Getting Cases Dismissed Spolin Law P.C. has an incredibly high rate of obtaining dismissals, dropped charges, and not-guilty verdicts. Having a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney with this type of record makes a difference. Learn More.
Suppressing Illegal Evidence: Law enforcement must follow the law if they wish to punish you for breaking the law. The Constitution requires that the prosecution not use evidence that was acquired through illegal action. Learn More.
Treating All Clients with Respect: Some people assume that anyone accused of a crime is guilty and also must be a bad person. That’s just not true, and we know it. We treat our clients with respect and dignity.
Cases We Handle
We understand that suddenly being arrested, handcuffed, and charged with a crime is likely one of the hardest things you’ve ever experienced
A lot will be going through your mind and you’ll have many questions. From misdemeanors, felonies, and highly complex financial crimes, Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Spolin can explain what you are up against, review all your options, and craft a defense plan that puts you in the best possible position.
The criminal justice system does not always get it right. If you were convicted and want to appeal the court’s decision, Spolin Law P.C. can help. We know how to create a strong case for your appeal and will meet all necessary deadlines. We can give you another chance.
If your fundamental civil rights have been violated by a law enforcement agency, you may be unsure of how to protect yourself. You need a strong force by your side to help you assert your rights. Spolin Law P.C. frequently handles cases that involve demanding changes in policies and requests for monetary damages from the government. We can help you if your civil rights have been violated.
- Drugs & Alcohol
- Violent Crimes
- Weapon Offenses
- Juvenile Crimes
- Federal Crimes
- Aiding and Abetting
- Illegal search and seizure
- Protecting individuals against improper government action
- Retrieving property taken from police
- Civil rights defense
“He is a brilliant courtroom tactician. I’ve seen Aaron Spolin in court on multiple occasions, and he is truly a master. Nothing gets past him, and he is a powerful advocate for his clients. He is probably one of the strongest examples of how a great lawyer can truly ‘speak truth to power’ in a courtroom.”
Tomer Konowiecki. L.A. Attorney
A Record of Successful Outcomes
As a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney, Aaron Spolin has achieved favorable outcomes in hundreds of criminal cases.
He is also a former prosecutor with extensive experience in a wide array of both misdemeanors and felonies, from petty theft to murder. He was previously a member of California Law Review and the recipient of the American College of Trial Lawyer’s Medal of Excellence in Oral Advocacy.
Attorney Spolin is passionate about upholding the rights of the accused, having authored the Princeton thesis Reforms for the Process of Eyewitness Identifications in Criminal Trials, which discusses the leading cause of wrongful convictions in the United States. He approaches every case with the same devotion and compassion, making him a great ally in California’s harsh criminal justice system
- Former Assistant District Attorney
- Princeton University, B.A., U.C. Berkeley School of Law, J.D.
- Successful outcomes of hundreds of cases
Why You Need a Lawyer with Trial Experience
Criminal charges are pursued aggressively in California and this is particularly true in and around Los Angeles
- Law enforcement and prosecutors are highly trained in securing convictions. They are often relentless in their desire to see you punished to the fullest extent of the law. Depending on the specific accusations and charges against you, this could mean a haunting mark on your record, losing your driver’s license, paying expensive fines, losing your job, or beign incarcerated. Even misdemeanors can have a significant and lasting effect on your life, from social stigma to job applications.
You need a defense lawyer who is relentless about preserving your freedom and limiting your exposure. At Spolin Law P.C., our Los Angeles attorneys are capable of seeing your case through the entire criminal justice process, up to and including a trial, if necessary. Criminal cases should always be fought with the possibility of a trial in mind, and your ability to present a strong argument in court will influence every aspect of your case.
- Prosecutors and law enforcement must prove your guilt ‘beyond a reasonable doubt.’ This is a hard standard to meet. If there is any indication that prosecutors are unable to achieve this, they will be more willing to drop the case, reduce or amend the charges to something more appropriate, or offer a favorable sentence recommendation. Additionally, by presenting a compelling case at trial, you may be able to achieve a dismissal if there is clearly not enough evidence to secure a not-guilty verdict.
