Areas of Practice

Mr. Sherrod has handled thousands of criminal cases, ranging from misdemeanors such as driving while intoxicated all the way through the most serious felonies like complex white collar fraud cases and homicide. The depth of this experience is invaluable when representing clients who have been charged with a crime.  As a former prosecutor, Mr. Sherrod is extremely familiar with how the government puts a criminal case together. As the saying goes, once you understand how to put something together, you've also learned how to take it apart.

At Sherrod Defense, we treat every case as the most important event occurring in the life of our client at that moment, regardless of whether it's a felony, a misdemeanor, or a pre-filing investigation. We never forget that the outcome of our efforts on behalf of our client shape that individual’s life. This is a fact, and a fact that our firm never loses sight of. Our lawyers are the smartest and most talented in the  industry,  and commit to achieving nothing less than the very best outcome in every unique situation.

Stated simply, we measure our success by the results and the resulting peace of mind we are able to obtain for our client.

Below are some of the areas of criminal law Mr. Sherrod specializes in:


Federal Crimes

The Department of Justice, The U.S. Attorney's Office, and the F.B.I. form a formidable prosecution team on the federal level. Top-notch investigators, seasoned prosecutors, an immense variety of charging options, and draconian federal sentencing guidelines ensure that once a criminal filing has been leveled against an individual, a long and difficult process to clear one's name is to follow.

Federal charges often include crimes such as false statements to a federal officer, wire fraud, mail fraud, computer crimes, drug trafficking, tax evasion, and bribery.

Federal defense is often motion intensive, meaning a great deal of time is spent researching, authoring, filing, and arguing motions before a judge. This motion practice is vital to either secure a more favorable plea deal or to lay the groundwork for  an effective defense at trial. Trial preparation includes reviewing testimony with expert witnesses, preparing civilian witnesses, and being able to challenge law enforcement officers on their home turf. Again, experience is critical. Having worked in a federal prosecutor's office and subsequently handled thousands of criminal cases at the District Attorney's office, Mr. Sherrod understands that the only path to success lies in fighting the government's position in every phase of the case.

Time is particularly vital when you are the target of a federal criminal investigation. If you suspect that federal charges may be imminent, contact Mr. Sherrod for an overview of your options, and the optimal course of action.


Pre-filing investigations

As a general word of advice, hire the best criminal defense attorney that you can afford the first moment that you have reason to believe that the government has turned its attention in your direction. It is almost always the case that the police or FBI have heard only one side to the story, and they will likely file criminal charges based on that incomplete understanding of events. Once criminal charges have been filed, the situation becomes measurably more involved, including issues such as arrest, pre-trial incarceration, and bail.

It is greatly beneficial to have an advocate intervene on your behalf BEFORE criminal charges have been filed, while the case is still in the investigatory phase. By meeting with the police, FBI, District Attorney's Office, and the U.S. Attorney's Office at an early stage, we are able to present our client's side of the story. In doing so, the government is then in a much better position to make an informed decision. This can often result in a decision to either file no charges whatsoever, or charges of much less severity than would otherwise have been considered.

At Sherrod Defense, we pride ourselves on discreet, professional representation. The first moment you suspect that you may be targeted by the government, contact us. We'll assess what the best course of action is, and move to place you in the best possible position going forward.


Driving Under the Influence


After handling many hundreds of driving under the influence cases as a prosecutor, Mr. Sherrod is an experienced professional at spotting the weaknesses in the government's case. More often than not, the police and the government have committed numerous errors prior to the filing of a DUI case. We capitalize on these mistakes for the benefit of our clients. For example, a timely motion to suppress evidence will often reveal that the police had no probable cause to pull over the driver of the car in the first place. This results in an immediate dismissal of the charges, and an end to the case.

We also find it crucial to work with the best experts in the field of alcohol and narcotics toxicology. After our experts review the government's evidence, more errors often come to light, and present invaluable evidence to either secure a more favorable plea deal or successfully present to a jury at trial.  For example, police agencies will often have fallen behind in their legally required calibration records for blood alcohol measuring devices. This often proves to be a fatal blow to the government's case, and our clients benefit.

