Our Practice Areas
ACHG handles virtually every type of criminal matter—from pre-arrest investigations through formal prosecutions, trials and appeals in both the state and federal courts. We also conduct internal investigations for companies’ boards of directors; represent individuals in internal investigations, regulatory and administrative matters, and tax investigations where there is potential criminal exposure; and represent witnesses entangled in criminal and regulatory investigations.
Our attorneys know that many of their most significant victories never reach a courtroom. These “quiet” success stories spare the clients and their families untold emotional trauma, embarrassment, and expense.
The firm is committed to achieving success at minimal cost to the client. At the same time, ACHG lawyers know that the surest avenue to success at even the earliest stages of the process is to have total command of the facts and of the law and to demonstrate to the prosecutor that we are thoroughly prepared to fight through trial and even appeal, if necessary.
Please click to see examples of some of our Notable Cases.
Here are some of our areas of expertise.
Theft of Trade Secrets and Intellectual Property
Cases involving allegations of unauthorized access and/or theft of trade secrets frequently present their own unique technological complexities – including proprietary source code. We have represented numerous individuals mired in these types of investigations and cases. We have the necessary technical “know how” and support to cut through the intricacies of the conduct and to present compelling justifications for our clients.
Our clients have included former employees of major Silicon Valley companies who allegedly stole and/or accessed without authority confidential proprietary information. In a recent case, ACHG represented the former Corporate Vice President of a powerful Silicon Valley corporation. ACHG’s client and three other individuals were charged with conspiring to steal and with stealing trade secrets from their former company. After a month-long jury trial in the Northern District of California, the court entered a judgment of acquittal on all counts against ACHG’s client.
Fraud, Tax and other Financial Offenses
Our lawyers have represented many individuals who are under investigation or charged in court with various financial offenses at both the state and federal level. We have represented clients in some of the largest and most complex prosecutions across the country. Our clients have included individuals and corporations involved in most every major fraud case across the United States, including investigations of Enron, Galleon, Countrywide, Washington Mutual and KPMG, in addition to numerous non-public investigations of large institutions.
Our recent cases have included allegations of mail fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud, bankruptcy fraud, insurance fraud, and tax fraud. Frequently, when clients retain us early in the investigation stage, our lawyers are successful in persuading prosecutors not to file criminal charges at all. And when charges are filed, our team is geared to aggressively represent the client through trial and, if necessary, on appeal.
Securities Fraud and Insider Trading
We have handled numerous investigations and prosecutions relating to the securities laws, including high profile cases on both coasts. Often, these cases involve parallel civil law suits by the S.E.C. and/or shareholders, and our lawyers work closely with co-counsel to coordinate the defenses in those matters.
Our clients have included CEOs and other officers at major technology firms, attorneys, and alleged “tippers” and “tippees”. With our ability to manage voluminous discovery, we have consistently obtained excellent results for these clients. Some of our recent cases included executives allegedly involved in options backdating, insider trading at hedge funds, accounting irregularities, and investment fraud.
Grand Jury Investigations of Corporate Officers and Employees
Our lawyers have defended many corporate officers and employees. Frequently, when the Department of Justice investigates a corporation for a criminal or civil violation involving the S.E.C., the F.D.A., or another regulatory agency, our lawyers are called in to defend individual employees. We have successfully represented the president, sales director, and regulatory compliance officer of various medical device and major drug companies in lengthy grand jury investigations, as well as numerous sales, marketing, and accounting executives at high-tech companies embroiled in similar proceedings. This representation invariably entails gaining a full mastery of the details of the business as well as relevant state and federal regulations. We work as cooperatively as possible with corporate counsel to obtain the best results for our clients.
Internal Corporate Investigations
Internal investigations frequently focus on allegations of wrong-doing and/or conflicts of interest that carry potential criminal exposure. When a publicly traded company is involved, intense time pressure, licensing issues and reputational damage are frequently implicated. Our lawyers have experience both conducting such investigations and guiding individuals through them. In addition to the company itself and/or a special committee of its Board of Directors, our clients have included CEOs, CFOs and Rule 16 Officers as well as mid- and high-level managers and other employee/witnesses. We commit whatever resources are necessary to these matters to ensure that they are comprehensively yet promptly resolved.
