Our Criminal Defense Processes
We will work to get you out of jail!
Immediately after you hire us, if you are in jail or there is a warrant for your arrest, we will immediately work to get you out of jail or get a bond set so that you can either post a bond to be released, if in jail, or to prevent arrest if not in jail. Whether you're in jail, have an outstanding warrant or neither, we will then file a Notice of Representation with the Court, enter a plea of not guilty, and get your case scheduled with the Court. This accomplishes many things. First, it either gets you out of jail or lifts the warrant for your arrest. Additionally, we are “entering an appearance” on your case with the court, so that all future communications from the court go directly to our office. And finally, the not guilty plea notifies the court that we are contesting the charges and that we want a court setting to discuss plea options or to set the case for trial.
We will meet with the prosecutor.
We will do any and all necessary investigation and will appear at the first court setting to meet with the prosecutor. At this meeting, we will obtain all of the evidence the State has against you, as well as the warrant, probable cause affidavit, police report and the “information,” or ‘indictment,” depending on if your case is a misdemeanor or a felony. We then review all of the evidence and facts of the case for anything that may serve as the basis for a motion to suppress evidence or to otherwise get the case dismissed immediately.
Development a strategy for a plea agreement or jury trial.
Development of a strategy is next, including things that can be done to negotiate for a favorable plea agreement or to prepare for a jury trial. This may include legal and factual defenses to present to the prosecutor and/or the court. If there is a “legal,” defense, the charge could be dismissed. Similarly, a factual defense can provide the basis for a dismissal, but not often. More frequently, a factual defense raises a factual discrepancy or issue, that if proved at trial, could result in a not guilty verdict. The stronger the factual defense, the more likely the prosecutor will be to either dismiss the charge or offer a favorable plea agreement, such an amendment to a lesser offense, lower fines, a low period of probation, a pretrial diversion agreement, or a combination of these options.
Usually several announcement settings.
In courts of most counties, a criminal case is set for multiple "announcement" settings. The purpose of the settings is for the defense attorney and the prosecutor to discuss the case, exchange evidence and work toward a favorable plea agreement. If a favorable plea agreement cannot be reached, we will promptly notify you of the unfavorable offer from the prosecutor and will discuss all options that you may have. Usually, at this point, the options are either to accept the offer or set the case for trial. This will be your decision. Of course, we will fully discuss with you the options and the ramifications of any options you choose.
If you choose to accept the offer from the prosecutor.
If you choose to accept the offer from the prosecutor, we will schedule a date for your change of plea to either guilty or no contest, depending on the offer. We will then move forward with a plea, which is conducted before the judge of the court.
You can request a trial.
If you do not want to accept the offer from the prosecutor, you can request a trial. The only option you have at this point is to have a jury trial or a bench trial. The only difference is who will be determining the facts of the case; a judge (in the case of a bench trial), or a jury (in the case of a jury trial). Keep in mind that you MUST be present for any trial setting. At the end of the trial, a determination will be made as to guilt or innocence and if guilty, any punishment.