You could but that would usually be a bad idea. A criminal court is not the place for a non-lawyer to learn about the legal system at his own expense.
It’s important to remember that the overwhelming majority of criminal cases do not go to trial. Plea bargaining is the process by which most cases are resolved. An experienced attorney is the best chance of getting the best deal in every case.
No. Absolutely not. It is an ethical violation for a criminal defense lawyer to guarantee any type of outcome in a criminal proceeding. If any attorney does such, you would be wise to steer clear of him. What I do guaranteed, however, is that I will give my all to do everything in my power to successfully represent you in your case.
Yes. If you are convicted of a crime, upon successful completion of probation, your attorney can file a motion to expunge your record. This means that the official docket of your case will show that you entered a “not guilty” plea and the case was dismissed.
It’s important to understand that being arrested is not the same as being convicted. While being convicted does create a criminal record, it’s important to distinguish what the conviction is for. For example, being convicted of shoplifting is a crime of “moral turpitude,” While being convicted of trespassing is not. Under the right circumstances, a skilled attorney can have the charges against you reduced to something that will not reflect as badly upon your character.
In the overwhelming majority of cases, the answer would be no. Of course, each case is different and some offenses must involve some custody time. However, a creative attorney can usually find an outcome that does not involve jail in most circumstances.
In many cases the answer is no. An attorney can appear on your behalf through most stages of the case so that you don’t have to miss work. This can be important as most cases require numerous appearances by an attorney to get what is ultimately the best outcome.
In simple terms, the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony is the potential punishment. Misdemeanors generally carry a maximum penalty of up to one year in the county jail. A felony is defined as a crime with a punishment commencing with one year in state prison. Many crimes are known as “wobblers,” meaning that they can be filed as either misdemeanors or felonies. A good criminal defense lawyer can often make the difference in getting a felony reduced to a misdemeanor.
Miranda rights arise from being taken into custody and then being interrogated by the police. You have a right not to answer any questions and to have an attorney present at all proceeding. Always demand your right to have an attorney represent you at every stage of an investigation.
No, you do not. Under most circumstances, the police are required to obtain a search warrant before they can conduct a search of your home, or there must be a valid arrest before they can search your vehicle. Warrants can be defective and thereafter possibly successfully attacked. If you voluntarily allow the police to search, you’re giving up a valuable right and getting nothing in return.