Firm Overview – Hedding Law Firm
I began my legal mission to become the best criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles over 25 years ago. Immediately upon passing the California bar exam, I opened up my own private criminal defense practice.
I had the background of working for the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office (which gave me an idea from the prosecutor's side of how they investigated and prosecuted cases).
In the early 1990s, Ira Reiner lost the District Attorney of Los Angeles County to Gil Garcetti, whose son is now the Mayor of Los Angeles. It was interesting to see the political upheaval that followed when Mr. Garcetti took office and the lead up to Ira Reiner's defeat.
I also worked for a Los Angeles Superior Court judge as his research attorney in 1992 (which gave me a great perspective on how a judge decides a case and what will matter to them in making their decisions. I strategized with the judge before he made his legal rulings.
This behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of the DA's Office and the process of how a judge decides cases has served me well from the first time that I appeared in court to the present day.
I entered the criminal defense practice with an eye toward how I could become the best. I took every case I could get my hands on and did not care how much the client paid me; I just wanted the experience and the opportunity to test my skills.
If the client wanted to go to trial, I reveled in the chance to destroy the prosecutor's case and win for my clients. Over the years, I have litigated severe many murder cases, complex federal crimes, and just about every case you can imagine.
I have represented people from every walk of life, doctors, lawyers, police officers, actors, athletes, the list goes on and on. Because I was a top-level debater in college and law school, I have had a massive advantage over the prosecutors and racked up many impressive wins.
Today, I still love what I do and enjoy the battle of a great trial. If you want to read more of my story, please pick up a copy of my book….”The Art of the Perfect Defense.” My effort is to help someone in trouble and look for answers to their questions.
The practice of criminal defense, specifically sex crime defense, has many different elements. To give your client justice, some cases must be prosecuted to the fullest extent. In contrast, others must be negotiated in a political landscape that can be quite treacherous for the faint of heart attorneys that do not have the battle-tested experience to properly defend their clients for a sex crime case in California.
Often, the prosecutor you are dealing with does not have the authority to settle a case, and the defense attorney must know who to talk to achieve a fair resolution for their client.
There are so many different facets of a sex crime case that you are best served by meeting face to face with the attorney you are considering hiring and coming up with a list of questions that get down to what you are going to need to know to choose someone that will protect your rights, freedom, and reputation.
What Main Goals Should You Have in a Sex Crime Case?
First and foremost, if you are innocent of the crime, then your main goal should be to get the case dismissed. There are many ways to do this, but it always comes down to you hiring an attorney who has the skills to either convince the prosecutor that they should dismiss the case or tell your story to a jury and persuade them to find you not guilty.
The strategy behind what must be done takes command of the circumstances, battle-tested experience, and the talent to achieve the result your client must have. A face-to-face conversation with the attorney you believe is the right person for the job is a must.
And, you better ask them the tough questions and be satisfied with their answers. Make sure they give you a natural response that makes sense about what you did and what the prosecutors will be able to prove.
If, on the other hand, you are guilty of the crime you are charged with, then the strategy becomes different. You should still find the best local seasoned attorney you can, but now it is a matter of damage control.
In my opinion, the three key things to concentrate on are not registering as a sex offender for the rest of your life, staying out of jail, and protecting your criminal record. One of the first things I discuss with clients is which of the above are most important to them? Everyone wants to avoid all three of the above.
However, depending on the circumstances of the case, sometimes that wish is not practical. Sometimes tough decisions have to be made under a lot of pressure. This is where the skills and experience of the best criminal defense attorneys in Los Angeles are put to the test.
In the first consultation with the client, I always bring these issues up and have a frank, straightforward conversation about them, so we can begin from the earliest stage to set up the step-by-step process of making the right decisions that will lead to the best outcome.
We offer clients excellent legal advice, guidance, and resources at the Hedding Law Firm. If you are hesitant to hire a lawyer, please come in and let our Los Angeles sex crime defense attorneys at our firm go over your case and all your options.
See for yourself that we have the drive, persistence, knowledge, skill, and strategy that qualify us to defend your sex crime charges effectively.
We place every effort to get you the best results possible and do everything to protect your legal rights. Our sex crime lawyers have a combined 75 years of experience, and we have handled thousands of sex crime cases throughout Los Angeles County.
