You may experience significant stress about the legal journey ahead if you have been charged with a crime. Luckily, you do not have to navigate your legal matters alone, as you can retain support from a qualified attorney. At Aron Law Firm, we are driven by a mission to ensure our clients are delighted with the legal representation they receive. We specialize in criminal defense cases and utilize a client-centered approach. Our firm also has a track record of successfully reducing penalties for clients from all walks of life. 

Our firm works diligently to alleviate the stress and anxiety associated with legal challenges, partnering closely with clients throughout the process to achieve the best possible outcomes. Our dedicated team, experienced in a wide range of criminal defense matters, stands ready to defend the rights and futures of those they represent. If you want to retain invaluable legal support during this challenging time, do not hesitate to get in touch with us. We look forward to representing you and fighting for your rights and protections.

What are Your Rights After Receiving Criminal Charges?

The United States Constitution guarantees you the following rights throughout the process:

  • Right to a Criminal Defense Lawyer – You have the right to a criminal defense attorney throughout your legal proceedings.
  • Right to a Jury Trial – You have the right to a speedy, public jury trial. At the trial, you are presumed innocent and cannot be convicted unless 12 impartial jurors have been convinced of your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
  • Right to Confront Witnesses – You must confront and cross-examine all witnesses testifying against you.
  • Right Against Self-Incrimination – You have the right to remain silent, prevent self-incrimination, and testify on your own behalf.
  • Right to Produce Evidence – You have the right to present evidence and have the court issue a subpoena to bring all witnesses and evidence that may help you.

How it Works: What to Expect After an Arrest in Santa Barbara

While police officers are responsible for gathering evidence, the District Attorney’s Office must decide if charges should be filed and, if so, which specific charges should be levied. 

Since prosecutors tend to “dig in” once they have decided to file certain charges, it is advantageous to hire an experienced Santa Barbara criminal defense attorney early on in the process so that he may contact the Deputy District Attorney responsible for your file and attempt to dissuade him from filing charges in the first place. As a former Deputy District Attorney himself, William Aron understands the ins and outs of this process and will do everything in his power to get your charges dropped.

After Charges are Filed

If charges are filed, then they are articulated on a document called a “complaint.” The complaint is formally read at the first hearing, known as the “arraignment.” At the arraignment, the defendant must plead “no contest” or “guilty” (both pleas have the same legal effect in a criminal law context), or he may plead “not guilty.” If a not-guilty plea is entered, then discovery is obtained, which is all of the evidence and documentation intended to be utilized by the prosecution to get a criminal conviction. 

The Readiness Conference

The matter is then set for a readiness conference, which allows the defense attorney to discuss the case’s merits with the prosecutor. If no resolution can be reached, subsequent readiness conferences may or may not be necessary. The Defense may file various motions before or after the readiness conference. It may also retain the services of a private investigator or forensic toxicologist to understand the facts and evidence better.

What to Expect in a Felony Case

In a felony case, the prosecution would need to put on a “preliminary hearing,” where the District Attorney’s Office must introduce evidence and prove that there is probable cause that the crimes alleged actually occurred. The DUI preliminary hearing carries a different set of evidentiary rules and a much lower burden of proof than a jury trial.

If a dismissal or plea bargain cannot be achieved in a misdemeanor or felony case, the matter would be set for a jury trial.

Advantages of Working With an Attorney

In many misdemeanor cases, if you hire a Santa Barbara Criminal Defense Attorney prior to your arraignment, you will never have to personally appear in court as your attorney may file a “waiver of defendant’s personal presence” under California Penal Code Section 977. 

This helps to alleviate some of the anxiety of the criminal defense process as you can continue your normal activities and routines while only corresponding directly with your Santa Barbara criminal defense lawyer.

Misdemeanors vs Felonies in Santa Barbara


Misdemeanors are punishable by a fine, a term in the county jail, or both. For most misdemeanors, that means up to six months in jail and up to a $1,000.00 fine. Examples are petty theft, prostitution, and driving under the influence (DUI) as a first offense. For some misdemeanors, the maximum punishment is a year in county jail and a fine of $1,000.00. 

Examples of these are criminal threats, forgery, and driving under the influence as a second offense. Still, the maximum fine can be much more substantial for other misdemeanors. For example, battery ($2,000), domestic violence with injuries ($6,000), and vandalism ($50,000) all carry substantial maximum fines.

Misdemeanor Penalties

Certain misdemeanors carry a minimum jail term, such as 48 hours for driving under the influence as a second offense, 15 days for domestic violence with injuries as a second offense, 45 days for prostitution as a second offense, and 90 days for brandishing a firearm.