At Spolin Law P.C., our Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys prepare every case as if it were going to trial. From the very beginning, we will examine every piece of evidence, develop arguments that present your case in the best possible light, and advocate for your interests at every stage. This exhaustive preparation has led to an impressive track record of success and keen insight into what it takes to succeed at trial. We leverage all this to give you the best chance of a positive outcome.
Know What to Expect at Every Turn
When you are represented by Spolin Law P.C., you can trust that our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers will provide you with step-by-step guidance throughout each phase of the criminal process. The California justice system is a scary place and you have enough to worry about. Our team will work tirelessly to support you and alleviate as much of this burden as possible.
If you’re suspected of a crime, law enforcement may start considering your level of involvement well before making an arrest. Some complex crimes can even involve attempts to access bank and telephone records or a search of your property. An investigation can begin in any number of ways, but regardless of how you became a target, it is never too early to speak with a criminal defense lawyer. This is particularly true if you’re questioned by law enforcement. By having a lawyer present, you’ll know what to answer and how to frame responses. We will make sure your rights are not abused.
If law enforcement believes they have enough evidence that you committed a crime, you will likely be arrested. During an arrest, you’ll be taken into custody. An important thing to remember about being arrested is that the police are required to advise you of your rights. This is significant because one of your rights is to have a lawyer. By contacting an Los Angeles criminal defense attorney immediately, you can ensure you are not questioned in an abusive or inappropriate manner. If there any issues with the case early on, it may be possible to avoid moving forward, either by finding flaws or negotiating for reduced charges.
When you are arrested for a serious crime, the prosecutor will file formal charges against you and you’ll be required to attend your first court appearance, knownas an arraignment. During the arraignment, the charges against you will be read, a judge will determine if you͛re to be released before a trial takes place, and you’ll have a chance to enter a plea. You have the right to have a lawyer present at this proceeding. An effective Los Angeles criminal defense attorney will advocate for your release and properly advise you about entering a plea.
Between your arraignment and trial, the prosecution and your defense attorney will share evidence and begin developing their cases. If either side raises an issue of law, they will file motions in support or defense of their positions. These motions may address illegal government conduct pertaining to your case, the admissibility of certain evidence, and other crucial matters involved in a case. An experienced Los Angeles lawyer will be vital at this point. Cases are often won or lost based on the motions filed.
If your cases progresses past motions and a resolution has not been negotiated between the prosecution and your criminal defense attorney, the matter will be set for trail. As previously mentioned, the prosecutor will have the burden of proving that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. During your trial, the prosecution will present their evidence, which may include police reports, witness statements, videos, photos, and more. Your defense lawyer will prepare the strongest possible arguments that counter their claims. These often involve alternate theories of the crime, impugning witness statements, or casting doubt on evidence credibility.
Sentencing & Appeals
If you’re found guilty, a judge will impose your punishment, which is based on several factors, including the facts of the case, reports resented by both sides, and statements from certain relevant parties. A dedicated criminal defense attorney will continue to advocate your best interests. Your lawyer can argue for a lighter sentence, lower fines, probation, or other alternatives like house arrest.
Additionally, a quality Los Angeles criminal defense attorney will discuss and evaluate your basis for appeal. Essentially, this is a request to a higher court to change or overturn the conviction issues at trial. The success of an appeal depends on major violations or errors committed against your rights.
Assert Your Rights at Every Stage
If questioned by law enforcement, you can invoke your right to remain silent by saying: “I am invoking my right to remain silent. I would like to speak to my attorney before I say anything.” Then, remain silent. If you speak to the police without an attorney, then you are waiving your rights against self-incrimination and your right to counsel.
Supress Any Illegal Evidence
Police, prosecutors, or other agents of law enforcement may gather information illegally. Illegally obtained evidence may be suppressed. Examples of illegal government actions include illegal searches, abusive interrogations, illegal arrests, and other inappropriate methods of gather evidence like wiretapping phones without a warrant.
