Meet Criminal Defense Attorney Jennifer Mouzis

Have You Been Charged With A Crime? Begin The Fight For Your Freedom Today

Criminal Defense Attorney

Prison time, heavy fines, and a damaged reputation are all very real consequences of criminal charges. During this time of uncertainty, you may be feeling lost, scared, and overwhelmed.

Despite the seriousness of your situation, don’t jump to the conclusion that your case is hopeless.

With the right attorney by your side, you’ll have a fighting chance to receive a reduced sentence or a full acquittal. At the Law Offices of Jennifer Mouzis, we aggressively defend the rights of those who have been accused of criminal conduct in California. Whether it be a misdemeanor, felony, juvenile or DUI case, our goal is to protect your rights, your record, and your freedom.

With everything on the line, act quickly. Call our office 916-822-8702 to schedule a consultation.

Mouzis Criminal Defense RatingCRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Former Prosecutor Now Fighting for the Accused

Criminal Defense LawyerHi, I’m Jennifer Mouzis. As your attorney, I will vigorously fight to help you win your freedom and clear your name. I have built a reputation in the Sacramento area as a veteran of tough cases with an aggressive style that is proven to get results. I don’t see my clients as criminals, I see them as people who have made mistakes. You deserve a second chance.

With me by your side, you’ll have a distinct advantage. As a former prosecutor with the Sacramento District Attorney’s Office, I gained valuable experience learning how the other side works, and I’ve put that knowledge to good use by achieving the best possible outcomes for my clients.

Criminal Defense Layer Jennifer Mouzis offers legal defense in many different areas of criminal law, including but not limited to:

  • Assault & Battery
  • Child Abuse
  • Domestic Violence
  • Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
  • Murder
  • Manslaughter
  • Theft & Vandalism
  • Probation Violations
  • White-collar Crimes
  • Kidnapping
  • Robbery/Burglary
  • Sex Crimes
  • Juvenile Crimes
  • Internet Crimes
  • Arson

Sacramento Criminal Defense Lawyer Mouzis Happy Client Cleared of All Charges (charged with murder)

Foundation of Criminal Defense

In the American criminal justice system, there are three fundamental principles:

#1 – Presumption of Innocence:
Anyone who is charged with a criminal offense is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

#2 – Burden of Proof:
As a defendant, you have no burden to prove that you are innocent. The burden of proof is all on the government. They have to present convincing evidence in testimony and prove you are guilty to a jury of your peers.

#3 – Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt:
This is the highest burden of proof in the criminal justice system. The jury or judge has to be firmly convinced that the state has met the highest standard burden of proof, and that you are guilty of committing each and every act of the charged crime.

What Is The Difference Between A Misdemeanor And A Felony?

There are key differences between a misdemeanor and a felony in the judicial system.

A misdemeanor is a minor criminal offense, whereas a felony is a much more serious, usually violent, criminal offense.

Examples of felony violations include:

  • murder
  • possession of dangerous drugs for sale
  • robbery
  • rape

Examples of misdemeanor violations are:

  • petty theft
  • driving on a suspended license
  • vandalism
  • drunk driving

The essential difference is the severity of punishment.

A felony conviction can land you in state prison, but a misdemeanor will only have you do time in the local or county jail.

A felony can involve a fine up to $10,000 and a sentence of up to life in prison or even the death sentence for special circumstance murder. A misdemeanor is generally punishable by a $1,000 fine and a maximum of one year in county jail.

In addition to the longer punishment, a person convicted of a felony:

  • loses the right to vote
  • cannot possess firearms
  • cannot obtain certain licenses, such as a hunting or a fishing license
  • is also required to disclose a conviction when applying for jobs
We Love our Past Clients

Criminal defense Help

The Criminal Defense Court Process

Criminal defense attorney Jennifer Mouzis is well-versed in the specialized rules of your local court and can help you navigate the criminal justice system with ease. Below is a general overview of what you can expect after an arrest leading up to a verdict.

The Arraignment

An arraignment is your first appearance in court.

  • The judge will advise you of the charges made against you and let you know your constitutional rights
  • You will enter a plea of Guilty or Not Guilty
  • Future court dates are set: Felony Disposition Conference(FDC) and a preliminary Hearing
  • Bail is determined and set according to the danger you pose to community, seriousness of the crime, and whether or not you are a “flight risk”
    • If you are in custody up until the time of the arraignment, the judge may release you “on your own recognizance” with the promise that you will return for scheduled court dates.
    • The judge may also decide to send you back to jail until bail is posted, or refuse you bail and send you back to jail.

