Our experienced lawyers at the Abrate & Olsen Law Group understand that you may have many questions when it comes to legal matters that are affecting your life. We always welcome you to schedule a consultation to discuss your unique legal needs and situation.

We have compiled many of the most frequently asked questions about estate planning, business startup/formation, and criminal defense.

General FAQ

What makes Abrate & Olsen Law Group unique?

The personal attention we offer our clients makes us stand out from our competitors. The team at Abrate & Olsen is invested in each of our clients, and we take the time to learn about the challenges and goals of every client’s unique situation.

When was Abrate & Olsen established?

In 2014, following years of public service, our partnership evolved to form Abrate & Olsen Law Group.

Where is Abrate & Olsen Law Group located?

655 University Ave Ste. 230
Sacramento, CA 95825

What are the hours of operation?

Mon9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Tues9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Wed9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Thu9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Fri9:00 am – 5:00 pm

Who is Attorney Michael Abrate?

Attorney Michael Abrate is a lifelong resident of Sacramento, CA and a founding partner of the Abrate & Olsen Law Group. He is a proud alumnus of the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law, Sacramento State University, and Jesuit High School. Read more about Attorney Michael Abrate.

Who is Attorney Daniel Olsen?

Attorney Daniel Olsen was born and raised in Northern California, Dan has proudly called Sacramento home for over 17 years. He is a proud alumnus of the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law, UC Davis, and the storied De LaSalle High School in Concord, California. Read more about Attorney Daniel Olsen.

Criminal Defense FAQ

Do I need a criminal offense attorney?

ALWAYS seek the advice of an attorney. Experienced criminal defense attorneys, including those at Abrate & Olsen, understand the law and will advocate for your best interests. Attorneys familiar with the legal system have the best chance of obtaining a not guilty verdict, securing a favorable plea bargain, or managing an outright dismissal of all charges. If convicted, an attorney can effectively mitigate on your behalf to secure the best possible sentencing scenario. Due to the numerous rules and intricacies of the Court system, it is wise to hire an attorney instead of handling the case on your own. Beware of any attorney who makes promises or guarantees regarding your case. There are very few guarantees when it comes to the criminal justice system!

Can the police ask questions if you are not under arrest?

The police can only ask basic, identifying information questions without violating the Miranda requirement. Do not provide information beyond your name, address, date of birth, and social security number. Be polite and respectfully decline to answer additional questions.

Do you have to answer questions from the police if you are not under arrest?

No. Speaking to a police officer or an investigator provides the government evidence to use against you. Politely refuse to answer any questions and invoke your constitutional right to speak with an attorney. While it is okay to answer basic, identifying information questions such as your name, address, date of birth, and social security number, do not answer any questions related to an investigation.

What is a Miranda warning?

An individual must be informed of his or her Miranda rights during a custodial interrogation. To put it simply, you must understand your rights if you are asked questions and are no longer free to leave. Although the case will not be dismissed if Miranda warnings are omitted, any statements or evidence obtained from the statement, made while in custody, will be excluded from the case. Voluntary statements or spontaneous statements made prior to Miranda may be admitted in Court.

What are your Miranda rights?

“You have the right to remain silent and refuse to answer questions. Do you understand? Anything you say may be used against you in a court of law. Do you understand? You have the right to consult an attorney before speaking to the police and to have an attorney present during questioning now or in the future. Do you understand? If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you before any questioning if you wish. Do you understand? If you decide to answer questions now without an attorney present, you will still have the right to stop answering at any time until you talk to an attorney. Do you understand? Knowing and understanding your rights as I have explained them to you, are you willing to answer my questions without an attorney present?”

Are the police allowed to lie to me?

Yes. The Supreme Court has consistently ruled that Police Officers can lie and manipulate information in order to obtain a confession from you.

Is my case over if the victim no longer wants to press charges?

Not necessarily. The victim can voice concerns or opinions, but the state is prosecuting the case. Once charges are filed, the state becomes the victim in the case. The state will surely run into difficulty if the victim refuses to show up for court or changes a story during testimony. This is more often seen in domestic violence cases where the parties have reconciled.

Do all criminal cases go to trial?

Very few cases make it to the trial stage. The majority of all criminal cases are resolved through some type of plea-bargaining arrangement prior to trial. Each case is unique and a plea bargain or trial setting depends upon the strength of the case, evidence and testimony, and even the court or specific judge.

