Criminal Defense FAQs

A. Definitely. An attorney’s intervention at an early stage in a case can increase the odds of no charges or reduced charges being filed. An attorney also can protect your rights during the investigation.

A. Your arraignment is your first appearance before a judge, at which time you enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. If you are represented by counsel, your attorney may attend your arraignment for you. If you have no attorney, you must personally attend your arraignment. As in all serious legal matters, being represented by counsel assists with protecting your rights.

A. A misdemeanor offense is a crime that is punished by a maximum of one year in the county jail. Felonies are more serious crimes which are punishable by more than one year in the state prison system.

Behaviors punishable only by fine, such as traffic tickets, are usually not considered crimes at all, but are infractions.

A. In the United States, all criminal defendants are presumed to be innocent until, and if, they are proven guilty beyond and to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt. This requires the prosecutor to convince the jury of your guilt; you are not required to say, do or prove anything. I advise, however, that you put on a strong defense with the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney.

A. The U.S. Constitution gives a person accused of a crime punishable by a sentence longer than six months the right to be tried by a jury.

A. The 5th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives you the right not to testify, and jurors will be told that they cannot assume anything negative if you decide to keep quiet.

You may want to remain silent at trial if you have previously been convicted of a crime, because a prosecutor may be able to bring out this information on cross-examination.

Additionally, jurors are unpredictable. They may harshly judge you if you have a poor demeanor, or they may not believe you, even if you are being truthful