Environmental charges carry their own unique legal issues, including essentially strict liability—meaning that a person or a company can be guilty even though their intentions were not criminal.
Our lawyers know how to implement a full-court press to ensure that prosecutors are aware of all the facts before deciding whether to charge a crime. And we have experience trying environmental cases when necessary to vindicate the client. Our former clients include refineries, oil companies, executives and foremen in cases arising throughout Northern California and the West, including one case on the Alaska Pipeline. Many of these cases involved tragic industrial accidents resulting in serious injury or death.
Some of our recent cases include a Napa Valley hotel and resort that allegedly violated the Endangered Species Act, the operator of an energy plant accused of dumping toxic waste, and a chemical company that was allegedly responsible for the accidental death of an employee.
Our lawyers have extensive experience in cases involving the alleged export of technology to enemies of the United States in violation of federal law. Our clients have included employees and executives accused of selling protected technology to China and other countries.
Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
We have extensive experience handling cases arising under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which prohibits businesspeople from engaging in certain practices, such as bribery, in foreign countries. We have represented both individuals and companies who are being investigated or prosecuted for alleged violations of the FCPA, and we are proud of the successes we have achieved in these cases.
In some cases, we are able to obtain the highest form of success—preventing the institution of formal charges; and when prosecutions do occur, we are experts at learning the intricacies of the case and fighting the charges to realize the best possible result. We specialize in conducting comprehensive factual investigations that result in no charges against the clients.
Our clients include technology companies and executives both from the U.S. and abroad. Some recent cases include investigations of alleged payments to government representatives of China, Nigeria, Asia, South America, and Europe.
In recent years, our team has been especially active in Antitrust cases. With strikingly positive results, we have guided clients through every stage of the tortuous and protracted legal process that arises in such cases. Our clients include technology companies and executives located not only in the Silicon Valley, but also frequently in Japan, China, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and elsewhere in Asia. We know that Antitrust cases frequently require close coordination with co-counsel representing the company or individuals in related civil law suits and other international investigations.
On numerous occasions our clients have been told they were “targets” of the investigation but our lawyers successfully kept the client out of a courtroom. Such victories are often the most difficult to obtain but also the most significant for the clients.
Our recent cases include conspiracies to defraud government agencies, as well as price fixing and bid rigging investigations and prosecutions involving memory chips, computer monitors, optical disc drives, road paving and foreclosure sales of real estate.
Appeals and Habeas Corpus
We are proud to be one of a handful of California firms that can boast of victories in both the United States Supreme Court and the Second Circuit Court of Appeal. More often, we our practice takes us to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and to the California State Courts of Appeal where we have achieved numerous wins for our clients.
For us, it is “never over till it’s over.” We know that the end of the trial or the pronouncement of a sentence is often just the beginning of the real fight. We handle appeals at virtually every level—the California Courts of Appeal, the California Supreme Court, the Second Circuit, Fifth Circuit, Ninth Circuit and Tenth Circuit Courts of Appeals, and the Supreme Court.
Our lawyers know that frequently state court convictions must be attacked in a habeas corpus proceeding in federal court. We know how to preserve federal issues in state courts and to press them relentlessly through the federal courts.
Some of our cases include the Second Circuit’s confirmation of the dismissal of all charges against our client in the “largest illegal tax shelter prosecution” in history, the U.S. Supreme Court’s confirmation of the suppression of all evidence against our client in a major drug case, the grant of habeas corpus petition in federal court setting aside our client’s 29-year sentence for attempted murder in state court, the reversal of our client’s convictions for bank fraud, and the California Court of Appeal’s reversal of a conviction in a three-strikes robbery case where our client had been sentenced to imprisonment for 150 years to life.
We have a long history of narcotics defense that has given us expertise in Fourth Amendment law and the illegal use of wiretaps. We understand the special vigor with which law enforcement pursues such cases—as well as the extreme and often illegal lengths they will go to apprehend and prosecute those suspected of drug dealing. Over the years, our firm has earned a reputation as a hard-hitting defender of those charged with drug trafficking and/or possession.
Our lawyers know that sex charges are frequently the most psychologically and emotionally difficult for the client and his or her family, while, at the same time, the most legally challenging. We strive to make prosecutors and judges see the whole context, including the often disproportionate penal consequences that are mandated for such offenses.
