Frequently Asked Questions


What should I do if a loved one has been arrested?
The sooner you call the lawyers of MBL the better.  Through our numerous contacts we quickly attempt to secure bail.  Attorneys can often obtain information about the charges and visit clients immediately.

What if I have already pleaded guilty or been sentenced?
KMBL has tremendous experience in “post-conviction” remedies including withdrawal of plea agreements, appeals, writs of habeas corpus, and petitions for certiorari to the United States Supreme Court.  We are also able to assist you in clearing your record including “setting aside” prior convictions under California Penal Code 1203.4 and sealing juvenile records.

Are federal offenses different than state crimes?
State crimes are prosecuted after a violation of law passed by a state legislature or local authority is committed.  Federal criminal charges are brought against someone who has allegedly violated a law passed by the United States Congress.  Although there are many crimes that may be prosecuted in both federal and state courts, they are at their essence different.  Federal crimes generally focus on matters of a broader national concern.  There are separate criminal codes, court systems and differing sentences and punishments for state crimes and federal crimes, with a federal conviction many times carrying harsher repercussions.

If you or a loved one has been charged with a federal offense, you should contact us immediately.

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What is a civil rights suit?
A civil rights suit is a legal case against a representative of a government entity for violating the civil rights laws of an individual. Such cases include, for example, excessive force committed by a police officer; failure to provide mental health care for a disabled person in jail or prison; failure to provide medical care in jail or prison; failure to disclose evidence helpful to an accused’s defense that undermines confidence in the verdict; and government or private discrimination in housing, employment or facility access on the basis of race, sex, sexual orientation or disability. MBL specializes in individual and class action lawsuits.

When does a civil rights suit have to be filed?
For violations of federal law, normally a lawsuit must be filed within two years from the date of the injury. For violations of California law, even if brought with a federal claim, an administrative claim against a government entity normally must be filed within six months of injury; a lawsuit must be filed within six months from the time the administrative claim is resolved.

How long does a civil rights suit take?
From the occurrence of the incident violating a person’s civil rights, the case can take from eighteen months to four years for a court decision, depending on the complexity of the case. Where there are claims against individual defendants, they may have the right to a pretrial appeal on certain issues, which can add two or more years.

How do the attorneys decide what cases to take?
KMBL decides which cases to take based on a careful balancing of: (1) merits of the claim – how strong is the evidence supporting the civil rights violation; and (2) the severity of the claim – because of the intense time commitment required to take a civil rights case, we generally take damages cases that are very severe and likely to trigger significant damages. In class actions, severity can also be a function of the damages for all class members. We also at times take civil rights cases involving important injunctive relief and policy change.

What do I need to do if I want your help on a civil rights suit?
Write out a clear, detailed description of what occurred that you believe constitutes your civil rights violation, and describe the evidence supporting the violation. You should not write more than a two page description. You should preserve whatever evidence exists – photos, documents, etc. – so you will have it for your case and provide the evidence to your attorney.

Do you handle cases on a contingent basis?
We handle most of our civil rights cases on a contingent basis, and some on a retained basis or a combined retained and fee basis. This is determined on a case by case basis by analyzing, among other things, the strength of the case and the client’s ability to pay for all or a part of the case. If clients are in a position to do so, we at a minimum ask them to pay for the costs, but we do not reject a case because the client cannot pay for costs.

Why should I choose your firm?
MBL has over 40 years of experience vindicating civil rights and challenging law enforcement for civil rights violations. We also have over 40 years’ experience representing criminal defendants, in state and federal court in California. We have tried hundreds of cases before a jury, and are very successful in reaching handsome settlements and favorable verdicts for our clients based on our intensive preparation and pre-trial litigation skills. Because of the complexity and difficulty in suing a government defendant, it is crucial that your attorneys be experienced, confident, and highly skilled. Further, collaboration amongst your attorneys is critical, in that they need to strategize and intensely work with each other throughout the litigation. We can confidently say that our firm contains an exceptional level of combined civil rights and criminal cases, and of collaborating with each other to produce the best results in a civil rights lawsuit. Defendants throughout California, and particularly in the County of Los Angeles, are aware that we are extremely good at what we do. Our results prove this to be true.

If you or a loved one has had your civil rights violated, please submit a free case evaluation.

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