Rehabilitation and Probation for Misdemeanor Crimes

Many defendants instead elect to be placed on summary or informal probation, and the court retains jurisdiction over the case and the associated punishment. In practice, the court suspends the imposition of the statutory sentence and instead conditionally releases the defendant back into the community upon specified conditions geared to rehabilitate and reform. 

During the probationary term, the judge may require the defendant to report to provide the court with regular status updates. In other cases, no further court appearances are necessary, assuming all terms and conditions have been completed satisfactorily.


Felonies include more serious allegations and provide for imprisonment in state prison as opposed to county jail and may even prescribe lifetime incarceration or the death penalty in particular cases. The life of a felony case is generally as follows:

  1. Arraignment
  2. Bail Review
  3. First Readiness Conference
  4. Discovery
  5. Law and Motion
  6. Subsequent Readiness Conferences (if necessary)
  7. Preliminary Hearing or Waiver
  8. Arraignment
  9. Pretrial Conferences
  10. Law and Motion
  11. Trial (if necessary)
  12. Sentencing Hearing

How Do Appeals Work in Criminal Court?

A criminal conviction can have lasting negative consequences. Therefore, it may be prudent to retain a criminal appellate lawyer to review your entire case and attempt to overturn the conviction. On appeal, no new evidence is introduced. Instead, the court of appeals focuses on legal arguments in the context of the facts already presented at the trial court.

Reviewing the Evidence

If applicable, the first step of a criminal appeal involves reviewing all evidence and documentation in your case, including transcripts from any hearings and the jury trial. After meticulously examining the record, an appellate lawyer will speak with the trial attorney to flesh out the facts further. 

After the appellate lawyer has a clear picture of the facts and procedural posture, he then conducts legal research and searches for any legal issues that the Court of Appeal may examine. These issues are analyzed and argued in an “Appellant’s Opening Brief” (AOB) document. 

The Appellate Court Renders Decisions

After filing the AOB, the Attorney General’s Office, which advocates on behalf of the prosecution, addresses the AOB’s arguments in a “Respondent’s Brief.” Finally, the appeals lawyer can then file a rebuttal to the Respondent’s Brief before deciding whether to request oral arguments in front of the appellate court. 

After considering all arguments, the appellate court renders a decision and can overturn the conviction, grant a new trial (or hearing), or uphold the conviction.

What is Expungement? Clearing Your Record

An expungement is a process by which your case is retroactively dismissed.

Expungement Requirements in California

A criminal conviction may restrict your employment opportunities or other privileges. Under California Penal Code Section 1203.4, you may expunge your DUI conviction as long as you have complied with all terms and conditions of probation and have no new or open criminal cases at the time you seek your expungement. 

Can You Expunge Before the End of Probation?

Suppose you need to have your record expunged before the completion of your probationary period. In that case, you may first seek an early termination of your probation, followed by a separate motion for expungement. In Santa Barbara, early termination of probation is generally granted if you have completed all terms and conditions of probation and if you can show the court a good-faith reason for your request (job application, security clearance, etc.).

Can You Expunge Your Record Without Probation?

If probation was not part of your plea bargain or conviction, you may still apply for expungement under California Penal Code Section 1203.4a. In the event that you were convicted of a felony, you should first make a motion to reduce your felony to a misdemeanor pursuant to California Penal Code Section 17b. Only then should you seek an expungement. This ensures that your record will reflect the retroactive dismissal of a misdemeanor rather than a felony.

Generally, the same attorney handles your early termination of probation, 17b motion, and expungement simultaneously. Feel free to contact our office to discuss your Santa Barbara expungement. We also handle expungements in San Luis Obispo, Ventura, and other California Counties.

Criminal Charges in Santa Barbara

Many different crimes may be charged. The following is a sampling of broad categories. However, it should be noted that this list is not exhaustive:

  • Domestic Violence: While every category of crime carries its own challenges and nuances, domestic violence cases tend to be quite unusual in that often, the “victim” is not cooperating with the prosecution.
  • Drug Crimes: Several factors in a drug crime will impact the severity of punishment.
  • Sex Crimes: If convicted of a sex crime, you may spend time in jail or prison, where convicted sex offenders are generally viewed unfavorably by inmates convicted of other crimes. As a result, time spent in jail or prison is potentially much more dangerous than other crimes.
  • Theft Crimes: There are many types of theft crimes, including auto burglary, burglary, carjacking, embezzlement, grand theft, grand theft auto, grand theft of a firearm, petty theft, receiving stolen property, and robbery.

If you have any questions about your charges, including whether you will likely be charged with a misdemeanor or felony or what kind of crime you might be guilty of, we can help. Retaining support from a qualified attorney at Aron Law Firm makes you much more likely to avoid adverse penalties and reduce consequences. Contact us to begin working toward outstanding legal results.

How Can a Santa Barbara Criminal Defense Attorney Help With Your Case?