Using creative and unique legal strategies, we frequently obtain results that avoid the most severe consequences—life-time sex offender registration, Megan’s Law Website, GPS monitoring, residency restrictions—while avoiding the embarrassment of public prosecution and/or trial. Often, the most effective means to obtain such results is to demonstrate to the prosecutor that we are ready for trial and to confront the accusing witnesses.
Juvenile cases, though essentially criminal, carry unique complexities and concerns. We approach these cases with same vigor and determination as in adult court. Sometimes, however, the client is at a critical stage of his or her early development into adulthood that, in addition to aggressive representation, needs guidance to the appropriate care and counseling that will help steer him or her away from a life in the criminal justice system.
Our lawyers are experts at both strategies, and we are especially cognizant of the potential education consequences arising from a juvenile’s arrest and/or conviction.
Our recent juvenile cases include a murder charge based on a “provocative act” theory, arson/explosives charges, sexual assault, theft of school property, assault likely to inflict great bodily injury and DUI.
Murder and homicide cases carry the most severe penalties, and our lawyers aggressively meet the challenge. We pride ourselves in approaching such cases creatively and comprehensively so that every possible lawful defense is explored and presented. This leave-no-stone-unturned approach has resulted in numerous victories.
Our cases have included the renowned “Crossbow Murder Case,” alleged murders involving self-defense, vehicular manslaughter cases, corporations charged with homicide for an employee’s accidental industrial death, involuntary manslaughter charges arising from the deaths of tenants in a residence for elders, and elder abuse charges arising from the suspicious death of the client’s grandmother.
Assault, Battery, and Domestic Violence
Our lawyers frequently represent clients who are wrongfully charged with committing violence. Often, even where self-defense does not apply, we marshal other relevant facts to justify and/or mitigate the client’s actions. As always, we bring the same comprehensive “leave no stone unturned” approach.
Medical Marijuana Cases
This is an area where the people’s rights under the law frequently collide with the aggressive, illegal tactics of law enforcement. Our lawyers have represented numerous clients who were hauled into court as alleged felons and left, successfully, as lawful caregivers. We are experienced in representing clients who are caught in the No Man’s Land between California’s Compassionate Use Act and the changing applications of federal law.
DUI and Traffic-Related Offenses
Our lawyers are very experienced at analyzing, negotiating, and trying DUI (driving under the influence) cases throughout the Bay Area. We work with top experts to evaluate test results, examine the evidence for suppression issues, and focus on obtaining the best possible outcome for the client.
Our cases include standard DUI charges, DUI with an accident and/or injury, hit and run, reckless driving, vehicular manslaughter and other traffic offenses.
Frequently these cases are tremendously serious because of the consequences to persons, including death arising from automobile accidents.
Defending Professional Athletes
We have successfully represented numerous elite professional athletes on a variety of criminal and/or regulatory offenses and investigations. Our lawyers are experienced in handling the notoriety that often accompanies these cases and the unique issues that arise for professional sports figures.
We know how to minimize publicity and to work with agents to reduce the impact of the case on the athlete’s career.
Over the years our clients have included numerous professional baseball, football, basketball and track and field atheletes confronting charges ranging from perjury and obstruction of justice to illegal possession of a firearm, DUI, assault, drug charges and domestic violence.
Defending Physicians, Attorneys, Accountants and Other Licensed Professionals.
A case involving a client who is a licensed professional, holds an academic position, or is an elected official presents its own unique complexities, often separate from the criminal case. Frequently, even when the client’s personal liberty is not jeopardized, a criminal case imperils the client’s reputation and livelihood. Our lawyers are always cognizant of these concerns. When appropriate, we work closely with attorneys who specialize in administrative practice before the relevant licensing boards to ensure that our client avoids serious professional repercussions.
Our clients have included state elective officials, university professors, teachers, doctors, lawyers, dentists, contractors and other licensed professionals.
We are one of the firms to whom general counsels turn when they themselves need representation. Some of our recent cases involved the general counsel at a major Silicon Valley firm accused of falsifying the company’s minutes in an options back-dating investigation, general counsel for another Silicon Valley firm accused of authorizing the illegal invasion of employees’ privacy, a medical doctor accused of illegally importing and distributing Botox and Human Growth Hormone, and an attorney charged with felony assault on a police officer.