Mission Viejo Criminal Lawyer

Law Offices of Frances Prizzia
Mission Viejo criminal defense attorney

A criminal conviction can present a number of problems for you, affecting your employment, housing, and even relationships. Avoiding these serious consequences may be difficult, but having a dedicated, knowledgeable, and experienced criminal defense lawyer can make a difference.

If you are facing criminal charges in or around Mission Viejo, CA, you need the skill and experience of a solid legal team - and at The Law Offices of Frances Prizzia, that’s what we provide. We provide legal representation for clients who are dealing with a wide variety of criminal offenses, including:

  • Theft;
  • Assault;
  • DUI (driving under the influence);
  • Drug offenses;
  • Domestic violence;
  • White-collar crimes;
  • Other misdemeanors and felonies.

Whether you’re a first-time offender or you are on your third strike as a repeat offender, we are here for you. We’ll fight for you to get the best possible outcome for your case and ensure your rights are always protected.

Secure Legal Representation From a Mission Viejo Criminal Defense Attorney

Secure legal representation

The criminal defense legal process can be a long and difficult one. The criminal court system is very complex. It takes skill, knowledge, and experience to walk into a courtroom and effectively defend someone who has been accused of a crime.

The truth of the matter is there’s no shortage of criminal defense lawyers in California, and Mission Viejo certainly has its fair share, but the caliber and quality of legal guidance and representation that you get with the attorneys at The Law Offices of Frances Prizzia is what sets us apart.

Legal Consultation and Case Evaluation

At your initial free case evaluation, one of our criminal defense attorneys will walk you through the entire criminal legal process. We’ll discuss your options and discuss the next steps you will need to take in your criminal case. We’ll answer your questions and look at potential defense strategies.

Investigation and Evidence Gathering

As our client, you will receive the aggressive, personal attention that your criminal case requires. As we build your defense strategy, we will conduct our own investigation and gather evidence to support your case. We’ll talk to witnesses, review police reports, consult experts, and more so that we can identify the best possible defense for you.

Plea Negotiations

We’ll make sure you enter into plea bargain negotiations fully informed. You will have a good understanding of what you are agreeing to and what the outcome will be. If the deal is no good, we’ll tell you. If it is in your best interest to take it, we’ll also let you know. Ultimately though, it will be your decision. We will never take away your power.

Court Representation and Defense Strategies

When it’s time to go to court, we will be by your side, representing you, fighting for your rights. Whether it’s your arraignment, where you will plead guilty or not guilty, or it’s your jury trial, you can count on us to be there with you every step of the way. We understand that this is your life and future, and you deserve your day in court – we will ensure you have outstanding legal representation.

Bail and Pretrial Release Assistance

We will fight to get you released pretrial so that this experience has minimal impact on your life and responsibilities like family, school, and work. When your bail is set, we will try to negotiate the amount down or request you be allowed to walk on your own recognizance. Whatever the case, we will do our best to make it as easy on you as possible.

California Criminal Law Facts

Under California law, crimes are classified in three ways:

  • Infraction – This is the most minor of offenses and the written as a ticket. However, some infractions are filed via a “complaint” document by the prosecutor. There is no jail time for an infraction, but there is typically a fine.
  • Misdemeanor – This class of crimes has penalties that usually cap at a maximum $1,000 fine and one year or less in jail. However, some crimes exceed that and carry higher maximum penalties.
  • Felony – In California, if an offense can incur a penalty that exceeds one year in jail, it is considered a felony. These are very serious crimes with equally serious consequences. The fines can be very steep, and prison time can include life in prison or the death penalty.

In California, the prosecutors like California State attorneys, United States attorneys, and district attorneys make the call to prosecute, and they file the criminal charges.

The Criminal Justice System and Defense Process

The criminal justice system and defense process

There are several steps in the defense process. Having an attorney represent you is the best way to get through it. The earlier you get an attorney, the better – ideally, immediately after you’ve been arrested.

The first step in the process, after the arrest, is the arraignment. This is the stage where you will plead guilty or not guilty, of which the judge will accordingly decide whether or not to set bail.

The next step is the jury trial. That is where both sides present evidence and witnesses to support their side. The prosecution will attempt to prove you are guilty – they have the burden of proof. The defendant will have to show they are not guilty by presenting evidence and refuting the allegations of the prosecution.

Between the arraignment and the jury trial, there are investigations, a discovery which is a meeting where the prosecution and defense exchange evidence, depositions, and a pretrial hearing where the judge will decide if the prosecution has enough evidence or a strong enough case to prosecute.