Discovery Process

Within a few days after the arraignment, the prosecutor will send our law office:

  • police reports
  • lab reports
  • evidence items

This is a process called “discovery” and allows us to discuss the evidence against you and formulate an effective defense strategy.

Opportunity To Take A Plea Deal, Reduce Your Sentence

The Felony Disposition Conference (FDC) is also referred to as the plea bargaining conference.

Defense lawyer for defending criminal charges

In this meeting, the judge, prosecutor, and myself will gather in the judge’s chamber to discuss your case. The prosecutor will present their best argument as to why they think you are guilty. Sometimes the prosecutor will make an offer to settle the case without a trial or preliminary hearing. The offer will most likely involve you accepting to plead guilty to the crime in exchange for a lesser sentence.

For example, if you have been charged with murder, the charge may be downgraded to manslaughter, which carries a lesser sentence.

Soon after, I will let you know what the exact offer is and it will be up to you to decide if you want to accept it or not.

  • If you take the offer, you will waive your right to a jury trial and will sign a change of plea form
  • If you choose instead to plead not guilty, a date and time for your preliminary hearing will be confirmed

The Preliminary Hearing

experienced Sacramento based criminal defense lawyer
Within 10 court days from the date of your arraignment, a preliminary hearing is held. The purpose of the hearing is not to prove guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt;” this is a much higher standard required at trial. Rather, the prosecutor only needs to persuade the judge that there is a strong enough suspicion that you have committed the crime.

The prosecution can present evidence in the form of testimony from:

  • police officers
  • victims
  • other witnesses
  • documents, photos and recordings may also be admitted

As your lawyer, I will have the opportunity to challenge the evidence and cross-examine the witnesses. If the judge determines there is no probable cause, the case is thrown out and you win. If the judge determines that the prosecution has a viable case, then an issue will be ordered requiring you to stand trial.

Opportunity To File Motions

Before trial, I will have the opportunity to file motions to suppress certain evidence.

For example, if we have discovered that the police unlawfully obtained evidence in your case, then we need to make sure that evidence gets thrown out and is deemed inadmissible in court.

There also may be a need to file a motion to force the prosecutor or police to disclose any evidence which could help prove your innocence.

Jury Trial

The trial is required to begin within 60 days from the date of your trial court arraignment.

If your case is a misdemeanor charge, you have the right to proceed to trial within 30 days if you are in custody, or 45 days if you are out of custody, from your initial arraignment date.

Here is what you can expect during a trial:

  • Jury questioning and selection – 12 members of the community will be chosen by myself and the prosecutor
  • Opening statements
  • Presentation of evidence
  • Closing arguments
  • Verdict
  • Sentencing

In trial, all 12 jurors will have to believe beyond a reasonable doubt, the highest legal standard, that you are guilty of each and every act of each and every crime that you are accused of.

This felony process from beginning to end could take anywhere from several months to a year, depending on the charges.

Probation: An Alternative To Prison

If convicted of a felony in California, sometimes the judge may order “formal” probation in lieu of a prison sentence, which will allow you to serve your sentence in the community.However, the judge does have the discretion to send you to county jail for up to a year.

Those eligible for probation usually include those who have no prior history of committing a serious or violent crime and are deemed to be capable of rehabilitation.

Felony probation in California typically lasts 3-5 years and includes such requirements as:

  • meeting with a probation officer
  • paying damages to the victim
  • drug testing
  • performing community service
  • participating in rehabilitation programs

If you violate or fail to comply with any of the terms of the probation, the judge can send you to state prison up to the maximum term.

If you are convicted of a misdemeanor, the judge may order “informal” probation instead of issuing a fine or jail sentence. Unlike felony probation, you are not required to report to a probation officer. Instead, you periodically go back to court for a review of your progress.

If you violate probation, the judge can send you to county jail.

Can I Clean Up My Record After I Complete Probation?

If you have been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony, you may be able to get your conviction expunged.

As your attorney, I can petition the court to:

  • reopen your case
  • set aside conviction
  • withdraw your plea of guilty
  • enter a plea of not guilty, which will close the case and dismiss a conviction

Eligibility for expungement includes:

  • Your probation has been successfully completed
  • You do not have current criminal charges against you
  • You are not serving time for criminal charges
  • You are not on probation for criminal charges
  • You were not convicted of a serious sexual offense against a child
  • You did not serve time in state prison

 

Juvenile Crimes: My Child Has Been Arrested, What Now?

If your child is in trouble with the law, I want you to know defense attorney for juvenile crimesthat our practice has a great track record of keeping kids out of state prison.

