Criminal Defense Attorney
In Los Angeles

Sara Caplan is a highly experienced criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles, CA. She handles state, federal and juvenile cases all over California, and in other states as well. Sara Caplan will always diligently and effectively fight for you to get the best result possible. At the Law Office of Sara L. Caplan, we understand that defending criminal charges can be very difficult and traumatic. We are passionate about fighting for justice and compassionate about our clients and their cases. A criminal conviction can be devastating to you and your family. It can impact your ability to become a licensed professional and obtain employment. Whether simple misdemeanors, high profile or complex felonies, Law Office of Sara L. Caplan will completely analyze your case, conduct independent investigation and discovery of all facts and evidence, file and argue all necessary and advantageous motions with the court, consult with highly qualified and experienced expert witnesses, and pursue the best possible defense for you. For over 30 years in practice as a highly respected criminal defense attorney, Sara Caplan has successfully handled thousands of cases with very satisfied clients.

Why Choose Us

Sara Caplan is passionate about criminal justice and has spent her career fighting for her clients’ rights and protecting their futures. Sara Caplan is an experienced trial attorney specializing in defending criminal cases in state, federal and juvenile courts, as well as defending Title IX cases, administrative hearings and professional license board disciplinary actions. Sara Caplan has been a criminal defense attorney for more than 30 years, and has been co-counsel with Robert Shapiro on many cases for more than 20 years, including OJ Simpson, Phil Spector, and many other cases.

Protecting Your Liberty

Sara Caplan is Committed to Defending Every Client’s Case with Passion, Integrity and Expertise.

The Law Offices of
Sara L. Caplan Guarantee

Ethical criminal defense attorneys can never promise or guarantee any particular outcome for criminal cases. The Law Offices of Sara L. Caplan will never guarantee results in criminal cases or make promises as to potential outcomes or dispositions. However, we always promise to use our extensive experience (over 30 years) in this profession; to access our invaluable relationships with prosecutors, judges and experts; and to handle every case we defend with the highest degree of professionalism and respect. Ms. Caplan’s main passion and goals are criminal justice and criminal justice reform. She has exclusively dedicated her career to defending those accused of criminal offenses, including very serious and complex crimes. We promise to have the most up-to-date training on criminal defense laws, tactics, strategies and resources to employ every available defense in your case in order to successfully resolve your case with your best interests in mind.

Practice Areas

Assault and battery are two separate crimes in California. Assault (PC 240) is, “An unlawful attempt, coupled with a present ability, to commit a violent felony injury on” another person (the victim). For assault, defendant must have had the present ability (i.e., victim was nearby and defendant was ready, willing and able to cause harm to the victim) and defendant took direct action toward the completion of the intended act. No actual physical contact nor injury is required. An attempt or threat to injure or harm another person is sufficient if the victim reasonably believes they are going to be harmed or attacked. The defendant must have done the act willfully, or on purpose. Intent to violate the law is not required. An experienced lawyer can help determine if self-defense, defense of others, defense of property, accident, or other circumstances would be effective.

Assault can be charged as misdemeanor simple assault or felony aggravated assault, depending on the degree of danger or use of weapons. After conviction and successful completion of probation, felony assault can be reduced to misdemeanor assault (PC 17(b)) and expunged, or dismissed (PC 1203.4) as a misdemeanor for all purposes.

Battery (PC 242) is “any willful and unlawful use of force or violence” on another person. Only an offensive touching is required; no injury is required. Battery without injury is a misdemeanor. Battery causing serious bodily injury (PC 243(d)) is a felony. Physical contact is required for battery even if the contact is to the victim’s clothing, if you cause an object to touch the victim, or if you offensively touch something connected with the victim’s body, such as grabbing or knocking something out of their hand. Similar defenses to assault are available for battery and an experienced lawyer can help determine their effectiveness in your case.

When conversation gets heated, using physical force upon a loved one is always against the law. In some cases, it's necessary to defend self against violent behaviors. When charged with a domestic violence allegation, it can cause great stress thus it's necessary to find an experienced attorney to defend you. At Law Office of Sara Caplan, we are here to defend those who are wrongful accused of domestic violence.

In California, distributing and/or producing drug charges can be serious criminal offenses. If you are wrongfully charged with a drug crime, you need to find a defense lawyer that is willing to hear you and strategically defending in your favor. No matter which drug crime you are charged with, Sara Caplan will do whatever she can to fight for you.

Drug Crimes are most common, because drug crimes can vary in different cases the conviction you face may not all be the same. Some people get charged with a misdemeanor but in other cases charged with a felony. Drug crimes involve illegal drugs such as heroin, cocaine, marijuana and any other highly addictive drugs. Drug crimes include possession, transportation, trafficking and manufacturing of illegal substances. The charges for this criminal offense can be harsh.