If not handled properly by an expert,  DUI cases can have dramatic consequences in the lives of those who are accused. Heavy fines, extensive state-required classes,  and job consequences such as the loss of professional licenses can all flow from a DUI conviction.  If we accept your case, you will be assured of the most discreet, professional, and results-based representation in the field of DUI defense.


Gang Offenses


The section of California law that covers gang crime, Penal Code section 186.22, imposes some of the most harsh penalties in the entire criminal justice system. It is also one of the most widely abused sections of the law, used by the government to escalate relatively minor crimes into much more serious offenses. This is often done using nothing more than the opinion testimony of a law enforcement officer. For example, if a young man makes the mistake of spray painting his name on a wall, this is a misdemeanor vandalism charge. He will likely be required to pay for the damages and perform some community service. However, if a police officer testifies that he believes the young man was painting  in order to “benefit a gang,” that same young man is now eligible for state prison.

Mr. Sherrod has handled hundreds of cases involving California's gang enhancement statutes, and is well versed in the strategies used by the police and the government to unfairly increase the seriousness of many ordinary crimes. If we accept your case, you will be assured of the most discreet, professional, and results-based representation in the field of criminal defense. Contact Sherrod Defense for an overview of your options, and the optimal course of action to defend against gang charges.


Violent Crime

Violent crimes include robbery, assault, arson, terrorist threats, kidnapping, and murder.  Typically, they are those crimes that are accomplished through the use of force or the threat of force. They are almost always charged as a felony, and carry some of the most severe punishments in the entire criminal justice system. Lengthly prison sentences are typically extended with the use of enhancements, which account for factors such as the degree of injury inflicted, use of a weapon, and prior convictions.

These offenses can have dramatic consequences beyond a prison sentence for anyone who is convicted. Loss of immigration status, inability to own a firearm, the loss of the right to vote, workplace repercussions, and the societal stigma of being branded a “violent felon” can all persist throughout the remainder of one's life.

Ironically, these are often some of the least difficult charges to defend against. With the involvement of an experienced, aggressive defense attorney, the investigation typically brings to light a version of events dramatically different from the prosecution's theory of the case. Witnesses are forced to admit that they are incorrect, biased testimony is brought to light, and motivations to give false testimony are exposed.

An experienced, aggressive attorney is crucial if one hopes to obtain a positive outcome. Mr. Sherrod has handled thousand of violent felonies; contact Sherrod Defense for an overview of your options and the optimal course of action if you have been charged with a crime of violence.


Theft-Related Crimes

Theft crimes vary broadly in California, from misdemeanor shoplifting charges involving merchandise at a retail outlet to much more serious felonies like grand theft, burglary, embezzlement, extortion, credit card theft, and receiving stolen property. The nature of the theft and the quantity of funds, goods, or services stolen will determine what type of charge the government will file against you, and the severity of punishment you face.

Even serious theft charges can often be resolved with minimal consequences through creative negotiation with the government. A civil compromise may be entered into whereby criminal charges will be reduced or dismissed entirely upon repayment of the stolen funds or property. Additionally, many of these crimes are difficult for the government to prove that the defendant had the required guilty state of mind when the taking happened; this lends itself to very effective defense strategies at trial.

If a compromise can not be reached and the decision is made to force the government to trial, experience is critical to a successful outcome. Mr. Sherrod has spent countless hours arguing cases in front of juries, obtained over 50 jury verdicts, and has been recognized as one of the most effective and forceful trial attorneys in Los Angeles. Contact Sherrod Defense for an overview of your options and the optimal course of action to defend against these charges.


