Pasadena CA Criminal Defense Lawyers
Defending The Rights of the Accused For Over A Decade
If you or a loved one are under investigation or have been arrested for a criminal offense in CA, you’re most likely frightened, panic-stricken, and unsure of what to do next.
The reality is, breaking the law has consequences, some of which can be life-changing.
A criminal conviction can lead to jail time, hefty fines, a drivers license suspension, or probation. Beyond the legal punishments, you may also endure damage to your reputation which could affect personal relationships and your ability to secure employment or lines of credit.
In order to successfully fight the charges against you, it’s vital to seek the assistance of a skilled and trustworthy criminal defense attorney.
Thankfully, you’ve come to the right place.
Vigorous Pasadena Criminal Defense Lawyer To Keep You Out of Jail and Protect Your Reputation
I’m Donald J. Matson — you can call me Don. I’ve been fiercely defending the rights of the accused for more than 10 years. No matter what crime you’ve been accused of committing, you are entitled to a zealous defense in a court of law.
As your attorney, my primary focus is to get the charges against you dropped or, at the very least, substantially reduced.
I have a comprehensive understanding of the criminal justice system and extensive experience with the courts in Los Angeles County, Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego County.
I know the tactics law enforcement and state and federal prosecutors will use to try to prove your guilt, but I have the experience and resources needed to fight back.
I prepare every case as if it’s going to trial and you can count on me to do everything possible to ensure you receive a favorable outcome. I will investigate your charges thoroughly to determine that all searches, seizures, interrogations and questioning are completed in a lawful manner. No stone will be left unturned.
Personalized Attention and Compassionate Care Guaranteed
If you become my client, you can expect to be treated like a member of my own family. I care about what happens to you, not just in a legal capacity but on a personal level.
I believe that we all make our fair share of mistakes and everyone deserves a second chance.
If there is an underlying issue related to your charges and you require treatment or rehabilitation, I will help you take the necessary steps to get back on your feet.
Call me today to schedule a Free consultation (626) 773-6965. Together, we will talk about your charges and put together a winning defense strategy.
If you decide to hire me as your attorney, I offer fair and flexible payment plans.
Top-Notch Representation for a Variety of Criminal Charges In Pasadena, CA
The Criminal Defense Lawyer Don Matson, specializes exclusively in criminal law and serves clients in Pasadena and throughout Southern California.
Whether you are facing a simple misdemeanor or a serious felony, the loss of driving privilege, or want to clean up your criminal record — we can help!
- Driving Offenses
- Drug Crimes
- DUI or Driving Under the Influence
- Federal Crimes
- Post-Conviction Matters
- Probation violations
- Expungements of criminal record
Exercise Your Rights
Being arrested and charged with a crime does not necessarily mean that you will be convicted. You are innocent until proven guilty.
Here are a few tips if you are under investigation, have been arrested or booked for a criminal charge:
- You have the right to remain silent, and you should. You do not have to answer any of the police officer’s questions until you have contacted a lawyer.
- Don’t plead guilty without discussing your legal options with us.
- Don’t consent to a search of your person/residence/vehicle. Demand a search warrant.
Is There A Warrant Out For Your Arrest?
If you suspect that there is a warrant out for your arrest or you have received notice that one currently exists, it’s important to have legal representation to protect your rights.
You shouldn’t have to live in continuous fear, always looking over your shoulder wondering if someone is going to knock on your door.
Avoiding a warrant will only make the situation worse and result in additional penalties.
Don’t take the chance of being detained without having legal representation to protect your rights.
Types of Warrants
In California, a judge can issue a bench warrant or an arrest warrant.
A bench warrant may be issued if you failed to:
- pay a court-imposed fine
- attend a mandatory court hearing
- comply with probation orders, such as community service/treatment/classes
An arrest warrant may be issued if:
- law enforcement has gathered sufficient evidence to determine that there is probable cause to believe you committed a crime
If there is a warrant out for your arrest, you can be detained anywhere — including your home or workplace. Felony warrants may be served at any hour, during the day or night.
On the other hand, misdemeanor warrants may only be served between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.
Attorney Matson has helped countless individuals get their warrants recalled without ever having to show up in court. He knows what is needed by the court to convince the judge to release you on your own recognizance or to set a reasonable bail amount.
