What To Expect When Charged With A Crime
In this post you will learn what to expect when charged with a crime. Read along to learn everything you need to know!
Most people go through life thinking they will never be charged with a crime. The problem is that this is not usually the case. Over a lifetime and for various reasons, people will find it is not uncommon to run afoul of the law at least once in your lifetime. When finding themselves in trouble, many people have no idea what to expect or what to do. Let’s discuss a few things about what to expect when charged with a crime.
What to Expect When Charged with a Crime
The Odds of Being Charged with a Crime
Every year, a significant number of people are charged with crimes. For many years now, it has been reported that one in three American adults will be arrested at some point during their lifetime.
The Consequences of Being Charged with a Crime
The consequences of being charged with a crime are often serious and long-term. For example, if you’re convicted on one or more criminal charges (whether felony or misdemeanor), the court may sentence you to time in jail, imprisonment, or as little as community supervision (probation) for up to several years. In addition to these sentences, the court can also sentence you to pay a fine and court costs.
This can happen no matter what your charges are. For example, you may be caught with prescription drugs, for example, and your charges will be just as bad as someone with heroin on their person.
The difference between any of these sentences can sometimes be attributed to having the proper representation by an attorney. While having a lawyer represent you is not guaranteed to help you get out of the charge, going into court with a criminal charge and no attorney will result in a catastrophic mistake in your life.
What Happens When You’re Charged With a Crime
A person who is charged with a crime will find themselves in the following situation:
- When you are charged with a crime, the first thing that will happen is an arrest. This could be anything from being taken into custody at your job to police knocking on your door in the middle of the night.
- Once arrested and brought to jail, you’ll be required to wait until bail is set before getting out. Bail, or bonding out of jail, will allow you to wait for your day in court without spending the entire time locked up. If for some reason you are not granted bail or cannot afford the bail amount, you won’t be released until you at least appear in court on the charge.
- Once in court, you’ll be asked to enter a plea of guilty, no contest, or not guilty.
- If the defendant pleads guilty to criminal charges (whether felony or misdemeanor), sentencing will occur in court with the judge presiding over it and determining what punishment should be given.
How an Attorney Will Help in a Criminal Case
An experienced and professional lawyer can make all the difference when it comes to your freedom, finances, as well as keeping relationships intact.
A lawyer will help their client throughout the process of trial, court proceedings, and sentencing. They will represent their client’s interests in court and ensure that they are not treated unfairly or unjustly by the system, as well as provide a level of protection for them outside of the courtroom.
They can help to get charges dropped or sentences reduced so you don’t have long-term consequences like losing your job due to sentencing. They’ll also provide you with backup for any legal action or appeal that may arise from your conviction.
An attorney can save you time by helping to clarify instructions and what is required of you during court trials and hearings. This includes advising on how to best prepare for the case, what to say on the stand in order to best explain your perspective and needs, as well as how to dress appropriately.
An experienced attorney will also know when it’s time to call a trial or plea bargain because of their understanding of how judges make decisions.
How to Find the Right Attorney For A Criminal Charge
This is an important decision and not one that should be taken lightly. There are a number of factors to consider when choosing the right attorney for your criminal charge:
- Will they take my case? Some attorneys have a full schedule and may not be able to take on any clients.
- How long will it take them to respond after you call them? The responsiveness of the lawyer you hire will be important to your peace of mind.
- Will they be able to help me? You’ll know this by asking about past clients who were in similar situations.
- How much will it cost and what are the payment terms?
- What is their success rate? Not every attorney is equal. Do they simply plea out each client, or do they work hard to get those who hire them the best possible result?
- Can they help me get a reduced sentence or probation instead of jail time, fines, and community service?
- Is the attorney’s office conveniently located for my work schedule or will I have to travel across town every day? Convenience and access to your attorney can mean the difference between being prepared or not.
Don’t go into this without thinking things through and getting professional advice. A criminal charge isn’t just about the offense, it’s also about your future. Do you really want to take a chance with something that affects both how people see you and any career or educational opportunities you may have in the future?
Don’t be afraid to call several attorneys and set up interviews. The attorney you hire will be working for you. Sit down and ask them the questions above. If they are unresponsive to your needs, they are probably not for you. An experienced attorney will be able to answer any questions you have and quell any fears about your case.
If you find yourself charged with a crime in the state of Louisiana, there are professional attorneys at hand who can help with your case. At Barkemeyer Law Firm, our experience and knowledge of the local court system allow us to stand above others in the defense of your case. Contact us today to discuss what we can do for you.