"Many of my clients hire private council because the Public Defenders' office is overloaded," Budris says. "You're just a number over there and you don't get a lot of attention. By hiring a criminal defense attorney, they get personal attention.
I've been doing this for about 15 years and I've always been about people's rights and ensuring that people get justice."
Part of that personal attention involves seeing her clients face-to-fact to discuss their situation and show them their file and the charges they face.
"The public defender often doesn't know what's going on because they don't get the paperwork," Budris says. "They might know what's in the police report or might know the charges, but I'll sit down with my clients and give them a copy of their file. That way, they can see if there are inconsistencies in the paperwork and tell their side of the story, which they often don't get a chance to do."
Although it is better to call a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible, Budris says she can take clients who are at any point in the criminal justice process.
"I'd rather be there from the beginning than clean up someone else's dirty work, but I take clients at any stage," Budris says. "They're scared in the system—possibly facing jail time. It's scary. This stuff goes on your record and stays on your record; it's not a joke."
One of the things a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney like Budris can do is help expunge a record, meaning that a misdemeanor or minor felony—including drug crimes, theft crimes and driving under the influence—can be taken off a person's record. That means that only the police and the courts can see the full criminal record, but people performing background checks will not be aware of convictions that have been expunged.
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"Illegal immigrants should protect their rights," Budris says. "They think they're not going to jail because of the plea, but criminal convictions have a huge impact on immigration status. I'm correcting a lot of people's problems because I have to withdraw their plea and start over. They come to me because they took a deal but they are still being deported and they don't know why.
"I'm passionate about what I do. It's frustrating to see attorneys who are just in for the money. There is nothing more heartbreaking to me than sending an 18-year-old to prison with a newborn child."