Why Is It Important To Get An Attorney Involved Early?
For several reasons, it's imperative to get an attorney involved early on in a sex crime case. Often, the police will want a defendant to provide a statement, which is usually not a good idea unless the defendant's attorney has agreed that doing so would be in their best interest.
Statements are often the best sources of evidence against an individual and can be taken out of context to negatively impact the defendant's case. Having an attorney at the pre-filing stage in a sex crime case is crucial because they can buffer the accused and the police, ensuring that the accused does not make any incriminating statements.
Early in the process, an attorney can negotiate with the prosecuting attorney, explain the defendant's side of the story, and paint them in the best light.
Can My Attorney Stop Charges From Being Filed?
As long as there is some evidence in favor of an individual, an attorney can stop charges from being filed against them. An attorney can provide this evidence to the police and ensure that an individual is adequately defended from the beginning.
What can our lawyers do with the pre-filing investigation to avoid filing criminal charges? Our defense lawyers can hire an investigator to investigate a defendant's version of events, speak to the police and prosecutor on behalf of the defendant, and ensure that all critical evidence has been shown to the prosecuting attorney at the beginning of the case.
Can I Be Charged With A Sex Crime With No Witnesses?
Cases that involve sex crimes that were not witnessed or caught on video can be prosecuted but may be more challenging to win. In ‘he said, she said cases, the evidence is crucial to the outcome and determination of innocence or guilt.
For example, suppose someone says that one person punched and sexually assaulted them, but there were no injuries to show it. In that case, the defense could use the lack of injuries to prove the defendant's innocence. Conversely, if there were proof of injuries consistent with being punched and sexually assaulted, the prosecution could use that to prove the defendant's guilt.
How Will I Know When Charges Have Been Filed?
An attorney will determine when charges of a sex crime will be filed by talking with the investigator and prosecutor on the case. Suppose I represent a person likely to be charged with a sex crime. In that case, I will typically tell the prosecutor that when they get ready to have my client arrested, I will arrange to have them turn themselves in and post bail, fight the case, or work out a resolution.
Once prosecutors and police gather all of the evidence, there are several different ways they can alert someone of their impending arrest.
Depending on the circumstances of a case, how dangerous the prosecutor and the police have deemed a defendant, and the strength of the defense attorney's arguments, the police may show up at their house to arrest them or make arrangements with their attorney to have them surrender themselves.
Can My Attorney File Motions Suppress Evidence?
Those individuals who find themselves unfortunate for being charged with a sex crime in California have a tough road to hoe. What I mean by that is these charges are political.
Prosecutors, judges, and even juries immediately look at a criminal defendant in a bad light simply because they're charged with a criminal offense. It's not fair; it's not right in the criminal justice system that someone is presumed guilty because they're accused of a sex-related crime.
There aren't many motions that can be filed until a sex crime case has been filed. Investigations and polygraph tests can be done in suitable types of cases. Even though polygraph tests can be unreliable and are not inadmissible in court, they can be helpful under certain circumstances. The correct moves in any particular case are best determined by an experienced and knowledgeable sex crimes attorney. It's essential to get a lawyer involved early in your case.
Defenses in Sex Crime Cases
One of the primary defenses that I see utilized with success in Los Angeles when it comes to sex crimes is consent. Meaning the other party consented to whatever the touching was. Whether it was physical touching, having sex, or oral copulation – whatever the case may be – if you can show that the other party was at least eighteen years old in California and agreed to have sex, then obviously, that's not a crime.
Some people get drunk, intoxicated, take pills, and they wake up the following day and all of a sudden they think they've been raped when in actuality, all the circumstances that surrounded the situation – at least to the other person – whether that person was interested and then wanted to have sex, and just because both parties drank too much for example, that doesn't necessarily mean that the person who is being accused should be charged with a sex offense.
Another defense which is kind of kin to consent, is that based on the circumstances and the actions of the other party and what they said and what they did, I believed in my mind that they were consenting to have sex, and this is a lot of cases that I see because people get together, maybe alcohol is involved and the next thing you know they're having sex.
The sex appears consensual, then when the other party wakes up in the morning, that other party may have some issues. For example, they may have a boyfriend or girlfriend, and now they feel guilty for what they did, and they're looking for somebody to blame.