DUI Convictions: Criminal Penalties

A DUI conviction may carry criminal penalties including fines, jail time, probation, and community service. Some state laws impose certain minimum penalties for first-time offenses, then designate increased penalties for each offense thereafter. Severity of criminal penalties will vary according to the circumstances of the offense, including:

Whether the driver has a history of DUI violations;

• Whether the driver was operating a commercial vehicle at the time of the DUI; 

• Whether the DUI violation occurred while there was a child in the vehicle; 

• Whether the DUI violation occurred simultaneously with another dangerous moving violation, such as reckless driving; 

• Whether the DUI violation involved a car accident in which property damage occurred; 

• Whether the DUI violation involved a car accident in which another person was injured or killed; 

• Whether the driver was under the legal drinking age at the time of the DUI violation.

DUI Arrest and Conviction: Driving Privilege Penalties 

In addition to potential criminal penalties, a DUI arrest or conviction will have an immediate negative impact on driving privileges.

Most state laws allow a motor vehicle department to immediately suspend the driver's license of any person operating a vehicle with a BAC above the state limit for intoxication, or any driver who refuses to submit to BAC testing. The driver's vehicle may also be confiscated or impounded, and the DUI offender will likely incur significant administrative costs. This loss of driving privileges can normally occur even before a DUI conviction. Most states allow a DUI arrestee to obtain a temporary license and request an administrative hearing at which he or she may argue against license suspension, or for restoration of limited driving privileges.

As with criminal penalties, the impact of a DUI arrest or conviction on driving privileges will vary according to the driver's history of DUI violations and the severity of the offense. An increasingly popular DUI penalty, especially for repeat offenders, is mandatory installation of an "ignition interlock" device on the offender's vehicle. This breath-testing device measures the vehicle operator's BAC, and will prevent operation of the vehicle if more than a minimum amount of alcohol is detected, such as BAC level of .02. Where this punishment is utilized, most states require the DUI offender to pay costs of installation, rental, and maintenance of the ignition interlock device. Rental fees alone can amount to as much as three dollars per day, so a DUI offender's expenses can add up quickly when an ignition interlock device is required.

When dealing with a federal charge, it's important to have an attorney who has federal case experience and has extensive knowledge about federal laws. In the past, Sara Caplan has worked on many white-collar fraud cases with high success rate.

A Felony crime is a serious crime punishable by at least one year in prison or more and even life in prison. Charges for a felony vary and have different penalties according to the crime committed. Examples of a felony crime are: fraud, identity theft, sexual abuse, mayhem, murder/manslaughter and kidnapping. People that have been convicted of felonies lose certain rights; for example, the right to vote. Even after being released from jail, people convicted of crimes may have to register with the police. There are significant long lasting effects in an individual's life when convicted of a felony.

A misdemeanor is a crime that is usually punishable by a fine or up to one year in jail. All crimes that are not felonies are misdemeanors. The first offense is seen as a misdemeanor any offense that is repeated is seen as a felony. A few examples of misdemeanors include: trespass, petty theft, disorderly conduct, and domestic violence. Similar to a felony, a misdemeanor will show up on your record, and can affect your life.

In California, penalties for unlawfully taking the life of another human being or fetus are harsh. Murder is a “strike”--a serious and violent felony. The sentence for a murder conviction may be enhanced if there proof of gang activity, aggravated circumstances (lying in wait, using poison, bombs, dangerous weapons) or if the killing was a hate crime.

First degree murder (PC 187) requires malice (evil or ill will) and pre-meditation with killing another human being. Second degree murder also requires malice, but premeditation and deliberation are not required. The felony murder rule applies to first and second degree murder. It permitted conviction for murder if someone was killed during the commission of a dangerous felony by an accomplice even if the individual had no intent to kill or join in the act of killing. In 2018, then Governor Brown revised the felony murder rule (SB 1437). Now, someone can be charged with felony murder only if they were the actual killer, intended to kill and aided, counseled, commanded or solicited the killing by another, were a major participant in the felony and acted with reckless indifference to human life, or the victim was known to be an on-duty law enforcement officer. These changes provide a basis to petition for resentencing in older convictions.

Voluntary Manslaughter (PC 192(a)) is a spontaneous killing, usually in the heat of passion or a fight, without malice. Involuntary manslaughter (PC 192(b)) requires no malice and no intent to kill, but involves conscious disregard for life. The types and degrees of killing another human being are significant distinctions that a competent criminal defense lawyer must know to provide the best defense, and to get the best outcome and lowest sentence possible.

Vehicular manslaughter (PC 191.5) involves killing someone while driving a motor vehicle. It may be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the egregiousness of the driving behavior. A “Watson” murder (PC 187) is a very serious type of vehicular manslaughter, caused by someone who is driving while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both. In Watson cases, the driver is considered to have known of the inherent danger of driving under the influence, intentionally done so and thereby acted with conscious disregard for human life.

