This blog discusses some of the main considerations you should be aware of if you have been charged with a crime.
You or a loved one has been charged with a crime. What’s next? There can be any number of things to consider, and in this blog, we will discuss a few of them. This is for informational purposes only and does not substitute the advice and counsel of a criminal defense lawyer.
After I have been charged, what is the process?
This depends on many factors, including whether you were charged with a misdemeanor or felony, what jurisdiction you were charged in, and whether it was a state or federal crime. The answer to those questions will help you determine what is going to happen in court.
Some general advice that applies to all of the above is to hire a lawyer and not make any statements to anyone except that lawyer. Conversations with your lawyer cannot be used against you unlike statements to the police covered under Miranda.
How do I fight my case?
If your criminal case proceeds forward and is not dismissed, it can end in a plea bargain or a criminal trial. You will typically have discovery before you are expected to make that decision. Criminal defendants are always presumed to be innocent.
If you decide to proceed to a trial you simply plead “not guilty” during arraignment. During trial, the defense can put on evidence, make pre-trial motions, select a jury, make objections, and assert affirmative defenses.
During a trial, your lawyer makes sure your constitutional protections weren’t violated, such as your right to confront your accusers, you rights against unlawful search and seizure, your right to counsel, and at sentencing, your eighth amendment rights. Keep in mind however that the victim will also have opportunity to testify.
What happens if I am found guilty?
Depending on the crime, it is not just the mandatory minimums, misdemeanor sentencing guidelines, felony sentencing guidelines or federal sentencing guidelines you have to contend with. There can be other collateral consequences, such as sex offender registry, loss of certain licenses, immigration issues, family law issues, supervised released violations, probation violations, and many other consequences and considerations.
Can I do anything else once I have been convicted?
After a conviction, depending on the circumstances, you can appeal or make a motion for appropriate relief, to try and get a different result. Something else to consider is that after some time, some convictions can be expunged.
While there are many other considerations if you have been charged with a crime, we hope that this blog provided an overview of some of the main ones. This blog is not intended as substitute for the advice and counsel of a criminal defense attorney. If you have been charged with a crime, you should speak to a lawyer. At Gilles Law, we make appearances for criminal cases in North Carolina and South Carolina in both state court and federal courts. If you have been charged with a crime, contact us.