At Spolin Law P.C., we believe it’s our responsibility to uphold these protections and scrutinize each case for possible illegal action, and pursue violations to the fullest extent. Successful motions to suppress illicit evidence or statements will nearly always strengthen a client’s case and can also result in dropped or dismissed charges.
Fraud & Other Financial Crimes
If you are charged with a financial crime or an offense related to fraud in or around Los Angeles, the need for an experienced financial crimes attorney cannot be over stated. Whether you’re charged with embezzlement, insurance fraud, or forgery, these types of crimes usually carry a lot of public anger, which can overshadow the facts of any individual case.
State and federal authorities are increasingly cracking down on financial crimes. Individuals charged with traditionally white collar crimes are now facing years and often decades in prison. Additionally, prosecutors frequently seek to make an example of white collar defendants. This can result in disproportionate sentences that are based more on systemic issues rather than fairness or proportionality.
It takes a highly-trained professional with comprehensive knowledge of how regulators and prosecutors handle these cases to develop a well-measured approach that gives you the best odds at reducing, avoiding, or dismissing a criminal charge. Before working as a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer, Aaron Spolin served as an economic crimes prosecutor, handling fraud, embezzlement, employee theft, and various other financial crimes. With his substantial background in this area, Spolin Law P.C. has successfully defended numerous clients when financial matter threatened their careers and liberty.
If you are under investigation or have already been charged with a financial or fraud related crime, speak with a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles and contact Spolin Law P.C. for a free consultation about your case.
What Sets Spolin Apart
While other firms often take a one-size-fits-all approach, our SoCal criminal defense attorneys located in Los Angeles take the time to get to know you and what͛s important to you. We will examine every detail of your case before building the strongest possible argument on your behalf. We know people come to Spolin Law P.C. during very difficult times in their lives. We proudly offer compassionate, reliable, and practical legal counsel as well as fierce representation.
At Spolin Law P.C., you’ll benefit from:
Our Records and ResultsBeing represented by a trial attorney with a record of success can help at every stage of the criminal process. At Spolin Law P.C., we’eve amassed an impressive track record for our clients in a wide array of criminal cases.
Individualized AttentionWe don’t offer canned responses or false hopes. No matter what your situation, we will always deliver a practical assessment of your legal issues and sensible solutions.
Honest CommunicationNo criminal case is the same as another and how your attorney approaches it should be just as unique. If you’re best served by negotiating with the prosecutor that͛s how we’ll proceed, but if a trial is your best bet, Spolin Law P.C. will be by your side.
Our Utmost RespectSome people assume that anyone accused of a crime is guilty and must be a bad person. At Spolin Law P.C., we know that simply is not true and sometimes good people are falsely accused, make mistakes, or are caught up in something they did not understand. We treat all our clients with respect and dignity.
Advice from a Former Prosecutor
The State has seemingly unlimited resources at their disposal and everything will be aimed at securing your conviction. No matter what charges are levied against you, it’s critical to anticipate their actions and determine how you can challenge their assertions. As a former Assistant District Attorney, Aaron Spolin developed a keen insight into how prosecutors approach criminal cases. He applies this knowledge to his work as a criminal defense attorney.
When it comes to how a prosecutor moves forward in a criminal case, there are several factors involved, including the type of offense, your prior criminal record, and if violence was an element. Regardless of your specific set of circumstances, an effective SoCal defense attorney can present any mitigating factors that may apply to you, highlight any errors in the evidence that the prosecutor has in their hands, and advocate for a result that shows you are not defined by the charge in question.
Top Defenses to Criminal Charges
Spolin Law P.C. fights for its clients with all available legal defenses, some of which are listed here. To learn more about each defense, scroll down to read a description of each possible defense.
- Lack of Capacity
- Self-Defense and Defense of Others
- Statutes of Limitations
- Abandonment or Withdrawal
- Mistake of Fact
- Coerced Confessions
- Double Jeopardy
- Illegal Search or Seizure
This page contains details of all of the criminal defenses outlined above.
