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Criminal Defense

Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney

Criminal Defense Lawyer Orange County, California

From pre-file investigations through trial, Orange County Criminal Defense Lawyer Scott D. Hughes can represent you in all facets of your criminal case. Without question, being accused of a crime or having charges brought against you, a friend, or family member is the single most frightening event a person can experience.

Being former law enforcement, Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney, Scott D. Hughes, focuses much of his practice on criminal defense and can guide you through your issues no matter what they are. Our practice handles both Misdemeanors and Felonies in the State Courts of California in Orange County, Los Angeles County, Riverside County and San Bernardino County.

Orange County Criminal Investigations

If you are being investigated for a crime in Orange County or surrounding areas, contact criminal defense attorney Scott D. Hughes immediately. He will represent you before charges ever get filed with the goal of preventing them from ever being filed. A person being investigated for a criminal offense has certain rights and must invoke them immediately before they say or do anything that could incriminate themselves. Therefore it is important to contact Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney Scott D. Hughes immediately if you believe you are being investigated for a crime.

Violent Crimes

Theft Crimes

Drug Crimes

  • Cultivation
  • Distribution
  • Manufacturing
  • Possession
  • Possession for Sale
  • Prescription Fraud
  • Trafficking

Driving Under the Influence

  • First Offense and Multiple Offenders
  • Felony DUI
  • DUI causing Injury
  • DUI causing Property Damage

Gun Crimes

  • Concealed Weapons
  • Assault Rifles


Orange County Misdemeanor Criminal Case Processing

Misdemeanors are crimes punishable by a maximum fine of $1000 and a confinement in the county jail of one year or less. Some offenses, however, carry higher maximum fines. Common examples of misdemeanor violations include petty theft, prostitution, vandalism, and driving under the influence (DUI). 

After an arrest is made, the Police transport the person to jail for booking. Usually after several hours, the accused may either be released on his or her own recognizance, or remain in custody until the arraignment. 

The next series of court appearances are pretrial hearings. At a pretrial hearing, there is an exchange of information between the prosecution and the criminal defense lawyer known as discovery. Pretrial motions may also be filed by the criminal defense lawyer before the start of the trial. Motions may be made to set aside the complaint, to dismiss the case, to suppress evidence, etc. The defendant may at this point change his or her plea to guilty or no contest in light of any plea bargain offered by the prosecution. 

A person accused of a misdemeanor offense is also entitled to a jury trial. Section 1382 of the California Penal Code specifies that a person in-custody at the time of the arraignment must be brought to trial within 30 days. If the accused is out of custody, the trial must begin within 45 days. The accused can also waive his or her right to a speedy trial and can set the trial beyond the statutory dates for convenience of the parties, defense counsel or the Court. 

The trial begins by selecting a jury. Each side is given an opportunity to ask the jury questions to determine their fitness to be jurors. After a jury is selected, opening statements will be given. Witnesses will testify and evidence will be presented first by the government and then by the defense. Then closing arguments will be given in reverse order. 

At the conclusion of the trial, the jury must decide if the defendant is guilty or not guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If the jury finds the defendant is not guilty, he or she is released and cannot be tried again for the same crime. If the defendant is found guilty, the case will be continued for sentencing, or the defendant may waive time and be sentenced immediately.



Orange County Misdemeanor Criminal Appeals

The defendant may appeal a misdemeanor conviction to the Appellate Department of the Superior Court. A Notice of Appeal must be filed by defense counsel within 30 days of the date of the judgment or order. Because of the strict time and technical requirements for criminal appeals, it is very important to contact Orange County Criminal Defense Lawyer Scott D. Hughes immediately if you would like to appeal your criminal conviction.

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  • Our Attorneys Are Named California Super Lawyers
  • Over 25 Years of
    Combined Experience
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