If you’ve been charged with a California state crime or a federal crime, you need an expert criminal defense attorney who can fight on your behalf. 

Attorney Robert M. Helfend has worked exclusively as a criminal defense attorney in the Los Angeles area since 1984. In his nearly 40 years of practice, he has successfully defended clients in more than 4,000 cases, against a wide variety of charges, earning him a reputation as a knowledgeable and aggressive defense attorney. 

Robert M. Helfend has received numerous honors and awards for his expertise, professionalism, and record of success from several prestigious organizations, including recent recognition by:

  • The National Trial Lawyers Association – Mr. Helfend received one of the most exclusive honors in his field when he was named one of the National Trial Lawyers Association’s Top 100 Trial Lawyers. 
  • SuperLawyers – The SuperLawyers list is a credible consumer resource that names its top attorneys based on a rigorous 12-point system of evaluation of their professional achievement and peer recognition.
  • Expertise.com – Mr. Helfend appeared on Expertise.com’s 2021 list of the six best criminal defense attorneys in the Thousand Oaks area. Of the 99 attorneys who were evaluated, he ranked among the top with an “A” rating for Reputation and an “A+” rating for Professionalism.
  • CNBS.org – in 2023, CNBS.org named Mr. Helfend as one of the best cannabis attorneys in Los Angeles. CNBS.org is an organization which specializes in high-quality research, education, and guides for cannabis use.
  • Noticed’s Expert Network – Mr. Helfend was recognized as a Distinguished Lawyer by Noticed’s Expert Network, an exclusive award based on client ratings and achievements made throughout his career. Noticed recognized his work in defending clients accused of drug crimes and his role as a thought leader in the industry as some of his most notable accomplishments. 

Areas of Practice

The Helfend Law Group has represented clients charged with everything from misdemeanors to major felonies. As an attorney who specializes in sex crimes, federal crimes and homicide, Robert M. Helfend, who personally handles all Helfend Law Group cases, is exceptionally qualified to handle the most serious cases and build a strong legal defense against even the most aggressive prosecutors and law enforcement agencies. 

Click on the links below to learn more about Robert M. Helfend’s specialized areas of practice: 

Sex Crimes

If you’re convicted of a sex crime in Los Angeles, you’re likely to be saddled with hefty fines and possible jail time, as well as damage to your personal and professional reputation. A skilled criminal defense attorney can examine the details of your case and look for new evidence and witness testimony that could lead to your charges being reduced or dropped entirely. 


Rape accusations can be devastating. The consequences for a rape conviction are severe and can have a lasting impact on your personal and professional life. Learn more about California’s Rape Laws, Rape, Statutory Rape, and Date Rape

Chat Room Crimes

Cases of adults soliciting minors in online spaces like chat rooms have been on the rise for the past few decades. California’s legal statutes against Chat Room Crimes aim to prosecute adults who solicit minors online. 

Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child

Child molestation is a felony in California. Penalties for Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child can include extensive prison times and lifetime registration as a sex offender. 

Failure to Register as a Sex Offender

California state law requires convicted sex offenders to register with the local police.

Failure to Register as a Sex Offender is a crime that can lead to jail time or other penalties depending on the circumstances of the original crime. 

Habitual Sex Offender

Sex offenders who have been convicted of multiple felony sex crimes are believed to pose a threat to the public. California’s Habitual Sex Offender law is a sentencing enhancement that is meant to keep repeated offenders incarcerated for as long as possible. If you’ve been charged with a sex crime and have prior convictions, it is important that you seek the counsel of an experienced defense attorney. 

Indecent Exposure

California’s Indecent Exposure laws are vaguely written, which can sometimes lead to unexpected charges. However, while indecent exposure might seem like a minor offense, its consequences can be quite serious and it’s important to hire a criminal defense attorney to help you fight the charges.

Lewd Acts with a Minor

If someone is accused of having illicit contact with a minor, they might be charged with Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child or Lewd Acts With a Minor. California takes these crimes very seriously, however, there may be legal defenses available to you if you are facing accusations. 

Lewd Acts in Public

Engaging in sexual activity in public is a criminal offense if the defendant knew or reasonably should have known that there was likely to be someone present who would be offended by their conduct. The crime of Lewd Acts in Public  is frequently charged with Indecent Exposure, which may lead to additional fines or jail time. 

Oral Copulation by Force or Fear

The California criminal justice system takes sex crimes very seriously, especially crimes like Oral Copulation by Force or Fear. If you or someone you love is facing charges, it’s important to speak with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. 

Oral Copulation with a Minor

The penalties for Oral Copulation with a Minor depend on the ages of the people involved and can include up to 8 years in jail. Facing accusations for a crime like oral copulation with a minor can be difficult, so it’s important to seek legal counsel in order to avoid the personal and professional fallout. 

Pimping & Pandering

If you are facing charges of Pimping & Pandering or another similar crime like Human Trafficking, there’s a lot you need to know about the potential penalties and the legal defense options that are available to you. A qualified criminal defense attorney can answer your questions 

Revenge Porn

California banned Revenge Porn in 2013 after websites used as spaces for people to share intimate photos of former partners began appearing in the media.

Revenge Porn is a misdemeanor crime, punishable by up to six months in jail.

Sexual Battery/Assault

Depending on the case, Sexual Battery and Assault can either be charged as a felony or misdemeanor, but the consequences of a conviction are almost always serious. If you or someone you love has been accused of sexual assault, it is important speak with an attorney who specializes in Sex Crimes cases. 

