Criminal Law consists of any interaction between an individual and a governmental agency where there is a possibility of fines or loss of liberty. Loss of liberty basically means jail. Our office routinely handles traffic, misdemeanor, felony, and juvenile matters for clients. Because of our depth of experience we have been tremendously successful in this field of endeavor.
Typically, your case will proceed in a uniform fashion. If you are arrested, within 24-48 hours, you will have an initial appearance before a judge. At that time, they will determine the bond amounts or a release on your own recognizance. This will be followed up with an arraignment shortly thereafter at which time a defendant is given an option of a plea of guilty, a plea of not guilty or a plea of no contest. Our clients will always plea not guilty and if we have been retained before the arrangement, you will not have to appear. Thereafter, within 30-60 days typically you will have your pretrial conference. This conference is with you, myself, the State Attorney and the Judge. At that time, we will set a trial date. Approximately 30 days thereafter is where our expertise becomes most beneficial to you. While the terminology changes in the various courts, this is a fairly standard presentation of how your case will go forward. Prior to the Pretrial Conference, we would get with you to see if we could have your case disposed of with either a Motion to Dismiss or a Motion to Suppress. These are legal maneuvers designed to keep the State and the police honest and to limit the amount of evidence that they can use against you in a court of law.
There are certain general things you should always know when you are dealing with policing authorities. They are doing their job. While it may seem unfair to you and I, they are not your friends and anything you say can and will be used against you. Therefore, don't talk to them other than to establish who you are. Do not consent to any search. This is not the time to explain why "this is all a misunderstanding". Merely cooperate and as soon as possible, set and keep an appointment so you can hire an attorney. There are approximately 2 MILLION people in America kept in jails, prisons and other confinements. This is the highest incarceration rate in the world and you do not want to be a part of that statistic. If you think waiting at a doctor or a lawyer's office is irritating, imagine waiting in a cell. I can guarantee few things in life, but this will have an adverse impact on one's social calendar.
Penalties are fairly standard. Both State and Federal law requires judges adhere to a sentencing guideline system. While the judge is the best fact finder in the world for your particular situation, the Legislator seems to think that they can stick their nose into the judicial process and limit what the judge can and cannot do as it regards sentencing. While stupid, inefficient, and patently unfair, if you don't like this, now it is time to contact your Legislator or Congressman and complain about this. The judge is very constrained as to what he can do as it regards sentencing. Minimum and maximum penalties are arrived at by past prior criminal record, and by the seriousness of the offense. Each individual case needs to be looked at specifically and you will be provided a range of what you would be looking at. Further, with the great number of variables involved, some of my best work has been completed without the need of a trial. As a result, your specific penalties will be determined by a multitude of factors that we will not know at the beginning of the case.
The bottom line, as a general rule, our office recommends that you do no illegal, immoral or criminal acts. If for whatever reason the authorities arrest you, do not discuss your case with them, but contact an attorney as soon as humanly possible so you can get proper legal advice for your specific situation. We provide a $150.00 initial consultation.