A criminal charge is not the same as a criminal conviction. When you are charged with a crime, you are being accused of committing that crime. You will not face criminal penalties like a fine or jail time until the court finds you to be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This is where a criminal defense lawyer enters the picture. When you are facing a criminal charge, you can avoid conviction and penalties by demonstrating to the court that you are not guilty of the alleged crime. Sometimes, this means using available evidence to show that no crime occurred or that if it did, you were not the individual who perpetrated it. In other cases, a lack of evidence linking you to the alleged crime means that you cannot be found guilty. Your lawyer’s job is to make use of available evidence to develop an effective defense strategy for your case. If you are arrested, contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible to start developing your defense strategy.
Our team works with individuals facing the following types of criminal charge:
Our team also works with minors facing juvenile charges. The juvenile justice system is quite different from the adult corrections system, and if your child is facing a juvenile charge, it is important that you work with an experienced juvenile defense lawyer to ensure that his or her case is handled appropriately. We also work with individuals facing probation and parole violation charges.
Some offenses, like disorderly conduct, are charged as misdemeanors. Others, such as murder and aggravated battery, are charged as felonies. Felonies are more serious crimes that have steeper penalties for convicted individuals.
Do not assume that a misdemeanor charge is not something to take seriously. Every criminal charge should be taken seriously. Even if the conviction you are facing has relatively minor consequences, like an affordable fine or community service, it is important that you fight the charge because by avoiding conviction, you can keep the charge off your criminal record. If you are charged with another crime later, having convictions on your record can subject you to an upgraded version of the new charge or additional criminal penalties. A conviction on your criminal record can also negatively impact your ability to secure a job or a place to live later.
The penalties you will face for a criminal conviction depend on the type and level of the charge you are facing. Criminal penalties include:
Additionally, you may face a driver’s license suspension or revocation if you are convicted of certain crimes, such as OWI. When you are facing a criminal charge, discuss all the possible penalties you could face with your lawyer.
You have certain civil rights that you can, and should, exercise in all interactions with law enforcement and the court. Exercising your rights during interactions with law enforcement can aid in defending your case later. These rights include:
Your lawyer can discuss your civil rights with you and coach you on exercising them in future interactions with the court. Part of this role is helping you prepare for depositions and courtroom testimonies by walking you through questioning and developing the answers you will provide to the questions you will be asked.
When you are arrested, do not fight back or speak with law enforcement beyond polite acknowledgement. As soon as you can, contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer to determine how you can defend your case against the charge you face. The right defense strategy depends on the circumstances of your case. Sometimes, it is possible to use available evidence to prove your innocence. In other cases, a lack of evidence to support the charge means you cannot be found guilty.
If any of the prosecution’s evidence was collected illegally, your lawyer can file a motion to have it removed from the trial. Another possible defense strategy is showing how your civil rights were violated during your arrest or while you were held in police custody.
Sometimes, a successful defense strategy does not result in a finding of innocence, but a plea bargain or admission to a pretrial diversion program. A plea bargain is an opportunity to plead guilty to a lower charge than the one you originally faced, which saves everybody time and money while allowing you to avoid the steepest of the penalties you face. A pretrial diversion program is a program that allows you to receive supervised treatment and upon successfully completing the program, the charge is dismissed. Discuss these possibilities with your lawyer to determine if you could be eligible for either.
If you are facing a criminal charge, always remember that you can fight the charge. You have this right regardless of the circumstances surrounding the case – even if you think there is no way you can show the court you are innocent, discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Oshkosh to determine whether that is actually true. You could have options you did not know existed. Contact our team at Hammett, Bellin & Oswald, LLC today to set up your initial legal consultation in our office to learn more about defending your case against a criminal charge.