And instead of accepting responsibility for their actions because they did consent and it did appear to the other person that they were interested in having sex with them, they decide to blame the other party and say there's no way I would have had sex with that person, so therefore I'm now going to say that they did something inappropriately to me, go to law enforcement. Now the person has a sex crime case against them.
Another thing I see going on with these sex crime cases is that people are trying to gain an advantage in some civil arena. For example, I can't tell you how many times I've seen people engaged in a divorce or a custody battle; suddenly, one party, to gain an advantage, claims that there was some sexual abuse either to them or one of their children.
It couldn't be further from the truth, but they know if they can get a conviction for a sex crime against the other party, they will have a massive advantage in a divorce or child custody case. They stand to make thousands of dollars in a divorce settlement, so they decide they will drum up some sex-related offense.
The defense to this is truth. If it's true that the person is lying about it and that you didn't commit any sex offense – and they don't have any evidence or the witnesses to support the allegations – then obviously, you're not going to be held accountable.
Another defense that I utilize is that the other party had some motive to lie. Sometimes people become angry – they have different reasons for becoming biased and mad towards another person – and now here they go making up some sex allegations.
I think many people, including myself, cannot believe that some person could blame another person for some sex offense knowing how serious these offenses are treated. Still, they do, and that's the sad thing about it, and obviously, you're going to need a great criminal defense attorney who's handled these types of cases before and knows how to defend them and knows what to do.
Another defense that can be used is, listen, it didn't happen that way. I've got witnesses or evidence – whether by text message or circumstantial evidence – or we have a witness that can dispute some of the facts that the alleged victim is claiming.
So, it sounds kind of simple. It says not that sophisticated, but sometimes the defense is, listen, it didn't happen that way. That person is not telling the truth. It's my word against their word. They do not have the evidence to back up the other party's word.
And again, that's where an attorney has to come in, do an investigation, get experts in line if it's relevant to your case, and then be prepared to battle it out.
What if There is No Defense against the Sex Crime?
If you have a situation where you don't have a defense in a case because the prosecutors have the evidence – whether it's my video, witnesses, or just a surrounding circumstance – then your criminal defense attorney will need to negotiate for you.
When I negotiate these cases, I get character letters from your work; I get letters from people who know you and respect you. We also tell your version of events. A lot of times, the police only got half the story. Your understanding of events needs to come out so that the prosecutors and judge see that something else is going on here, not just what the alleged victim says.
Once we get all the evidence out, now we're in a position to sit down, negotiate, and obviously, take into consideration your record, your rights, your freedom, your reputation and try to set things up so you can get out of the criminal justice system as fast as possible and do some damage control to bring you a result you can live with. Contact us to review your case.
Our Los Angeles Sex Crime attorneys represent cases in any California courthouse, including Los Angeles Metro Court, LAX Court, Van Nuys Court, San Fernando Court, Sylmar Court, Alhambra Court, Central Arraignment Court, Burbank Court, Glendale Court, Hollywood Court, Pasadena Court, Pomona Court, Torrance Court, and Santa Clarita Court.
In Ventura County, California, in Oxnard, Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Ventura, Moorpark, Santa Paula, Port Hueneme, and Fillmore.
In Orange County, California, in the cities of Santa Ana, Anaheim, Irvine, Huntington Beach, Garden Grove, Orange, Fullerton, Costa Mesa, Mission Viejo, Westminster, Newport Beach, Buena Park, Tustin, Yorba Linda, San Clemente, Laguna Niguel, La Habra, Anaheim Hills, San Juan Capistrano, Laguna Hills, Seal Beach, Laguna Beach, and Los Alamitos.
In Riverside County, California, Riverside, Moreno Valley, Corona, Temecula, Murrieta, Indio, Hemet, Palm Desert, Lake Elsinore, Palm Springs, La Quinta, Coachella, San Jacinto, Banning, Desert Hot Springs, and Rancho Mirage.
San Bernardino County, California, San Bernardino's cities, Fontana, Rancho Cucamonga, Ontario, Victorville, Rialto, Chino Hills, Apple Valley, Redlands, Montclair, Loma Linda, Barstow, Yucca Valley, and Big Bear Lake.