Getting arrested is terrifying. Facing a criminal charge and the penalties that follow if you are convicted are also terrifying, sometimes to the point of being overwhelming. When you are in this position, you need to work with an experienced criminal lawyer. Your lawyer can help you develop a healthy perspective on your situation and work with you to better understand the charge you are facing, the criminal justice process, and what you can expect after the court rules on your case.
The penalties you are facing for your conviction depend on the charge you are facing. Sometimes, the presence of one or more aggravating or mitigating factors can also impact the penalties you face. Criminal penalties you could be facing include:
Additionally, certain convictions subject you to long-term consequences like being required to register with the Wisconsin Sex Offender Registry for years or even for life and losing your right to own firearms. Keep in mind that even in the absence of legally enforced penalties like these, your social and professional lives can suffer as you live with the stigma of having a criminal record. If you are a parent with a parenting plan, your conviction can also have an adverse impact on your parenting plan.
Our team of experienced criminal lawyers in Greenville, WI works with individuals facing a variety of charges. These charges include:
You are under no obligation to work with a lawyer to defend your case. Choosing to represent yourself in court is known as pro se representation, and you certainly have the right to choose this type of representation if you feel you are qualified to adequately defend your own case.
But here is the truth about pro se representation: you are not adequately qualified to defend your case. Even if you are a criminal defense lawyer yourself, you cannot defend your case as well as another lawyer can. Why? Because you are too personally involved in the case to maintain the objectivity necessary to see all potential solutions and build a solid defense strategy. And if you are not a criminal defense lawyer, you simply do not have the experience and expertise necessary to develop a strong case and defend it through the criminal justice process.
In short, your lawyer is your advocate. It is his or her job to act on your behalf to steer your case toward the most favorable outcome possible for you. Typically, this means showing the court that you are innocent of the offense for which you were charged, leading the court to dismiss the charge. Sometimes, a successful defense strategy rests less on proving the defendant’s innocence than it does on poking holes in the prosecution’s case and demonstrating that the court simply does not have enough evidence to find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Not all cases have this type of outcome. Sometimes, it is not likely that your defense strategy will lead to a ruling of your innocence. When this is the case, you may have the opportunity to accept a plea bargain. Your lawyer can explain the plea bargain process to you in detail and help you determine whether accepting one, which is voluntarily pleading guilty to a lesser offense than the one for which you were originally charged, is in your best interest.
Your relationship with your lawyer does not have to end when the court rules on your case. In fact, if you feel the court’s ruling was made in error for any reason, such as it misapplied the law or because the evidence it used was obtained illegally, you might be able to appeal the ruling and potentially have it overturned. The appeals process is a lengthy, complicated process, and your lawyer can advise you about whether he or she thinks pursuing it is in your best interest. If so, your lawyer can help you prepare your appeal and continue pursuing justice through the court system.
Another way your lawyer can work with you after the court rules on your case is to have the charge expunged from your record. Certain charges cannot be expunged, and many individuals do not qualify for expungements because of their criminal records or other circumstances related to their cases. Your lawyer can tell you if you qualify for an expungement and if you do, he or she can work with you to pursue the expungement. Having your record expunged can mitigate some of the long-term repercussions of being convicted of a crime, such as its impact on your social and professional life. Basically, an expungement removes the charge from most versions of your criminal record – namely, the ones that appear in employers’ background searches.
If you are facing any type of criminal charge, start working on your case’s defense strategy with an experienced criminal defense lawyer now. The sooner you start developing a defense strategy with an experienced criminal defense lawyer, the more effectively your lawyer can help you. Contact our team at Hammett, Bellin & Oswald, LLC today to set up your initial consultation in our office. During your consultation, we will answer your questions and help you start developing an effective defense strategy.