Do I have to let the police search my home or vehicle?

Police are held to specific rules and guidelines when it comes to conducting searches. A search warrant for a home must be specific in nature. Officers may only search the location explicitly described in the search warrant. Police can remove items so long as they are described in the warrant. However, if additional contraband is in “plain view” during the search, Police may remove it as well and potentially file criminal charges. Vehicle searches are a different matter. Officers can legally search a vehicle if contraband is in “plain view.” Do not ever provide a written or verbal consent to search your vehicle. Police must have probable cause to search. Do not provide them with a probable cause!

What is probable cause?

Probable cause is the standard by which an arrest is made in the United States. California law defines probable cause as “whether at that moment the facts and circumstances within their knowledge and of which they had reasonably trustworthy information were sufficient to warrant a prudent man in believing that the petitioner had committed or was committing an offense. (Beck v. Ohio, 379 U.S. 89 (1964))

What is the difference between Procedural and Substantive Law?

Procedural law pertains to the process by which the criminal justice system operates. Procedural law covers the rules of the court and the manner in which a case proceeds from the arrest to the conclusion of the case. Substantive law refers to the written law itself. Substantive law is summarized as the creation, definition, and regulation of the law.

What is the difference between probation and parole?

Probation is oftentimes used in cases involving misdemeanors or first time, non-violent offenders in lieu of sending a Defendant to jail. The Defendant is subjected to a variety of conditions, including drug testing, restitution payments, fines, court costs, community service, counseling, and substance abuse treatment. The Defendant must refrain from criminal activity as well. Failure to abide by the terms of probation may result in jail time, a longer-term of probation, or additional conditions of probation for the Defendant. Once probation is successfully completed, any suspended sentence is dismissed and the case is terminated.

Parole, or post release control in California, takes effect once a Defendant is released from prison. During this period of supervision, the Defendant must adhere to conditions similar to those of probation. Failure to follow these conditions may result in a trip back to prison. As with probation, once the terms of post release control are successfully completed, the case is terminated.

What is the difference between a “bench trial” and a jury trial?

During a “bench trial,” a judge hears all of the evidence and makes a decision regarding guilt/innocence and punishment. Bench trials are typically less formal and take less time than a jury trial. Cases involving sensitive information and fact scenarios may not be appropriate for a jury. A jury consists of randomly selected “peers” who hear evidence and make a ruling regarding guilt or innocence. Depending on the case, a jury may be more sympathetic than a Judge who is overwhelmed with cases. Since all jurors must agree to the decision, it is possible to obtain a not guilty or hung jury verdict so long as one juror is swayed in favor of the Defendant. Jury convictions must be unanimous.

What happens after you get arrested?

While every situation may have differences, generally a person who has been arrested is brought to the police station where he/she is “booked.” This means the law enforcement agency will take personal, historical and biographical information. Law enforcement uses this information to determine if the individual has any warrants or a criminal history to aid in the evaluation of whether or not he/she can be released from custody or if the payment of a bail/bond is required.

To ensure your rights are protected and to get the best understanding of the charges against you, contact our law firm for a free evaluation of your case.

Should I hire a lawyer before posting bail?

After being detained, the accused may be given the option to post bail as a promise to appear for a court date rather than remain in jail until the first hearing. The reality is that the bail amount could be raised, lowered, or revoked at the arraignment.

Consulting with an attorney from our Sacramento law office will allow a professional to review the current facts of your case and give you legal advice on the best strategy regarding your bail. This could potentially save you thousands in bail bonds fees.

What is an arraignment?

An arraignment hearing is usually the first step in the criminal procedure that takes place in a courtroom before a judge or magistrate. The Arraignment Hearing protects your rights guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Specifically, the right “to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation.”

Can I be charged with a DUI after one drink?

Being charged with drunk driving is not dependent on the number of drinks you have consumed or your tolerance to alcohol. A DUI is based on your blood alcohol content (BAC). In California, a driver over the age of 21, registering a BAC of 0.08% and higher is considered impaired and can be charged with a DUI. Drivers under the age of 21 can be charged with a DUI with a BAC of 0.01% or higher. Any driver operating a vehicle requiring a commercial driver’s license can be charged with a BAC of 0.04% and higher.

Estate Planning FAQ

What is an estate plan?

An Estate Plan is a collection of legal documents that describe your desired plans when you can no longer communicate them. This includes how you want your assets, including money and property, distributed and your desires for the care of yourself and your family.