As a former prosecutor in the Juvenile Court System, I developed a strong foundation for later specialization in the legal defense of juveniles in the criminal justice system.

In California, individuals under the age of 18 who are charged with a crime are usually sent to juvenile court, a court designated to meet the special needs of children and teenagers charged with crimes.

juvenile courts are designated to rehabilitate, whereas adult criminal courts are more focused on punishment.

Can My Child Be Charged As An Adult?

Yes. Your child may be transferred to the adult court system to be tried as an adult if your child is between the age of 14 to 17 and has committed a very serious crime such as:

  • murder
  • rape
  • arson

Client TestimonialAs a defense attorney, I generally like to keep the case in juvenile court because the punishment tends to be much less. With that said, it is sometimes beneficial for a child to go to adult court because a prosecutor would have to convince all 12 jurors that the crime was committed beyond a reasonable doubt.

This decision, however, cannot me made until the details of your child’s case are carefully reviewed.

If Your Child Is Found Guilty Of A Serious Crime In A Juvenile Court:

The judge will not order your child to adult jail. Instead, the sentence may be time in:

  • a probation camp
  • a foster or group home
  • the California Division of Juvenile Justice (prison for minors)
  • juvenile hall

Probation for minors can include the following conditions:

  • Attend school
  • Follow a curfew
  • Attend counseling
  • Perform community service
  • Pay restitution to the victim

If you’re facing criminal charges, call for a consultation today with our Sacramento based criminal defense attorney Jennifer Mouzis. Be confident that your case will get the time and attention it needs for the best possible results.

DUI Defense Attorney in Sacramento, CA

Arrested For A DUI? Let A Tough Former Prosecutor Help You Fight The Charge

Sacramento DUI lawyer
If you or a loved one have been arrested for suspicion of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in Sacramento County, California, it’s imperative to contact a competent DUI attorney who can act quickly to protect your rights.

A DUI is a misdemeanor criminal offense and shouldn’t be taken lightly. If convicted, you’ll have a criminal record that could impact your ability to secure employment, obtain credit, keep insurance costs down, and much more.

Even as a first time offender, you face severe penalties such as:

  • license suspension for at least four months
  • three month mandatory completion of drug and alcohol program; enhanced to a six-month program if you refused a chemical test at the time of arrest or had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .20 percent or greater
  • three years informal probation
  • A $390 fine (which could be converted to 13 days of Cal-Trans roadside work or 13 days of jail)
  • there are additional penalties and fees which can add up to as much as $2,500
  • mandatory installation of interlock breath device
  • mandatory SR-22 insurance coverage
  • up to a 1 year suspension of drivers license
  • maximum six months imprisonment in county jail

Second Time Offense:

  • 3-5 years probation
  • minimum of 96 hours to a maximum of one year in county jail
  • between $390-$1,000 in fines
  • there are additional penalties and fees which can add up to as much as $2,500
  • up to a 2 year suspension of drivers license
  • completion of an 18-month or 30-month court-approved California DUI school

Third Time Offense:

  • 3-5 years probation
  • minimum of 120 days to a maximum of one-year in a county jail
  • between $390-$1,000 in fines
  • there are additional penalties and fees which can add up to as much as $2,500
  • up to a 3 year suspension of drivers license
  • completion of a 30-month court-approved DUI education program
  • three year California driver’s license revocation which, after 18 months, may be converted to a restricted license
  • Designation as an “habitual traffic offender”

DUI Attorney, Jennifer Mouzis is dedicated to helping you fight the DUI charges against you, whether you’re being charged with misdemeanor drunk driving or more serious DUI related charges, such as California Felony DUI or DUI Causing Injury.

Call (916) 822-8702 today for a Free consultation or case evaluation

Don’t assume the evidence against you is insurmountable. There are many effective defense strategies DUI Attorney Mouzis can employ to get the charges against you reduced or dismissed altogether. There are even ways she can get a DUI expunged from your record.

More often than not, police officers and medical personnel make mistakes in the course of their investigation which make it very difficult for them to convict you. As a former prosecutor, Attorney Mouzis knows where the problems of proof lie and can use her knowledge to your advantage.

You Have 10 Days To Avoid A License Suspension: Call The DMV Now!

When you were arrested, the police officer most likely took your driver’s license and defense attorney for DUI chargesgave you a pink slip, or a 30 day temporary license. When the 30 days are up, your license will be automatically suspended.

You can be granted an extension if you call the California Department Of Motor Vehicles (DMV) within 10 calendar days of your arrest (including weekends and holidays) and request a Stay, Hearing and Discovery.