Drug Charges

Narcotics crimes consist of state and federal violations of drug laws, a rapidly evolving field of law.  These laws make it a crime to possess, sell, distribute, import, cultivate, manufacture, or traffic in controlled substances such as marijuana, cocaine, crack, heroin, ecstasy, methamphetamine, steroids and other street drugs. In California, it is also a crime to possess or distribute unauthorized prescription drugs, such as Oxycontin, Percocet, Vicodin, Xanax, and Valium.  Furthermore, it is illegal to possess drug paraphernalia or the precursor drugs used to manufacture narcotics such as methamphetamine.

Charges can be either felony or misdemeanor, depending on the type and quantity of drugs found, whether they were used for possession or sale, whether minors were involved, and any prior criminal history.

In California, a legally troublesome situation in regard to marijuana exists whereby an individual can be in total compliance with all state laws, and yet still face extremely serious federal charges with mandatory prison sentences.

Even at the state level, there is a great deal of confusion on the part of police and prosecutors as to who is in compliance with the laws of California with respect to marijuana collectives, cultivation, and possession of marijuana when one has a “medical marijuana” card.

With so much uncertainty, it is imperative to rely on an attorney who is experienced in the laws and defenses available to individuals charged with drug crimes. Having handled many hundreds of such cases as a prosecutor, Mr. Sherrod is extremely familiar with how the police and the prosecutors put their cases together. Contact Sherrod Defense for an overview of your options, and the optimal course of action to defend against drug charges.

Domestic Violence

In terms of the number of cases filed by prosecutors in California, domestic violence charges comprise one of the most rapidly growing categories of crimes. Domestic violence is defined as the infliction of physical injury resulting in a traumatic condition on a spouse, former spouse, someone you are or were in a dating relationship with, or the mother or father of your child. This charge can be either a misdemeanor or a felony, although prosecutors prefer to file a felony and then negotiate down to a misdemeanor. 

As with other crimes of violence, there are always two sides to every story, and a skilled defense attorney makes sure all of the facts come to light for the judge and jury. Often, domestic violence charges stem from situations where one individual has a motivation to try and get the other into trouble by inventing or exaggerating what really happened. In other situations, self defense reasonably explains why an individual who is charged with a crime was forced to act violently. What can initially look like a criminal action can later turn out to be nothing more than reasonable behavior that any otherwise law abiding citizen would take in similar circumstances.

Utilizing defense investigators, we interview witnesses, seek out additional evidence such as surveillance video and phone records, and develop a comprehensive strategy to defeat the prosecution's case and exonerate our client. Having handled many hundreds of domestic violence cases, Mr. Sherrod has the experience of dealing with practically every conceivable situation that may arise. Contact Sherrod Defense for an overview of your options and the optimal course of action to defend against these charges.


White Collar Crimes

White collar crime refers to that class of nonviolent criminal offenses committed by business and government employees for financial gain. Examples include embezzlement, misappropriation of funds, insider trading,  money laundering, bribery, identity theft, and fraud. This is a very complex, fascinating, and rapidly expanding area of criminal law. The charges are almost always felony in nature, and the consequences for a conviction depend on factors such as the severity of the conduct, the number of victims, the degree of sophistication utilized to commit the crime, and the dollar amount of the loss. These charges are filed at both the federal and state level, depending on the nature of the conduct.

Above any other type of crime, white collar offenses demand a defense attorney of the very highest caliber. The nuances of the law are subtle, and will be lost on an inexperienced, unprepared, or deficient lawyer. The results will be catastrophic to the client, potentially leading to significant prison time and financial ruin.

Individuals who are unrepresented by a defense attorney and are facing a white collar investigation by the government often undertake the very actions that, in the end, assure that they have no realistic hope of mounting an effective defense. In a panic, these individuals agree to speak with the police and the FBI, hoping to explain away their role in the situation. Often, the government agents make the target of the investigation feel that if they merely cooperate, everything can be sorted out and life can return to normal. The government then uses this very evidence against them, ensuring a conviction.