Why is estate planning important?

Proactively developing an estate plan has many benefits for you, your family, and your loved ones. Our goal is to help guide you through the processes by going through the checklists, answering your questions, and helping with the five core areas of Estate Planning:

  • Avoid probate
  • Affordable cost
  • Reducing estate taxes
  • Specify how assets are distrusted
  • Planning for your future care and need

Do I need an estate plan?

Having an estate plan in place directs the probate court to order the assets of any person who owns the property upon death, to be distributed as the individual desired. In the unfortunate circumstance where there is no will in place, the court will interject itself through the laws set forth by Interstate Succession for Estate Administration.

When should I start estate planning?

If you own a home, have children or dependents or have financial assets – now is the time to begin the estate planning process. Establishing an estate plan offers you and your loved ones peace of mind in the event of your untimely death.

Should I hire an estate planning attorney?

Hiring an estate planning attorney ensures your finances and future are secured. Estate Planning Attorney Mike Abrate has been recognized as one of the 10 Best Estate Planning Attorneys in California for Client Satisfaction. Contact our office today for a consultation! (916) 550 – 2688.

How long is the Probate Process in Sacramento?

The probate process will generally last a minimum of 7 – 8 months. This allows time to notify all legal heirs, beneficiaries, and creditors of the probate hearing. The length of the probate process can extend based on whether a will is available and valid, someone is contesting the validity of a will, and other factors.

What does a probate administration attorney cost?

The probate fees an attorney can charge are set by law in California. These statutory fees are based on a percentage of the gross value of the estate. Assets that do not pass through probate are not included as part of the gross estate. Contact us to learn more about a probate attorney fees.

Is Probate always required?

Probate is not always required for all assets in an estate. Estate planning tools, like trusts, can be established prior to a person’s death that will allow assets to avoid probate. Contact us to learn common ways that assets can avoid probate.

Who can become an Agent under an advance health care directive?

Choosing your Agent is just as important as outlining your wishes and instructions under an AHCD. Your agent will be the person responsible for making sure your wishes are followed in the event that you are unable to make your own medical decisions. A spouse or child over the age of 18 is typically the best choice to become your agent. Many believe that your agent must be a family member, but that is false, you can choose anyone you trust who is over the age of 18 and competent.

What medical decisions can an Agent make under an AHCD?

Your agent can make any medical decisions for you, as long as those decisions are in line with your AHCD and are medically appropriate. Your agent may not agree with your wishes, but they must respect and follow the instructions you provided. They only have the authority to make decisions that are in line with your AHCD.

Your AHCD can include instructions such as what kind of medical interventions you would like to help sustain your life, or where you would like to spend your last days. It is your agent’s duty to ensure that your AHCD is followed and to work on your behalf to honor your wishes. The only time your wishes may be rejected is if a doctor considers your instructions to be medically inappropriate.

Business Law FAQ

How do I start my own business?

We suggest you meet with our experienced business attorneys to ensure you take all the legal and financial steps necessary to start your business. Whether you want to start a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, S corporation, or LCC, Abrate & Olsen are happy to help get you started.

What type of business entity should I choose?

When choosing a business entity, you must consider your liability, taxes, and record-keeping. Please visit our business entity page which lists the various types of business entities for startups and entrepreneurs. Each type of business entity has its own requirements. Contact Abrate & Olsen to speak to a business attorney for more information!

Do I need an attorney to prepare my contacts?

Not necessarily. You are able to prepare your own contracts by searching online or by attempting to create them yourself, but are they legal? Hiring an experienced business attorney to draft and review your documents will ensure that your contracts are legal, admissible in court, and free of potentially damaging loopholes.

What happens to my business if I die?

Without estate planning documents for your business, your business will have to go through probate court. Please visit our page for more information on the probate administration process in Sacramento. To avoid probate, create an estate plan that describes your plans when you can no longer communicate them.

What is the difference between an independent contractor and an employee?

An independent contractor is an individual hired to provide specific work to a business that follows a contract. Employment and labor laws do not apply to an independent contractor. An employee is required to provide work regularly and is controlled by their employer. An employer withholds social security, Medicare, and income tax from wages paid to an employee.

How can I protect my personal assets from business debts?

Keep your personal and business assets separate and distinct. In addition, Abrate & Olsen suggests that every business obtain insurance based upon the business entity they have chosen. For more information please contact us!