The Importance of a Strong Criminal Defense
When you’re charged with a crime in California, the prosecutor must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Although that is a high standard of proof, winning your case still requires raising strong legal defenses to overcome the prosecution’s claims. A strong defense helps you win your case by:
- Raising reasonable doubts with the jury. If the prosecution can’t convince the jury of your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, then you will be acquitted. You can present evidence that casts doubt on the prosecution’s claim or provides an alternative perspective on the facts in your case.
- Proving a legal excuse or justification for your actions. California’s criminal laws recognize that context matters. Behavior that may be criminal in some contexts shouldn’t be in others. Even if the prosecution has a strong case against you, you may be able to prove that your conduct was nevertheless legal because of an excuse or justification.
- Showing unlawful behavior by the police or prosecution. To protect defendants’ rights, U.S. and California law require police and prosecutors to follow certain rules in detecting, investigating, and prosecuting alleged crimes. If they break those rules, the law provides a remedy to the defendant, ranging from suppression of illegally obtained evidence to complete dismissal of the charges.
Types of California Criminal Defenses
Criminal defenses come in three forms: affirmative defenses, denial defenses, and constitutional defenses. Affirmative defenses demonstrate that the defendant should be acquitted regardless of whether the prosecution has proven the elements of a crime. The “elements” are the facts that the prosecution must prove to convict the defendant. In contrast, denial defenses directly refute one or more elements of the crime charged. Finally, constitutional defenses show that the police or prosecutors have violated the defendant’s constitutional rights, requiring some evidence to be excluded or the case dismissed.
A Los Angeles criminal defense attorney can help you determine which criminal defenses will work best for you. In reality, you will probably assert several defenses to obtain the best outcome in your case.
Affirmative Criminal Defenses
Affirmative defenses are defenses that do not deny the elements of a crime. Instead, they offer additional facts that excuse or justify the defendant’s actions, or for some other reason require an acquittal. Because of this, affirmative defenses must normally be proven by the defendant by a preponderance of the evidence.
Some common affirmative defenses in California include:
- Lack of Capacity
- Self-Defense and Defense of Others
- Statutes of Limitations
Entrapment is the inducement of criminal conduct by the police or someone acting on their behalf. California courts use an objective test to determine whether entrapment has occurred. A particular defendant’s character, predisposition to commit a crime, and subjective intent are irrelevant.
Instead, to prove entrapment, the defendant must show that the actions of the police would have likely induced a normally law-abiding person to commit the crime. That the police presented an opportunity for a crime will not suffice. For this defense to succeed, the defendant must prove that the police pressured him or her to commit the crime by “overbearing conduct.”
In considering a claim of entrapment, courts review the police conduct in light of the circumstances of each case, including by asking:
- What happened before the crime was committed?
- How did the defendant respond to the police inducements?
- How serious is the crime?
- How hard is it to discover the crime normally?
Lack of Capacity
Under California law, some defendants are categorically unable to commit a crime because they lack the mental capacity to do so.
- Children younger than 14 are presumed to be incapable of committing a crime. The prosecution can overcome this presumption by clear proof that at the time the child committed the alleged crime, he or she knew it was wrong.
- Insanity. A person who commits a crime while incapable of knowing the nature and quality of his or her acts and of distinguishing right from wrong can be found not guilty by reason of insanity. However, if this defense is successful, the court will usually commit the defendant to a mental hospital.
- Unconsciousness. A person who acts without being conscious of his or her actions cannot commit a crime. However, a defendant who becomes unconscious because of voluntary intoxication is limited in the extent to which he or she can use this defense.
The defense of necessity is available to defendants who commit a crime to prevent a greater evil from occurring. To prevail on the defense, a defendant must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that he or she acted:
- To prevent a significant evil
- With no adequate alternative
- Without creating a greater danger than the one avoided
- With a good faith belief in the necessity of his or her actions
- With that belief being objectively reasonable
- Under circumstances in which the defendant did not substantially contribute to the emergency.