The DMV must be contacted at (916) 227-2970 

A Stay will allow you to keep driving after your pink slip has expired up until the date of your hearing.  A Hearing allows you the opportunity to challenge the DMV’s attempt to suspend your license.

If you retain DUI Lawyer Mouzis as your attorney, she can schedule this hearing up for you. She will also send a written request for discovery, which is the evidence in your case — a copy of the police report, blood test results, breathalyzer result, surveillance tapes, etc.

DMV hearings only applies to alcohol arrests. If you got arrested for a California DUI of drugs charge–including DUI of marijuana, DUI of Vicodin or DUI of Ambien–there is no DMV hearing. A conviction of a drug charge in court would result in a license suspension.

DUI Charges in California

In most DUI cases, there will be two separate charges filed against you:

  • Vehicle Code 23152(a), driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs; and
  • Vehicle Code 23152(b), driving with a Blood Alcohol Level of 0.08% or more.

DUI Defense Strategies

There is always a margin of error in DUI arrests. Law enforcement may neglect to follow standardized procedures in the roadside investigation, evidence may be contamination or breathalyzers may be defective.

Here are some of the specific potential defenses your DUI Lawyer Mouzis may pursue to reduce or dismiss your charges:

Improper Stop: Did the officer have probable cause to stop you? Did they have a valid suspicion of alcohol impairment? The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution protects individuals from unreasonable searches and seizures.

How to defense DUI chargesIf there was no probable cause to stop you, any questioning or field sobriety tests performed are not admissible and a motion to suppress can be filed to have the evidence thrown out.

Field Sobriety Testing Protocol: Did the officer administer these tests in accordance with protocols established by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration? We can subpoena the video footage of the traffic stop to verify if protocol was followed.

Inaccurate Breath Test: Was the breathalyzer properly administered and in proper working order at the time of the arrest? Perhaps, there were other key factors that affected the reading, such as:

  • radio frequency interference from a police radio
  • mouth alcohol contamination (burping within 20 minutes prior to giving sample)
  • gastroesophogeal disease
  • chronic heartburn
  • fever

Rising Blood Alcohol Contamination: To be convicted, the prosecution must be proven that your BAC level was at .08 at the time you were driving. This is significant because it takes the body anywhere from 45 minutes to 3 hours for alcohol to be fully absorbed into the bloodstream after you’ve stopped drinking.

The more time passes, the higher your blood concentration will rise. If you were tested an hour or two after your last drink, you may test over the legal limit because your body was still absorbing alcohol.

If your absorption process wasn’t complete by the time you submitted to a blood or breath test and your BAC was still rising, we can claim that your BAC was exaggerated and not a true representation of what it was at the time you were driving.

Blood Inaccuracy: It’s not uncommon for contamination to occur in laboratories — test tubes may be out of date and not sterile, blood is not refrigerated, or there could be mishandling of samples by lab workers.

DUI Attorney Mouzis can arrange to have a sample of your blood retested by an independent facility for both alcohol and preservative.

Reduce Charges Through A Plea Bargain

If the DUI charges against you cannot be dismissed, there is an opportunity to negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutor to get the charges reduced. These reductions may include:

Wet Reckless: You agree to plea to a reckless driving involving alcohol charge.

Advantages:

  • shorter probation period
  • lesser fines
  • does not trigger a court imposed license suspension
  • ignition interlock device not enforced
  • carries a maximum sentence of 90 days in jail vs. six months

Disadvantages:

  • still two points on your record
  • still counts as a prior DUI offense if you receive another DUI in the future

Dry Reckless: You agree to a plea of driving in a manner that shows flagrant disregard to the safety of other motorists

Advantages:

  • shorter probation period
  • lesser fines
  • does not count as prior DUI if you receive another DUI in the future; rather you would be sentences as first time offender
  • won’t cause your insurance premiums to skyrocket or cancellation of your policy

Disadvantages

  • still two points on record

Felony DUI

Under California law, a drunk-driving offense becomes a felony if:

  • injury or death has occurred
  • you have a past felony conviction
  • you are convicted of three or more DUIs in the past 10 years
  • you engaged in willful and reckless conduct to evade a police officer
  • you committed a hit and run while driving intoxicated

Potential Penalties for DUI Felony Conviction

  • 16 months to 4 years in jail, with a possible combination of an alcohol education program and jail
  • three year minimum license suspension; potentially permanent
  • hefty fines, restitution
  • in-patient/out-patient rehabilitation
  • five years probation
  • lose several personal liberties, such as your right to vote, purchase a firearm and obtain a passport

Sacramento DUI Lawyer:

Call today for an appointment for a consultation to discuss your DUI case.