Depending on the nature of the allegation, a criminal lawyer will sometimes be able to prevent criminal charges from being filed. A lawyer’s job in pre-arrest representation is to manage the flow of information, if any, between you and law enforcement. The information gathering phase is critical in an investigation and making the right decisions about what information to share and not to share could mean the difference between being charged or not being charged, and worse, being found guilty or not-guilty.
Paul Bergman is a Professor of Law at the UCLA School of Law and a recipient of a University Distinguished Teaching Award. His recent books include Reel Justice: The Courtroom Goes to the Movies (Andrews & McMeel); Trial Advocacy: Inferences, Arguments, Techniques (with Moore and Binder, West Publishing Co.); and Represent Yourself In Court and The Criminal Law Handbook (both with Berman-Barrett, Nolo). He has also published numerous articles in law journals.
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1. A court may not render a judgment which transcends the limits of its authority, and a judgment is void if it is beyond the powers granted to the court by the law of its organization, even where the court has jurisdiction over the parties and the subject matter. Thus, if a court is authorized by statute to entertain jurisdiction in a particular case only, and undertakes to exercise the jurisdiction conferred in a case to which the statute has no application, the judgment rendered is void.