Misdemeanors Vs. Felonies in California
In California, a misdemeanor is by definition a less serious crime than a felony and includes a maximum sentence of no more than one year in county jail and a fine up to $1,000.
A felony conviction can lead to more than a year in county jail or state prison and a fine of $10,000.
Another crime classification in CA is a “wobbler” which can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony.
- Shoplifting (less than $950)
- Simple Domestic Violence
- Possession of Controlled Substance
- Simple battery
Probation for Misdemeanors
If you’re convicted of a misdemeanor, you’ll most likely be put on probation which may include:
- completing community service
- house arrest
- paying financial restitution to victim
- First Degree Murder
- Second Degree Murder
- Assault and Battery
- Drug possession for sale
- Residential burglary
A violent felony charge is an extremely serious accusation that could change your life forever.
If convicted, you may face:
- lengthy prison sentence (including life in prison)
- exorbitant fines
- anger management classes
- restitution for medical expenses of the victim
- death penalty
When the stakes are this high, you need a criminal defense attorney who is at the top of his game. Attorney Don Matson has what it takes to get you a Not Guilty verdict or a reduction in penalties.
Fierce Defense For Felonies and Violent Crimes
If charges are filed against you for a crime of violence, it is absolutely critical that you have the best defense possible.
The following are just a few of the strategies to fight the charges against you:
- Reasonable Doubt
- Police Misconduct: contamination of physical evidence, illegal search and seizures
- Exposing lies told by witnesses
- Inaccurate eyewitness identification
- Racial profiling
- Plead an insanity defense
- Negotiate a plea deal
Are You Facing A DUI Charge? A Top Pasadena, California DUI Lawyer
If you’ve been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI) in California, you may face harsh penalties such as:
- the loss of your drivers license
- points on your driving record
- higher insurance costs
- heavy fines
- jail time
- counseling/treatment program
- installation of an ignition interlock device
The best way to safeguard against a DUI conviction is to hire a criminal defense attorney with a proven track record of success defending against DUI charge.
DUI Legal Process in California
The DUI process in CA involves both the criminal court system and the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
If your BAC level was in excess of .08, you will be charged with two misdemeanor crimes: DUI under Vehicle Code 23152(a) and Driving with Excessive BAC under Vehicle Code 23152(b).
Your DUI charges may require several court dates over several months. During this time, Attorney Don Matson will:
- collect evidence
- file motions
- negotiate with the judge and prosecutor to seek a dismissal or reduction of charges.
You Only Have 10 Days to Save Your License
If you want to contest the suspension of your driver’s license, you must contact the DMV and schedule an administrative hearing within 10 days of the date of your arrest.
If you miss this deadline, you will lose your driving privileges for a minimum of 4 months.
If you hire us before the 10 days is up, we can contact the DMV for you and represent you at the hearing.
Effective Defense Strategies Used to Beat A DUI
While it’s true that California’s DUI laws are among the strictest in the nation, there are many sound defense strategies:
Challenge the Legality of the Traffic Stop: The arresting officer must have had
probable cause to pull you over, or a “reasonable suspicion” that criminal activity had occurred. If we can prove the arrest was not legal, the evidence collected during the stop would be inadmissible in court and the charges against you would most likely be dropped.
Question the Accuracy of the Field Sobriety Tests: Field sobriety tests are used as a means to determine intoxication but are often considered to be unreliable and flawed. There are many reasons a person may “fail” a sobriety test that are wholly unrelated to being drunk including: poor footing, weather conditions, bad coordination, being overweight or having a physical ailment, etc.
Challenge the BAC Results of the Breathalyzer: Not properly calibrated; equipment malfunction; incorrectly administered; health condition such as GERD
Cast Doubt on Blood Test Results: Blood tests are usually considered to be an accurate form of BAC testing, but there are instances in which it’s possible for errors to occur which create false positives. An inaccurate blood test result may derive from: unqualified or inexperienced testers; outdated or poorly maintained equipment; mishandling of samples in how they were collected, stored and/or transferred.
Rising BAC Argument: It takes 30-90 minutes for alcohol to be absorbed into the blood stream. As your body absorbs the alcohol, your BAC rises. California law says it’s illegal to be “under the influence” while driving but most chemical tests aren’t performed until after you’ve been driving.
California DUI Penalties
The severity of punishment is mostly determined by whether or not you have prior convictions.