If you are involved in any legal matters, especially those involving criminal charges, we encourage you to work with a qualified Santa Barbara, CA criminal justice attorney. The dedicated Aron Law Firm can provide valuable recommendations and support during difficult and stressful times, and our services can help you in several ways.

We are prepared to support you in numerous ways throughout your legal matters, including but not limited to the following:

  • Conduct an independent investigation into the accident
  • Negotiate with every party
  • Prepare your case for court
  • Collect evidence
  • Consult with experts
  • Assure that all documents are filed correctly and in a timely manner
  • Communicate with the other parties on your behalf
  • Organize and present the evidence
  • Access research methods and tools only available to legal professionals
  • An understanding of the legal system and how to make it work for you
  • Connect you with additional legal professionals who can support you 
  • Reduce stress related to your case
  • Decrease penalties and other consequences
  • Interview witnesses
  • Help formulate a plea
  • Evaluate potential sentences
  • Review search and seizure procedures

We encourage you to refrain from representing yourself during your legal matters, as this could result in you facing more penalties than absolutely necessary. Instead, we urge you to retain support from Aron Law Firm. We can help reduce stress, lower penalties, and support you in many additional ways. Please get in touch with us if you need support during this challenging time.

Fight for Your Rights and Reduced Penalties: Contact Aron Law Firm for Support From a Qualified and Dedicated Criminal Defense Attorney

If you are facing criminal charges in Santa Barbara, having a seasoned Santa Barbara Criminal Defense Attorney by your side is crucial. Aron Law Firm is committed to providing exceptional legal representation. Our approach is client-centered, focusing on minimizing the stress and complexity of the legal process while striving for the best possible outcomes. With a track record of success in various criminal defense cases, we are here to protect your rights and secure your future. 

Do not navigate this challenging time alone; let us be your ally in the courtroom. For a confidential consultation with Aron Law Firm, reach out to us today. Our team is ready to assist you 24/7, ensuring you receive the support and guidance needed during these critical times. Contact us at (805) 618-1768 or complete our contact form to learn more about our services and how we can help you. Trust in the experience and knowledge of Aron Law Firm, your dedicated Santa Barbara Criminal Defense Attorney, to fight for your justice and peace of mind.

Frequently Asked Questions About Criminal Defense

Should I represent myself in a criminal defense case?

Representing yourself in a court of law, especially in a circumstance where you might be placed in prison if found guilty, is not recommended. A Santa Barbara criminal defense lawyer may be able to help you gather evidence, conduct research on your behalf, and develop a defense strategy for the best possible outcome.

What is the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony in California?

Misdemeanors in California come in varying degrees based on the severity of the incident. They are punishable by a maximum jail sentence of one year and a fine of up to $1,000. Felonies have more severe repercussions, depending on the crime. Felonies often carry a sentence of more than one year in jail or prison. The most severe felony offenses may lead to capital punishment in California.

Do I still need a criminal defense lawyer if I plan to plead guilty?

Even if you intend to accept a plea bargain or plead guilty, an experienced criminal defense lawyer should review your case before you appear in court. Working with a Santa Barbara criminal defense lawyer may help you get the minimum sentence or reduce the severity of your punishment. In some cases, it may be possible to avoid penalties altogether.

What is the difference between a federal criminal charge and a state criminal charge?

Federal charges are imposed for offenses classified in the United States Code of Law. Typically, these offenses involve actions that cross state lines or that pose a threat to or harm the federal government. These actions violate federal laws, are investigated by federal law enforcement, and are prosecuted by U.S. attorneys in federal courts led by federal judges.

State criminal charges are violations of state laws and are prosecuted within a state court system.

What is California’s Three Strikes law?

The Three Strikes law exists to deter and punish repeat offenders of serious or violent felonies by sentencing them on their third offense to much harsher penalties, which may include a prison sentence of 25 years to life. Individuals who are charged with a minor felony and have a previous conviction of murder, rape, or child molestation might also be subject to the Three Strikes law.

What type of criminal defense cases does the Aron Law Firm handle?

The experienced team at the Aron Law Firm has successfully provided representation for criminal cases involving:

  • Assault
  • Battery
  • Burglary
  • Child abuse and child endangerment
  • Domestic violence
  • Drug crimes
  • Driving without a license
  • False imprisonment
  • Felony offenses
  • Firearm offenses
  • Fraud
  • Hit-and-run
  • Kidnapping
  • Larceny
  • Minor in possession of alcohol
  • Misdemeanor offenses
  • Misdemeanor traffic violations
  • Probation violation
  • Prostitution
  • Rape
  • Reckless driving
  • Resisting arrest
  • Robbery
  • Stalking
  • Statutory rape
  • Traffic tickets
  • Trespassing
  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • White-collar crimes