The “significant evil” to be prevented can be a future one, but it cannot be merely speculative. In addition, the more time there is between the defendant’s actions and the evil to be prevented, the more likely it will be that the defendant had an adequate alternative to committing a crime.
Self-Defense and Defense of Others – Penal Code §§ 197 – 198, 692 – 694
Some acts that would otherwise be crimes—such as assault or homicide—can be legally justified when committed in self-defense or defense of others. In general, the justification of self-defense is available:
- To prevent a crime against oneself or another person; or
- To prevent an illegal attempt to take or injure property by force.
However, lethal force may not be used unless the defendant is resisting an attempt to murder or do great bodily harm to a person or to commit a felony. A defendant can rely on self-defense in a homicide case only if the following are true:
- At the time the defendant acted, he or she honestly believed that (1) he or she (or another person) was in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm, and (2) his or her conduct was necessary to prevent that injury.
- A reasonable person in the same circumstances would have believed the same imminent danger existed and responded similarly.
Like denial defenses, self-defense must be disproven by the prosecution, not proven by the defendant.
Statutes of Limitations – Penal Code §§ 799 – 805
Most types of crimes in California are subject to a statute of limitations, which prevents the state from prosecuting a crime after a specified amount of time has passed. Different crimes are subject to different statutes of limitations:
- A one-year limit applies to misdemeanors, except that certain misdemeanors with a victim under 14 years old are subject to a three-year statute of limitations.
- A three-year limit applies to crimes punishable by imprisonment, except for those to which a six-year period applies or that have no limitations period. /li>
- A six-year limit applies to crimes punishable by imprisonment for at least eight years, other than those for which there is no limit. /li>
- No limit applies to crimes punishable by death or life imprisonment./li>
If the defendant raises the statute of limitations in a pretrial motion to dismiss, the defendant must prove that the limitations period has expired by a preponderance of the evidence. At trial, the prosecution has the burden of proving that the statute of limitations has not expired by a preponderance of the evidence.
Unlike affirmative defenses, denial defenses defeat a charge by denying one or more elements of the crime. Because denial defenses refute the elements of a crime, the burden is generally on the prosecution to disprove them, rather than on the defendant to prove them. The defendant can make these defenses whenever there is enough evidence to raise a reasonable doubt about them.
Some common denial defenses include:
- Abandonment or Withdrawal
- Mistake of Fact
Abandonment or Withdrawal
In addition to completed crimes—like robbery or murder—California also makes it a crime to attempt such acts. However, if the defendant abandons an attempt before committing an overt act in furtherance of the crime, he or she may be acquitted.
If the defendant was acting together with others, successfully raising the defense of abandonment (also known as withdrawal) requires that the defendant notified every other person involved that he or she would not participate, and that notification must have been early enough to prevent the crime.
Accident – Penal Code § 26
The California Penal Code states that a person cannot commit a crime if he or she “committed the act . . . through misfortune or by accident.” However, this defense only applies “when it appears that there was no evil design, intention, or culpable negligence.”
Normally, a defendant must be present at the scene of a crime to have committed it. An alibi defense is one in which the defendant claims to have been elsewhere at that time. Of course, this defense will not succeed if the defendant is charged merely as an aider or abettor of another’s crime or a coconspirator with others.
A victim’s consent is usually not a defense to a crime. However, when lack of consent is an element of the crime alleged, consent is a denial defense that must be disproven by the prosecutor.
For example, to convict a defendant of rape, the prosecution must prove that the victim did not consent to sexual intercourse. In such cases, evidence of consent refutes that essential element of the crime. In contrast, lack of consent is not an element of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor, meaning consent is not a defense to that crime.
Duress – Penal Code § 26
Duress is a defense that applies when the defendant was forced to commit a crime by a threat to his or her own life. This defense applies when:
- The threats would cause a reasonable person to fear that his or her life would be in immediate danger if he or she did not commit the crime; and
- The defendant actually believed his or her life was in immediate danger because of those threats.
