Westminster Criminal Lawyer

Law Offices of Frances Prizzia
Westminster criminal lawyer

Facing criminal charges can be an overwhelming, even frightening experience. You probably have several questions if you have been arrested in Westminster, California. It’s a lot to process, for sure.

It requires the expertise and proficiency of a seasoned criminal defense attorney to see you through a situation like this. You require someone who is in your corner and will address your inquiries, walk you through each step, and work tirelessly to guarantee that you achieve the best possible conclusion for your case. You need someone who is aggressive in the courtroom but supportive when it comes to their client – you.

You should not attempt to navigate through a situation like this on your own, and you don’t have to when you call attorney Frances Prizzia to represent you.

Experienced Representation From a Westminster Criminal Lawyer

Experienced representation

Hiring a criminal defense attorney is a task not to be taken lightly. They will serve as your legal representative in the courtroom and throughout your case. Still, when you hire criminal defense attorney Frances Prizzia to represent you, you get a trusted partner who will stand by you, provide emotional support, and fight for you to protect your rights.

Our commitment lies in ensuring that every client we represent has the best possible outcome for their case. And we extend that promise to you.

California Criminal Law Facts

When an individual faces criminal charges, they are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. That is a fundamental right as an American given to us in the U.S. Constitution. When a person is arrested in Westminster, CA, they have the right to legal representation. That is another of their rights given by the U.S. Constitution. If they are not able to afford an attorney, one will be appointed to them at no cost.

Nevertheless, it is advisable to engage the services of an experienced Westminster criminal lawyer for a more personal experience.

California has three types of criminal offenses based on severity. Each classification carries specific penalties.

  • Infractions – These are minor offenses that are usually ticketed, but a prosecuting attorney may file certain infractions as a complaint. The penalty for infractions is fine but no time in jail unless the fine is not paid.
  • Misdemeanors – This criminal offense falls between an infraction and a felony in severity. The penalty for a misdemeanor is a fine of up to $1,000 and/or up to 364 days in the county jail.
  • Felonies – This criminal offense is the most serious, and the penalties match in severity. The range of penalties is vast and depends on the seriousness of the crime. The worse the offense, the harsher the penalty. They can include fines, probation, and prison time, including life in prison and, in certain cases, even the death penalty.

The state brings charges against the accused, and the case is heard in criminal court. No one else is authorized to bring charges against someone, only the state, which the office of the District Attorney represents. However, in some cases, prosecution falls on the city attorney. Each county in California has its own District Attorney’s office. The case is prosecuted and heard at the counter where the crime was committed.

The Criminal Justice System and Defense Process

The criminal justice system and defense process

The criminal justice system is very structured and follows a standardized process to ensure that each case is given the necessary time and attention it deserves. The goal is that justice be served. Most of the time, it works.

The criminal defense process has several steps:

Arrest – When a person is placed in formal police custody for an offense they are believed to have committed, it is called an arrest. They are read their rights by an officer and transported to jail, where one of three things happens:

  • The prosecutor decides he does not have enough evidence to file charges, and the accused is released.
  • The accused posts bail or is released on his own recognizance.
  • The accused is remanded to jail until they are arraigned.

Arraignment – This is the first court date for a criminal case. The prosecution enters formal charges, and the defendant enters either a plea of guilty or not guilty.

Discovery – This is the evidence exchange. The criminal defense attorney exchanges evidence with the prosecuting attorney. This evidence includes physical evidence, witness statements, exculpatory evidence, and police depositions.

Preliminary Hearing – This is the court date where it is determined if the case will move forward. The criminal defense attorney and the prosecuting attorney meet before a judge, and the judge determines if the prosecution has sufficient evidence against the accused to take the case to trial. No jury is present.

Jury Trial – This is the actual trial where the defendant’s fate is determined. There is a judge and a 12-member jury. The jury will hear the evidence presented by both sides and then determine whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty of the charges that have been brought against them.

Appeals – When the defense or prosecution believes there has been a legal error or mistake in the trial, they may appeal the case to be heard in a higher court. Two legal errors qualify a case for an appeal: a prejudicial error or a lack of substantial evidence. There must be a valid reason for filing an appeal, and it can’t be that one side did not agree with the decision.

