
- sex crimes such as lewd conduct with a minor under Penal Code 288 PC,
- sexual battery under Penal Code 243.4 PC,
- rape under Penal Code 261 PC,
- child pornography under Penal Code 311 PC,
- theft crimes, including burglary under Penal Code 459 PC,
- shoplifting under Penal Code 459.5 PC,
- grand theft auto under Penal Code 487(d)(1) PC,
- joyriding under Vehicle Code 10851 VC,
- violent crimes such as assault with a deadly weapon under Penal Code 245(a)(1) PC,
- attempted murder under Penal Code 664/187 PC,
- white collar crimes like embezzlement under Penal Code 503 PC,
- driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs under Vehicle Code 23152 VC,
- hit and run charges under Vehicle Code 20001 and 20002 VC,
- reckless driving under Vehicle Code 23103 VC,
- weapons and firearms offenses,
- parole and probation violations,
- bail hearings,
- federal crimes such as wire fraud under 18 U.S.C. 1343.
Kern County Superior Court
Most people arrested by the Bakersfield Police Department or the Kern County Sheriff's Department are transported and booked at the “Central Receiving Facility” in Bakersfield, CA.
Defendant's criminal cases are processed through the Kern County Superior Courthouse.
Felony cases are handled by Metropolitan Division 1415 Truxtun Ave., Bakersfield, CA 93301
Misdemeanor cases are handled by Metro Division Justice Division 1215 Truxtun Ave., Bakersfield, CA 93301
Any traffic violations are handled by the Metro Traffic Division, 3131 Arrow Street, Bakersfield, CA 93308
What is the Court Process in Bakersfield?
In most cases, once you are arrested and booked in jail, you will soon be released to appear later in court.
Depending on the case, you could be required to post bail or be released on your own recognizance (OR), meaning you don't pay any bail but instead promise to appear for all your future court appearances.
It should be noted, however, if you are charged with a misdemeanor crime, then you could retain a private criminal defense lawyer who can appear on your behalf.
Yes, this means you don't have to personally appear in court for a misdemeanor offense as long as your lawyer is there to represent you. However, if you are charged with a felony, you will usually be required to personally appear at all future court dates.
If you fail to appear at a scheduled court date, the judge will typically issue a bench warrant for your arrest. A bench warrant never expires and will always remain active.
This means you could be arrested and extradited to Kern County anytime you have contact with law enforcement in Bakersfield, anywhere in California, or throughout the United States.
If there is an active bench warrant for your arrest, you must personally appear in court for a hearing before a judge will recall (quash) the warrant.
Again, in some misdemeanor cases, your criminal lawyer might be able to appear on your behalf.
Plea Bargaining With Prosecutor
After the court arraignment, your criminal defense lawyer and the Kern County prosecutor will discuss an attempt to resolve the criminal case with a plea bargain.
Of course, details matter, and the charges and circumstances of the case will dictate how the case proceeds. Convincing a prosecutor to reduce the charges or dismiss the case might be possible.
If your criminal lawyer and prosecutor can't agree on settling the case, then it will have to proceed to trial.
If you are charged with a felony, you are generally entitled to a preliminary hearing, but not in misdemeanor cases.
A preliminary hearing is commonly called a “prelim,” a court appearance to determine whether the prosecutor has sufficient probable cause to hold you over to answer. Prelims are basically an automatic rubber stamp approval for the District Attorney.
However, they offer an advantage for the defendant as their criminal lawyer can see the prosecutor's strategy to obtain a conviction. This can help the defense plan a method to fight the case.
You will be sentenced if convicted as part of a plea bargain or by a judge or jury. This could include jail time and fines, or you might be granted probation instead of jail.
Contact our Law Firm for Help
If you have been charged with a crime in Bakersfield or anywhere in Kern County, California, contact our criminal defense attorneys to review the details and legal options moving forward.
Through a process known as prefiling intervention, we can possibly negotiate with the prosecution to avoid the formal filing of charges in the first place.
Eisner Gorin LLP is a top-rated criminal defense law firm with two office locations in Los Angeles County. Our law firm also serves people living in California City, Tehachapi, Delano, Maricopa, McFarland, Taft, and Wasco. Contact our office for a consultation at (310) 328-3776.