Duress is only available if the threat against the defendant posed an immediate danger to his or her life, not if it was only a threat of future harm. In addition, duress cannot be used as a defense in murder cases or if the crime charged is punishable by death.
Mistake of Fact
A defendant’s mistaken belief about facts can negate some elements a crime. For example, if a defendant shot a victim with a gun that he or she believed was not loaded, that mistaken belief would show that the defendant did not meet the “malice aforethought” element required for a murder conviction.
However, a mistaken belief about the law generally is not available as a defense. A defendant can be convicted of a crime regardless of whether he or she realized his or her conduct was illegal.
A constitutional defense is a defense based on a provision of the U.S. Constitution. Except for double jeopardy, these defenses normally do not directly result in an acquittal or dismissal. Instead, they result in some evidence being excluded from trial, making it harder for the prosecution to prove its case.
Among the most important constitutional defenses are:
- Coerced Confessions
- Double Jeopardy
- Illegal Search or Seizure
Coerced Confessions – U.S. Constitution Amendment V
The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits the government from compelling a person to “be a witness against himself.” To help protect this right, the U.S. Supreme Court requires police and prosecutors to follow certain rules. These include:
- Miranda warnings. If the police want to use a person’s testimony against him or her, and that person is in police custody during the interrogation, the police must first advise the person of certain rights, including the right to remain silent and the right to have an attorney present during police questioning.
- Presence of attorney during custodial interrogations. A person in police custody is entitled to have an attorney present during an interrogation. If the person cannot afford an attorney, then he or she is entitled to have one appointed by the court.
- Right not to testify at trial. A defendant is entitled to remain silent at his or her criminal trial, and cannot be compelled to testify. In addition, the prosecution is prohibited from commenting to the jury about the defendant’s decision not to testify.
Failure by the police or prosecution to follow these rules can result in any evidence obtained during an interrogation being excluded from trial, or even dismissal of the case.
Double Jeopardy – U.S. Constitution Amendment V
The Fifth Amendment’s Double Jeopardy Clause prohibits the government from putting a person “in jeopardy of life or limb” more than once for the same offense. This means that:
- A defendant who is acquitted or convicted cannot be tried again for the same crime. However, if the defendant’s conduct violates both state and federal law, then both the state and federal governments can prosecute the defendant.
- A defendant cannot be subjected to multiple punishments for the same crime. This means that a court that reconvicts a defendant who successfully appeals a conviction must “credit” the defendant for the punishment already endured.
Illegal Search or Seizure – U.S. Constitution Amendment IV
The U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment prohibits “unreasonable searches and seizures.” The U.S. Supreme Court has interpreted this prohibition as generally requiring that police obtain a warrant before conducting a search or seizure, although some significant exceptions apply to that requirement.
If the police violate the Fourth Amendment, then any evidence they obtain as a result of that violation must be excluded from trial.
How a Good California Law Attorney Can Help Build Your Defense
Understanding criminal defenses and raising the appropriate ones in your case is critical to your success before and after trial. An experienced California criminal defense attorney can help build your defense and win your case by:
- Investigating the facts and gathering evidence. Building a strong defense requires understanding all the facts in a case. The criminal defense attorneys at Spolin Law P.C. work diligently to investigate those facts and uncover evidence to help establish your defenses.
- Filing motions in court to challenge illegal evidence. Nobody is above the law, including police and prosecutors. Spolin Law P.C. drafts persuasive motions that show the court when evidence must be excluded from trial because the police or prosecutors have engaged in unlawful behavior.
- Pointing out weaknesses in the prosecution’s case. The standard of proof in criminal cases is the highest in the law: beyond a reasonable doubt. By highlighting weaknesses in the prosecution’s evidence, Spolin Law P.C. helps the jury see how the prosecutor has failed to meet that high standard.
- Raising and proving affirmative defenses. The attorneys at Spolin Law P.C. know how to expertly present the evidence they have gathered in your case to the jury. In doing so, they can persuade the jury that your conduct was legally justified or excusable, regardless of the prosecution’s evidence.