What You Need To Do After an Arrest in Westminster

Getting arrested is never a good experience. It is often highly emotionally charged, and you might have difficulty keeping cool, especially if force is used. However, you must do everything possible to stay calm and rational throughout the process.

If you are facing criminal charges in Westminster, CA, here’s what you need to know:

Stay quiet. Do not try to explain or talk your way out of the arrest. It can cause more problems for you. Just remain silent until your defense lawyer shows up.

Call a defense lawyer. You do have the right to a court-appointed attorney. Still, you typically have a better chance at a more favorable outcome if you hire an attorney with a Westminster criminal defense firm to represent you. Start asking for an attorney as soon as you are arrested.

Don’t resist arrest or fight. It might be tempting to fight or run away but don’t. The odds are stacked against you, and there is a significant likelihood that you will be caught – that will be much worse. You will also have additional charges.

Makes notes about the arrest. Pay close attention to how you are arrested and processed. Were you read your rights? Did the officer have an arrest warrant? Was there a search warrant? Were your rights infringed upon in any way? All this information needs to be given to your attorney.

Don’t discuss your case with friends or relatives. Your attorney is the sole individual you should discuss your case with. If you talk to anyone and the prosecution uses them as witnesses, it could negatively impact your case.

Stay off social media. Don’t post about your arrest or case. Anyone who comments is a potential witness against you, and comments made can be used in court – against you.

Criminal Offenses Handled by Our Westminster Criminal Lawyer

Our Westminster, CA, law firm is home to a team of aggressive criminal defense attorneys who have experience in several criminal cases.

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence

Women are not the only victims falling prey to domestic violence. Men can suffer such an ordeal, too. And this offense can manifest in various forms, such as physical abuse, verbal abuse, sexual abuse, intimidation, and emotional abuse. It can happen in heterosexual marriages, same-sex marriages, or intimate partner relationships.

Sometimes self-defense against domestic violence is mistakenly perceived as DV by officers. It requires the proficiency of an experienced criminal defense attorney to show the truth of the situation.

Drug Crimes

Drug crimes

Prosecutors nationwide have drug crimes on their radar, pushing for the harshest penalties possible. California drug crimes typically involved distribution, sales, possession, and manufacturing. You need a relentless criminal defense attorney to fight for your cause if you have been charged with a drug crime.

Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

Driving under the influence

Westminster, CA, takes DUI charges very seriously. There is such a great potential for significant loss, damage, and death, so these crimes are prosecuted harshly. But if you have a criminal DUI, you already know you made a mistake. You don’t need the lecture – you need help. We will vigorously fight for you and make sure your rights are protected.

Violent Crimes

Violent crimes

Violent crimes carry severe penalties that are often long-lasting. These crimes can be very complex, so you need a competent criminal attorney who knows the ropes and can help you, whether getting your charge reduced or getting a reasonable plea deal, but always ensuring you are treated fairly.

Theft Crimes

Theft crimes

Theft crimes are serious, but some are more serious than others. Shoplifting or burglary are usually not as serious as carjacking or armed robbery. Whatever the case, a theft conviction can impact your life long after your debt is paid. An accomplished criminal defense attorney can help you get the most favorable result with the least impact on your future.

The Law Offices of Frances Prizzia Can Help You Throughout Your Legal Battle in Westminster

At The Law Offices of Frances Prizzia, we are dedicated to affording each client with personalized, compassionate, professional care and attention to their case. We understand that your case is significant to you, and we also make it our utmost priority.

Each case is as distinct as the individuals involved, so we approach our clients without prejudice or bias. We have no preconceived notions about the charges or the person. We want to hear YOUR story. We want to know what happened from your point of view. Then we will collect the evidence to develop a solid defense strategy so that you have the best possible outcome for your case.

Schedule an Initial Consultation With Our Westminster Criminal Defense Attorney at the Law Offices of Frances Prizzia

Schedule an initial consultation with our criminal defense attorney

You deserve top-notch legal representation for your criminal case, and at the law firm of defense lawyer Frances Prizzia, we are committed to providing that for you. Call us today to schedule your free consultation, and allow us to examine and assess your case with you. We will then explain the options available to you and begin working on a rock-solid defense. We will fight for you and make sure that we protect your rights at all times.

You deserve the peace of mind that comes with knowing that your criminal case is in good hands. That’s what we offer. Call us first.

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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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