If you’ve been charged with a crime, you’re most likely feeling anger, sadness and confusion. Being uncertain about your future and your ability to retain your freedom is a scary thought, especially when you think about the consequences of a criminal record.
Getting answers and finding the right criminal defense lawyer who can protect your rights and prepare a strong defense is vital. Knowing the answer to frequently asked questions can also help you understand how to proceed before you’re able to contact one. Check out the answers below, then reach out to a lawyer at Hoeller McLaughlin PLLC for help.
Should I Explain My Situation to Police Officers?
It doesn’t matter if you’re innocent or guilty, you should never speak to the police without an attorney by your side. Remember your Miranda rights—everything you say can and will be used against you. What you see as an explanation that could prove your innocence or reduce your charges can end up being used as evidence during your trial.
A criminal defense lawyer can speak with law enforcement and prosecutors to obtain additional details that can result in the dismissal of your charges. Your lawyer can prevent any issues of self-incrimination that may happen if you speak with the police alone.
What Does Bail Mean?
Bail refers to an amount of money set by the court. Paying bail allows you to get conditionally released from custody, but you’ll still have to show up in court. This step is important as preparing for your case while you’re behind bars is more difficult.
Seeking out a defense attorney is crucial in this scenario, especially if you’ve decided to post your bail through a bail bond company. Your lawyer can use their knowledge to lower the amount of money needed to release you by convincing a judge that you’ll show up in court.
Is There a Difference Between a Misdemeanor and a Felony?
A misdemeanor means that you committed a less serious crime than what would usually constitute a felony. Your penalties in this scenario include a fine, shorter jail time, and temporary punishments. Typically, a misdemeanor results in less than a year in jail.
A felony is considered the most serious crime an individual can commit. By definition, this term represents all crimes that could result in you spending more than one year in prison. Regardless of what you’re being charged with, misdemeanors and felonies will also show up on your public record, which is why a criminal defense attorney is so important during a trial.
What if Police Officers Saw Me Commit a Criminal Act?
If law enforcement sees you involved in a criminal act, you’ll be arrested immediately, but this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t even try to defend yourself. Your actions may have been influenced by external circumstances, and an officer might fail to understand the situation.
Legally explaining your side of the story without accusing yourself or providing additional evidence that makes you look guilty can be a challenge. A defense attorney can choose their words carefully and present a convincing version of the facts that won’t result in additional penalties.
Should I Consider a Plea Deal?
It’s extremely common to be offered a plea bargain after your arrest. This means that if you agree to plead guilty to the charge, your penalties will be reduced. It’s typically offered by prosecutors who are looking for a quick solution and may leave you with lasting penalties.
Accepting without discussing your situation with a lawyer can lead to disaster. These deals are usually offered when the evidence is not enough to prove you committed a crime, which means you have a chance to get your charges dismissed. While it might be beneficial in certain scenarios, you should always evaluate the entire situation before proceeding.
How Long Do Criminal Trials Take in Fort Worth?
Each trial is different, and its length depends on a number of different factors. If you’ve been charged with theft, your trial will be shorter when compared to a charge that involves violent behavior. The case’s complexity, whether it’s a federal case, or the evidence gathered against you will also influence the time it takes to find a resolution. A lawyer’s guidance can speed up the process.
Connect with a Criminal Defense Lawyer
When you’re accused of a crime, your entire life changes, and the thought of losing your freedom can influence every moment of your life. But you should never forget that you still have options, and you’re not alone in this fight. A criminal defense lawyer can give you the confidence you need to protect your rights and your future.
An experienced legal team at Hoeller McLaughlin PLLC will work hard to prepare a convincing defense. Our objective is the dismissal or a significant reduction of your charges. You can take the first step today by calling 817-334-7900. Alternatively, you can fill out our online contact form.