Are You Facing Criminal Charges?
If you are being investigated for or have been accused of a crime, now is the time to seek out the legal help you need. No matter the crime, an Alexander City criminal law attorney will be able to protect your legal rights.
Different Types of Criminal Charges
Criminal charges can range from minor infractions to misdemeanors and they can be as serious as felony or aggravated felony charges. No matter the charge, a person should be considered innocent until proven otherwise. Reading about criminal law and your rights can help you see the importance of a solid defense.
Each criminal charge carries with a potential punishment, which can include fines, probation and even jail time. The goal of a criminal defense lawyer will be to end up with the most favorable outcome possible for your particular situation.
What do criminal defense lawyers do?A criminal defense lawyer will ensure that law enforcement respects your legal rights if they are investigating you or have arrested you. Your attorney will also conduct their own investigation to look for the best strategy to defend against your charges, including representing you at trial if necessary.
What makes a good criminal defense attorney?A good criminal defense attorney knows the law and does not back down when police and prosecutors do not respect your rights or try to pressure you into taking a plea deal that is not in your best interest. You should also look for an attorney who has a long track record of success in cases like yours, including trial victories.
Should you accept a plea deal?Police and prosecutors count on making defendants feel like they have no other option but to accept a plea deal, such as threatening to seek harsher punishment if you take your case to trial. You should only accept a plea deal after your attorney has taken a careful look at your case and the evidence for and against you. In some cases, a plea deal may be beneficial than taking your case to trial, but this is not a decision you should make on your own. It should be with someone who knows the law.
When should you ask for an attorney?You should ask for an attorney as soon as you learn that you are under suspicion of committing a crime. If police are investigating you and “just want to ask you a couple of questions,” you should politely refuse and ask for a lawyer’s help. Also, if you are arrested, you should ask to contact a lawyer as soon as possible before answering any other questions. An attorney can speak to police and prosecutors on your behalf and make sure they respect your rights.
Top Questions to Ask When Hiring an Attorney
- How many years have you been practicing law? How long have you practiced law in the local area?
- How many cases similar to mine have you handled in the past?
- What is the likely outcome for my case?
In legal practice, experience matters. An experienced attorney will likely have handled issues similar to yours many, many times. Therefore, after listening to your situation, the attorney should have a reasonable idea of the time line for a case like yours and the likely resolution.
Tips on Approaching an Initial Attorney Consultation
- Use the consultation as a means of gaining a better understanding of your legal situation.
- Ask the attorney how many cases similar to yours he/she has handled. An attorney’s experience and knowledge can speak to their expertise (or lack of) in addressing your situation.
- Your attorney should be able to articulate roughly how long a case like yours will take to resolve and what sort of procedures to expect.
- Determine how comfortable you are working with the lawyer and/or law firm.
How will an attorney charge me?
A reputable attorney will be very upfront about how he/she will charge you. The three most common fee structures that attorneys use to charge for their services are:
- Bill by the hour
- Contingent fee agreement
- Flat fee agreement
Depending on your specific legal situation, it’s possible that only one type of fee structure is available. For instance, criminal defense attorneys almost always bill by the hour. In a flat fee arrangement, an attorney accepts a one-time payment to help you resolve your issue. With a contingent fee agreement, the client pays little to nothing upfront and the attorney receives a percentage of the money recovered if you win your case.
Common legal terms explained
Affidavit – A sworn written statement made under oath. An affidavit is meant to be a supporting document to the court assisting in the verification of certain facts. An affidavit may or may not require notarization.