Once the judge gives the verdict at the trial, the defendant will either go free or be convicted of their crime and either go to prison to fulfill their sentence or go to prison and begin working on their appeal.

Types of Criminal Cases Handled by Our Mission Viejo Defense Attorney

The Federal Bureau of Investigations Crime in the United States shows that Mission Viejo is a lower crime area than many cities in California. The Crimemap of Mission Viejo from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. The community is safe, and its residents and law enforcement want to keep it that way which means that crimes will often be vigorously prosecuted. Often the prosecuting attorney will seek the harshest punishment possible.

At The Law Offices of Frances Prizzia, we defend a wide variety of criminal charges. These are some of the most common crimes that our Mission Viejo attorneys have defended with very successful outcomes.

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence

Domestic violence is an escalating concern in our society worldwide. This means that prosecutors are highly motivated to get a conviction and prosecute to the fullest extent of the law. Domestic violence crimes are some of the most commonplace violations in Mission Viejo.

Drug Crimes

Illegal drugs are common in the majority of communities in the United States. Mission Viejo has its fair share of drug crimes. Most of the drug-related charges we see and defend involve possession and prescription drug crimes like abuse of controlled substances.

Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

Driving under the influence

Even though most DUI offenses are misdemeanors, the drivers are typically arrested. If someone is injured or there is a fatality due to a DUI-related accident, the charge becomes a felony. The charge is also a felony if the driver is a repeat offender.

Violent Crimes

Violent crimes are not common in Mission Viejo, so the prosecution is typically harsh when they do occur. Murder, sexual assault, kidnapping, and armed robbery carry severe penalties, including extensive prison time. If you have a violent crime charge against you, you could be looking at a maximum sentence. You need the legal assistance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer to help you.

Theft Crimes

Theft crimes

Theft is common everywhere, but in Mission Viejo, it is one of the most commonly reported and has the most arrests. A broad spectrum of crimes falls under theft, from petty theft (less than $950) and shoplifting to “bigger” crimes like grand theft auto and burglary. If an aggravating factor, such as a firearm or violence, is involved, even more charges can be added.

What To Do if You Are Charged With a Crime in Mission Viejo

If you are arrested for a crime in Mission Viejo, California, you first need to exercise your right to remain silent. Don’t talk to anyone, don’t try to talk your way out of the arrest, and absolutely don’t confess to anything.

The first and only words out of your mouth when you are arrested is, “I would like my attorney, please.” Anything that you say can be used against you in court.

Some officers may try to talk to you before they arrest you, and even if the judge deems it not admissible in court, it can still be included in the police report.

If you feel like you are being questioned or that they are leading you in some way so that you will say something to incriminate yourself, just stop. One trick they may use is to just be quiet, hoping that in your nervousness, you will talk to fill the silence. Don’t fall for that. Just be quiet.

Pay attention to everything that happens while you are arrested. Note the point that you were read your rights, any conversations between the officers, and everything that is going on. It may be relevant to your case later and help your attorney better defend you.

Getting an attorney right away will help ensure that you have the best possible outcome for your case.

Contact The Law Offices of Frances Prizzia for an Initial Consultation With Our Mission Viejo Criminal Defense Attorney Today

Contact the Law Office of Frances Prizzia for an initial consultation

Individuals who get legal help quickly after they are apprehended or charged with a crime can potentially increase the odds of having a better outcome and may even beat the charges against them. That is why getting an experienced criminal defense attorney right away is so important.

Call The Law Offices of Frances Prizzia today and schedule your free case evaluation. When you opt for our services, you can feel secure that we will work relentlessly to defend you and aggressively protect your rights. Visit our website or call today. We’re here for you.

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5000 Birch Street, Suite 3000
Newport Beach, CA 92660

Why Choose
Frances Prizzia Criminal Defense Lawyers


Client Centered Approach

Our clients are our priority, we listen & have your best interests in mind. Our philosophy is that crime is simply a symptom of a bigger issue that should be addressed.

Reputation by Excellence

"Top 100 Trial Lawyers" by the National Trial Lawyers and Clients' Choice by Avvo.


Over 17+ Years of Criminal Defense Experience on your side.

Innovative & Determined

We think outside the box and never leave a stone unturned.

You're Not Just Another Client

You're in a difficult situation that requires attention. Our boutique legal team walks you through the legal process so you don't feel lost.


We are available 24/7 for emergencies & offer free confidential consultations.
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