As illustrated above, it is absolutely vital to obtain a criminal defense attorney of the highest caliber the moment you suspect that you are the target of a white collar investigation by the government. Time is not your ally in this situation. At Sherrod Defense, we rapidly build a wall between you and the government, and immediately begin to formulate a defensive strategy. If you are being investigated or have already been charged with a white collar crime, contact Sherrod Defense for an overview of your options and the optimal course of action to protect your finances, your freedom, and your peace of mind.


Gun Offenses

California has one of the most complex set of gun laws in the United States. Many people move here from other parts of the country believing that the same laws apply, only to find themselves charged with very serious criminal offenses that can impact the rest of their lives.

Broadly speaking, California's gun laws fall into two categories: unlawfully possessing the gun, and using the gun in the commission of another crime (for example, using a gun to commit a robbery).

While it may be the case that you lawfully purchased and registered a gun, you can still run afoul of the law. Several years ago, a noteworthy actor was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport when baggage screener found a gun in his belongings. He had apparently forgotten that he kept the unloaded weapon in the bottom of that particular bag when he packed for the trip. While he certainly was not a criminal, he found himself in violation of the law for having a gun in a prohibited location- the airport.

Another frequent area of trouble encountered by otherwise law abiding citizens occurs when they are found to have a semi-automatic rifle that was legally purchased in their home state, but which is illegal in California. Ignorance of the law is unfortunately not a defense to the charge.

Gun charges can, however, be aggressively and effectively defended against by a skilled and resourceful defense attorney. One of the primary methods this is accomplished is by challenging the legal basis under the 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution on which the police discovered the weapon in the first place. This is referred to as a motion to suppress evidence; quite frequently, a court will be persuaded that the police lacked the legal justification to search your house, car, or belongings. This results in an immediate dismissal of the criminal charges.

At Sherrod Defense, we believe in challenging the police and the prosecution at every single phase of the proceedings in a prosecution for gun charges. We concede nothing to the government, and leave no stone unturned in the defense of our clients. Mr. Sherrod has handled hundreds and hundreds of cases involving firearms of all types, and is extremely familiar with the wide spectrum of legal defenses available to exhonorate a client who is in violation of California's gun laws. If you've been charged with a gun-related crime, contact Sherrod Defense for an overview of your options, and the optimal course of action to defend against these charges.


Sex Offenses

Crimes such as rape, sexual battery, child pornography, and child sexual abuse cause immense pain and suffering to victims and their families. However, it is vitally important that in society’s vigor to prosecute these crimes, the constitutional rights of those charged are upheld and protected at least as zealously as those charged with other crimes.
The heavy stigma attached to these offenses will follow a convicted offender for the rest of his or her life. Following a lengthy prison sentence, that individual will have to register as a sex offender, and notify authorities each and every time he changes addresses. Additionally, he will be part of a searchable website listing all of those in the area who have also been convicted of similar crimes. Convicted individuals will be unable to obtain many types of jobs, and their standing in society will forever be tarnished.

Even certain misdemeanor convictions for these type of offenses can result in a lifetime registration requirement in the public sex offender database. For example, young men have been convicted of misdemeanor sexual battery for grabbing the buttocks of women in bars and clubs, and are now saddled with the permanent label of “sex offender” for the rest of their lives.

With such dramatic and permanent consequences, it follows that only the very highest caliber of criminal defense will be sufficient. Seemingly every day, we see stories in the news about individuals who were convicted of sex crimes, served many years in prison, and were then exonerated when scientific testing proved that they were innocent all along. At Sherrod Defense, we utilize the latest scientific instrumentation, including DNA analysis,  to ensure that evidence favorable to our client is uncovered. We conduct our own independent investigation in regard to witnesses, their character for truthfulness, and any prior false allegations.

Many defense attorneys will shy away from sex-related offenses because of the nature of the charges. They become little more than a messenger for the prosecution, encouraging their client to plead guilty to to first, worst offer made by the government. At Sherrod Defense, we believe that extraordinary charges and consequences require an extraordinary defense. Contact Sherrod Defense for an overview of your options, and the optimal course of action to defend against sex-related charges.