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, a Hurricane 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.
Top Questions to Ask a Lawyer
- What is the usual process to resolve my case? How long will it take to resolve this?
- What are likely outcomes of a case like mine? What should I expect?
An experienced lawyer should be able to communicate a basic “road map” on how to proceed. The lawyer should be able to walk you through the anticipated process, key considerations, and potential pitfalls to avoid. Once you’ve laid out the facts of your situation to the lawyer, he/she should be able to frame expectations and likely scenarios to help you understand your legal issue.
How to Find the Right Attorney
- Determine the area of law that relates to your issue. Attorneys specialize in specific practice areas around legal issues within the broad field of law.
- Seek out recommendations from friends, family, and colleagues. A successful attorney or practice will typically have many satisfied clients.
- Set up consultation appointments to get a better understanding of your case as well as gauge your comfort level with different attorneys. Find the attorney who is the right fit for your needs.
Common legal terms explained
Pro se – This Latin term refers to representing yourself in court instead of hiring professional legal counsel. Pro se representation can occur in either criminal or civil cases.
Statute – Refers to a law created by a legislative body. For example, the laws enacted by Congress are statutes.
Subject matter jurisdiction – Requirement that a particular court have authority to hear the claim based on the specific type of issue brought to the court. For example, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court only has subject matter jurisdiction over bankruptcy filings, therefore it does not have the authority to render binding judgment over other types of cases, such as divorce.