There are certain legal defenses, justifications and recent law changes that effect murder prosecutions in California. It is essential that lawyers defending murder cases know work with defense investigators and experts in DNA, blood splatter, crime scene analysis, weapons, ballistics, pathology, cell phone logistics, forensic psychology, confessions, pathology, toxicology and police policy and procedure. This is essential to strategizing a viable defense to murder charges.

Capital murder cases are the most serious, aggravated murder cases. These are punishable by the death penalty or life in prison without parole. As of 2021, Los Angeles prosecutors are no longer seeking the death penalty under the policies of the new Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon. In 2019, Governor Newsom had imposed a moratorium on executions due to the risks of executing innocent people, and the racial disparity in these cases.

If you are accused of violation probation terms, you need to find an aggressive and experienced criminal defense lawyer for your case. Depends on types of violations, some violations are quite serious and can lead court judge to impose new conditions. When you need a probation violation lawyer to defend you, Sara Caplan is the one you need.

Charged with a sex crime can affect all aspects of your life. If convicted as a sex offender, it can destroy your relations with your work, family and friends. Therefore, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer to protect your rights and to determine the best strategies and resources to defend such inflammatory and serious allegations.

Sex crimes are criminal offenses involving illegal sex misconduct. Sex crimes in California include lewd conduct, child pornography, rape, sexual assault and sexual battery, child molestation, prostitution and human trafficking. Most sex crimes carry potentially serious penalties, including jail, rigorous sex offender counseling and sex offender registration. This pertains to juvenile sex offenders as well.

Convicted sex offenders of certain sex crimes must register with their local law enforcement agency annually and within 5 days of their birthdays, or whenever they move. Homeless sex offenders must report to the local law enforcement agency of the area in which they are present. Under Megan’s Law, once reported to local law enforcement, that agency informs the California Department of Justice. Cal DOJ maintains a public list of registered sex offenders for public safety protection. This information is available on the Internet on the DOJ’s Megan’s Law website. Employers, neighbors, family members can all access this information, which includes sex offender’s names, photos, identifying and contact information and the underlying sex offense.

Beginning January 1, 2021, California now has a three-tier system of mandatory registration time periods for sex offender registration. Depending on the nature of the offense, mandatory registration minimum time periods for individuals convicted in superior court (adults-over 18) must register for 10 years (Tier 1); 20 years (Tier 2) and 20 years to Life (Tier 3) and juveniles must register for 5 years (Tier 1) and 10 years (Tier 2). After meeting their mandatory minimum terms, sex offender registrants may petition the court for termination of registration requirements, but must continue to register until a court grants the petition for registration termination. Individuals with out of state sex crime convictions have special issues pertaining to registration and termination.

Some sex crime offenses are considered to be less serious. Less serious sex crimes carry less severe penalties, and a few do not require registration. It is important for your lawyer to master these legal distinctions to afford you the best defense and outcome.

Our Mission

Our mission is to provide each and every client with the highest quality representation available in order to obtain the best result in every case we defend. We accomplish our Mission by being available and accessible to our clients, by staying up to date on applicable law and defense strategies, and by maintaining close relationships with the best expert witnesses and investigators necessary for the best defense.

Honest, Clear and Professional. Sara L. Caplan,
Top Defense Lawyer By Your Side

Contact Us For a Free Case Evaluation



Criminal Defense Matter

Ms. Caplan is an excellent attorney who is very responsive to her clients. She is always accessible. She is also very knowledgeable and experienced. She takes the time to fully explain procedures...


Criminal Defense Matter

I was charged with a serious felony and came to Ms. Caplan for legal representation. It was a difficult case to defend and one which had received a lot of negative media coverage, both local and...

Errol S.

Criminal Defense Matter

She is an instant wining defense attorney.


Criminal Defense Matter

Sara is the best. She is passionate and really cares about her clients and what is right. She takes her cases very personally and in this day and age to find an attorney who cares about her clients...


Criminal Defense Matter

Sara L. Caplan Esq. Is a terrific attorney and an all around wonderful person. She took great care of a family friend who was in a terrible situation. Sara went beyond mere duty to her client. She...

Michael J. (CEO Digital Evidence)

Criminal Defense Matter

I had the pleasure of working with Ms. Caplan, and she is a great attorney.


Criminal Defense Matter

Sara always worked efforfully to obtain a great outcome for my brother. He was facing very serious criminal charges. The charges were dismissed after he completed a 1-year probation sentence.

Steven A, Esq.

Criminal Defense Matter

Sara is extremely gifted attorney, with tons of experience and deep practical knowledge.


Criminal Defense Matter

Sara handled our case with the utmost care and professionalism that you could want . Her experience and intelligence, along with a wonderful heart make her the best lawyer I've ever been around.


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