First DUI Offense
- 48 hours to 6 months in county jail
- Minimum fine of $390, not to exceed $1,000
- Completion of a 3 or 9 month alcohol/drug treatment program
- 30 days to 10-month driver’s license suspension
Second DUI Offense
- 96 hours to 1 year in jail
- up to $1,800 fine
- Completion of an 18 or 30 month alcohol/drug treatment program
- 2-year driver’s license suspension
Third DUI Offense
- minimum of 120 days in jail
- 3-year license suspension
- up to $1800 fine
Fourth DUI Offense
- can be charged as a felony; possible sentence up to 3 years in prison
Tough Defense for Drug Crimes
Being charged with a drug-related crime in California is a serious matter with potentially devastating consequences.
The office of Criminal Defense Lawyer Don Matson offers tough defense for anyone charged with the sale, possession, transportation, trafficking, or manufacturing of drugs.
Drug offenses are charged and punished based on the following factors:
- The type of drug involved (cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine,
heroin, ecstasy (Methylenedioxymethamphetamine), GHB)
- The amount/weight of drug or drugs
- Any prior convictions, particularly for drug-related offenses
- Whether any minors were involved
- Whether weapons were involved
- If any other crimes were committed in conjunction with the drug crime
Common Defense Strategies Against A Drug Charge
- Unlawful Search and Seizure: Under the 4th Amendment, you are protected from unreasonable searches and seizures. If law enforcement did not have probable cause to search your person or belongings, it would be a violation of your rights under the Constitution. As a result, any evidence collected would be inadmissible in court.
- The drugs did not belong to you,
- Crime lab analysis reveals that the substance in your possession was not illegal,
- The drugs were planted on you,
- Entrapment, or
- You had a valid prescription for the drugs found in your possession at the time of your arrest.
Alternative Sentencing: Rehabilitation Instead of Incarceration
Criminal Defense Attorney Don Matson recognizes that some drug crimes signify an underlying addiction and shouldn’t result in a jail sentence.
Don is a strong advocate for helping those who struggle with addiction, and he strongly pursues alternative sentencing including drug rehabilitation and treatment programs.
Proposition 36 – Prop 36
The Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act, also known as “Prop 36,” allows non-violent first time and second offenders of simple drug possession the opportunity to get substance abuse treatment. The duration of this treatment is up to one year, with an additional six months of aftercare treatment.
Deferred Entry of Judgment – DEJ
To take advantage of a Deferred Entry of Judgment, you would enter a guilty plea but would not be convicted. Your case would be put on hold for 18 months while you attend drug education classes.
Federal Criminal Offenses
A federal crime is any criminal activity that breaks U.S. federal law or is committed on federally owned property (post office, airport, national parks, etc.)
Types of Federal Crimes
- Internet crimes (child pornography distribution)
- Tax crimes
- Money laundering
- Manufacturing, distributing and trafficking illegal drugs particularly involving large quantities, interstate or international operations
- Immigration law violations
If you’re being investigated by the Feds or have been indicted, you may be facing severe penalties such as jail time, fines, probation and community service. Federal crimes are severely prosecuted with much harsher sentencing than at the state level.
In order to effectively take on the government and fight these charges, you need a highly effective criminal defense attorney on your side.
Attorney Don Matson offers top-notch legal defense in federal crimes. He has comprehensive knowledge of U.S. Constitutional laws and the federal crime process as a whole. Matson also has a firm grip on the Federal Sentencing Guidelines that will be used to determine punishment for your alleged crime.
No matter what you’re up against, Attorney Matson will launch a vigorous defense on your behalf to deliver a positive outcome.
Clear Your Criminal Record — Get The Fresh Start You Deserve
If you have a criminal past that is still affecting your life in negative ways, California has options to help you get your criminal record cleared or expunged. An expungement removes prior convictions from the public record.
- Improves chances of getting a job. You can legally answer “no” on a job application when asked if you have ever been convicted of a crime.
- More likely to be viewed as an ideal tenant when applying for an apartment
- If you are ineligible for federal student loans because of drug convictions, you can have your eligibility restored
- Easier access to loans
Are You Eligible for Expungement?
Certain criteria need to be met to be eligible for an expungement of your record, including:
- successfully completed probation
- completed all classes and treatment
- paid all fines, fees and restitution
- were not arrested or convicted during probation
The office of Criminal Defense Lawyer Don Matson, will handle every aspect of your expungement case from the initial filing to the court hearing.