WHAT A CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER WILL DO FOR YOU
Being accused of a crime can be incredibly stressful and overwhelming, especially in our complex legal system. With the right criminal defense lawyer on your side, you can rest assured that your rights and interests will be protected and that they will be working on a favorable outcome to your case.
Even without jail time, criminal charges can be highly damaging to your personal and professional life, so you will want to seek the experienced representation of Cabral Law Firm in Denver to handle your case.
CRIMINAL CHARGES AND PUNISHMENTS
There are two basic types of criminal charges an individual may face: misdemeanors and felonies. A misdemeanor is a more minor crime with a reduced punishment, but this type of charge can still lead to up to one year of jail time, along with significant fines and a permanent criminal record.
When facing a felony charge, you might be threatened with a long prison sentence and hefty fines. Convicted felons can also face higher degrees of penalties and supervision, along the stigma that can impede employment, housing, credit, and even voting rights.
Criminal Court System
In a criminal case, there is are certain procedures that are laid out by the law and Constitutions. However, each court house, and even court room, has their own take on how these procedures actually work. That is why it is important to have an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side who is familiar with the court, the judge, and the prosecutor to make sure that you avoid any pitfalls.
A person can be arrested and held for an amount of time while the police and prosecutors attempt to gain enough evidence to secure charges. A charge is a claim of a particular crime committed or law that has been broken. At times, the police and the prosecutor do not have enough evidence and will attempt to coerce a defendant into making a confession. Even a partial confession, such as admitting to being at the scene of the crime, is enough to sustain charges when considered with other evidence gathered.
Once there is enough evidence to sustain probable cause of the charges, charges will be issued against the person and are usually officially filed with the court. In the case of a high level felony, this process can take several days. Whereas in the case of a traffic ticket, it can be instantaneous.
Once charges have been filed, the person has to be entered into the court system with assurances that the person will appear in court to face the charges. In the case of a felony or even a misdemeanor, a person may have to post a bond in order to be released from jail. The bond is usually an amount of money that will insure that the person will return to court, or that money will be forfeited. However, there are exceptions where a personal recognizance, or personal signature promise, is sufficient to return to court. The assurance to return to court can also be secured by the issuance of a summons, which a paper that gives notice of your next court date and what needs to happen before or at the court date. This is usually part of a ticket or on the back of a ticket.
The first court appearance in a felony case could be a preliminary hearing where evidence is presented and a defense to the charges needs be litigated. The first court appearance could also be the only opportunity for negotiations with the prosecutor. In some instances, there are advisements by the court as to the persons rights, responsibilities, deadlines, guidelines, and the like that if not followed could impact the defense and lead to a negative outcome in the case. This is why it is so important to have a criminal defense lawyer at your side for all court appearances, especially the first one.
There are several types of final hearings. The typical one is a jury trial where residents of the state, county, municipalities, or area in which the court is located, appear to hear the evidence and make findings of guilt or innocence. At a trial, a defendant is presumed to be innocent and thus does not have any burden of presenting a defense. However, the presentation of a defense is usually necessary in order to avoid a conviction. The prosecutor is responsible for proving charges beyond a reasonable doubt.
A trial can also be had in front of a judge where the judge weighs the evidence and the law to make the same findings. However, because judges hear cases every day and are keenly aware of the sentences issued in particular cases, it is very difficult to be proven not guilty in a court trial.
Some low level types of cases are afforded a final hearing where there is not a prosecutor at all, only a police officer or government officer presents evidence of guilt and the judge or magistrate makes the determination as guilt or innocence. These hearings can be tricky as there may only be a sliver of a chance to negotiate the charges, defend the charges, present evidence and arguments.
In sum, it is critical to have a criminal defense lawyer at all stages of a case, even the early stages, and especially at the trial stage. Having a a criminal defense lawyer at key stages of a case can have a substantial impact on how you are treated by the legal system.
If you have been charged with any type of crime, you will want to contact a lawyer right away to determine the best course of action for your case. To schedule a free initial consultation with Denver’s Cabral Law Firm, give us a call at (303) 558-3159. We have been serving Colorado for more than 20 years, offering expertise in the areas of criminal defense, DUI, and family law.