Solicitation of a Prostitute

The crime of Solicitation of a Prostitute occurs when someone offers another person compensation for performing sexual acts or when someone agrees to perform sexual acts for compensation. If you have been charged with a prostitution-related offense, you may be facing possible fines, probation, or even incarceration.

Federal Crimes

Federal law enforcement agencies and prosecutors are known for being relentless in their investigations and pursuit to convict. If you have been accused of a federal crime, you need to have a criminal defense attorney on your side who will work just as tirelessly to defend you and your rights.

Arrest Warrants

If you suspect that you are under Federal investigation or that there might be an active Warrant for your arrest, it’s important to speak with a federal defense attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney can help you understand your case and advise you on the best route forward.


Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple are becoming increasingly popular. If you have been charged with a crime involving cryptocurrency, you need an attorney who understands both cryptocurrency and how it relates to federal law.

Drug Conspiracy

Many types of Drug Conspiracy charges carry “mandatory minimum” sentences, meaning that it’s not possible to avoid prison time if you are convicted. Only a criminal defense attorney with proven experience in federal drug crime cases can give you the best possible outcome.

Drug Trafficking

California’s drug laws criminalize the sale, transport, transfer, and import of controlled substances, otherwise known as Drug Trafficking. If you are found transporting controlled substances across state lines, you can face federal charges.

Federal Indictments

Facing a Federal Indictment  is an extremely serious matter and every decision you make from this point can impact how your case unfolds. If you’ve received notification of a federal grand jury indictment, your first step should be to contact an attorney.

Federal Prison Sentence Reductions

If you have been accused or convicted of a federal crime, a Federal Prison Sentence Reduction may be possible under new amendments adopted in the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, effective November 1, 2023. You’ll need to speak with a skilled federal criminal defense attorney to find out if you are eligible to take advantage of the new guidelines .

Felon in Possession of a Firearm

Convicted felons are not permitted to ship, transport or possess any firearm or ammunition that has been distributed in interstate or foreign commerce. Doing so is a federal class D felony known as  Felon in Possession of a Firearm . A conviction can carry steep penalties, including up to 10 years in federal prison and $250,000 in fines.


A great number of circumstances can lead to federal fraud charges. Some of these behaviors include Securities Fraud, Wire Fraud, Honest Services Fraud, Mortgage Fraud, Social Security Fraud, and PPP Loan Fraud. You need an aggressive federal defense attorney to build a strong defense against any of these accusations. 

Identity Theft

Legally, Identity Theft is any type of crime in which someone wrongfully obtains another person’s sensitive data for financial gain, in a manner which involves fraud or deception. Navigating an identity theft case is often complicated and requires the assistance of a knowledgeable attorney. 

Insider Trading

In an Insider Trading investigation, early intervention is crucial.  In order to protect your assets and your future, you need the assistance of a criminal defense lawyer who is knowledgeable about federal cases and investigations. 

Misappropriation of Funds

Misappropriation of Funds refers to the illegal use of another person’s money. 

Misappropriation of funds can be similar to embezzlement, another theft crime which involves a person who is entrusted with another person’s money or property stealing it for their own personal use. In some cases, a defendant may be charged with both misappropriation of funds and embezzlement. 

Money Laundering

Money Laundering is the act of taking funds that were obtained illegally and making them appear to be legitimate. Money laundering is a serious crime that can result in severe penalties.

Racketeering (RICO)

State and federal governments seek to prevent and punish organized crime through Racketeering laws. Learn more about Racketeering and what your defense options may be. 


Sextortion, or blackmail pornography, occurs when an individual extorts money from victims by threatening to reveal their explicit photos or videos. Because these crimes involve the internet and typically cross state lines, they are frequently prosecuted by the federal court.

Target Letters

A target letter is a notice from the U.S. Department of Justice or a federal prosecutor that you are the target of a criminal investigation. Target Letters  include instructions on what they expect you to do next, which usually involves appearing before a grand jury or meeting with an Assistant United States Attorney. 

Trade Secrets

Trade Secret Theft, otherwise known as “economic espionage,” is a serious federal crime. Cases of trade secret theft can include charges related to Wire Fraud, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, Identity Theft and others.


Allegations of murder can include those involving homicide or manslaughter and they are the most serious types of crime. It is important that you secure a criminal defense lawyer on your side immediately who can help you think through various defenses such as mistaken identity, self-defense, or defense of others.

Felony Murder

If someone dies while you’re committing a felony, it is possible for you to be charged with Felony Murder. Penalties for a felony murder conviction are the same as murder, which are very steep. Only a defense attorney who is experienced in homicide cases can help you build the best defense against felony murder charges.

Accessory to Murder

If someone aids in the killing of another person but isn’t present when the murder is committed, they can be charged as an Accessory to Murder. Accessory to murder is usually charged as a felony and can carry substantial penalties.


Manslaughter is the unlawful killing of a human being without malice aforethought, which is when a person acts with the deliberate and premeditated intent to cause harm or death to another person. California law divides manslaughter into three main categories: Voluntary Manslaughter, Involuntary Manslaughter and Vehicular Manslaughter


In California, it is legal to defend yourself if you reasonably believe that you or someone else is in imminent danger. This is called Self Defense. Even if you were acting within your rights, it is important to work with a skilled defense attorney on your case.

Published January 17, 2013. Updated November 21, 2023.

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