Have you been accused of committing a crime?
Are you under police investigation for possibly playing a role in an offense? Have you already been sentenced, but wish to appeal a court decision? If so, you are in need of legal help, but not just any attorney will suffice. You need a lawyer specifically skilled in criminal law and who knows exactly what to do to protect your rights at all stages of the investigation and trial process. You need a criminal defense attorney, and we are here to help you connect with some of the best in your area.
USAttorneys.com is your one-stop-shop to finding and retaining top legal counsel in your hometown that you can trust will provide you with elite legal services. We know just how difficult it can be to find skilled legal representation, especially during the time-sensitive period following an arrest or detainment. We know you do not have the time or the luxury to waste sifting through dozens of potential attorneys who all claim to be the best. You need an experienced criminal defense lawyer right now, and we aim to do just that.
Our site features quick, easy and free access to some of the highest-ranked and successful criminal attorneys in your state. Simply browse the site to obtain detailed profiles on your local attorneys, including their background, firm information, rates, areas of expertise, and successful verdicts, so you can determine who your ideal legal representative should be. And for added convenience and protection, we only feature licensed and accredited attorneys on our site, so you’ll never have to worry about the integrity of your criminal defense lawyer or how knowledgeable they are.
Once you find the attorney you would like to work with, you can give them a call directly. And for additional information on a specific criminal lawyer or for assistance in finding representation in your hometown, you can reach USAttorneys.com directly through our convenient contact form and we’ll answer all your questions.
So go ahead, browse our network of criminal defense lawyers right now to find the attorney that best fits your needs.
The Importance of Hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney
No matter what state you live in, a criminal conviction can lead to lifelong issues – even for first-time offenders. A conviction can lead to serious penalties, including expensive fines and incarceration, but it can also lead to additional negative consequences that will follow you for years to come – if not indefinitely. If you are convicted of a misdemeanor or felony offense, you may lose your current job, may be denied future employment, may not be approved for financial aid, and if the offense is severe enough, you may even have some of your civil rights revoked, such as voting privileges.
Though defendants in a criminal case have the option of entering into proceedings without legal representation or with a public defender, it is not advisable. Prosecutors will try to impose the maximum penalty for the offense, and without an attorney who understands the process and how to fight back, the worst may happen. The best way to ensure you do not suffer the harshest punishment associated with the offense in question is to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to protect your rights.
There are far too many variables that can affect the outcome of a criminal case. More times than anyone might imagine, an innocent person is sentenced for an offense they did not actually commit. Often, innocent individuals also inadvertently incriminate themselves during police or prosecutor interrogations because they are unaware of their rights or are intimidated into confessing or offering information that did not have to be revealed. Unlike police and prosecutors, who may not necessarily be on your side, an expert criminal defense lawyer is always going to protect you, their client. They have the superior knowledge, resources and ability to defend your case, no matter what stage of the criminal process you are in. Simply put, hiring a skilled criminal defense lawyer to represent your case can mean the difference between getting probation instead of incarceration, being tried as a juvenile as opposed to an adult, having your charges lowered from a felony offense to a misdemeanor, and even being acquitted of all charges – among numerous other benefits.
When to Hire a Criminal Lawyer
It’s never too early to hire a criminal attorney. It is your 6th Amendment right to legal counsel and you can obtain representation at any point, long before you are even formally charged with the offense. You may also obtain representation after your case has concluded if you with to appeal the sentence.
The criminal attorneys featured on our site can assist you or your loved ones with a wide range of matters and for an extensive number of offenses, including but not limited to the following:
- Attempted Murder
- Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
- Drug Crimes (Possession, Trafficking, etc.)
- Gang-Related Offenses
- Juvenile Crimes
- Misdemeanor or Felony Traffic Offenses
- Probation Violations
- Sexual Crimes
- Weapons Charges
- White Collar Crimes (Fraud, Embezzlement, etc.)
If you are facing criminal charges, there is a lot at stake. Punishments in criminal cases range from small fines to serious prison time. An experienced criminal defense attorney will protect your rights and your future by taking charge of your legal dealings in court, and ultimately making a massive difference in the outcome of your criminal case.
Regardless of whether or not this is your first time facing criminal charges, or you have had similar legal issues in the past, make sure you know what to expect before heading to the courtroom.
I’ve been charged with a crime. Now what?
Once you have been charged with a crime, then what happens next depends on which jurisdiction you were charged in. Typically, criminal cases begin with either a grand jury indictment or with a criminal complaint filed by a prosecutor. After the criminal charges are filed, cases generally advance as follows:
- The grand jury indicts or criminal charges are filed.
- A summons to appear in court is issued or the defendant is arrested.
- The defendant makes their initial appearance and the bond is determined.
- The plea bargaining process begins between the criminal defense lawyer and the prosecutor.
- Motions are filed and hearings are held.
- There is either a jury or bench trial.
- A verdict is given.
- If the defendant pleads guilty or is found guilty they are given a sentence.
- Post-conviction appeals are presented.
If the defendant is found guilty of the crime, then they will be sentenced according to the judge’s discretion and the sentencing guidelines. Final sentences can range anywhere from fines, incarceration, probation, treatment, or some other type of punishment.
What does criminal defense have to prove?
Criminal prosecutions come with a larger potential loss of liberty than civil cases. This means that there is a much higher burden of proof since there is much more at stake than in civil trials. In order to find a person guilty of a crime, the prosecutors must prove to the jury that the defendant committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.
Generally, defendants are not required to prove anything at trial; this is what criminal defense lawyers are for. An experienced criminal defense attorney will review evidence in order to take on the prosecution’s case, argue on behalf of their clients at hearings and trials, and negotiate plea bargains with the prosecution.
Is it worth hiring a criminal defense lawyer for a misdemeanor?
Even if you are only charged with a misdemeanor, hiring a criminal defense attorney may be well worth the cost in the long run. Depending on the jurisdiction in which you are being charged, you could face a maximum period of incarceration if you are convicted of the crime. Assuming jail time isn’t the outcome you are looking for, finding a criminal defense lawyer to represent you in court is a good idea.
How do I avoid a criminal record?
It is hard enough that a criminal sentence can take you away from your family and friends. Add a criminal record on top of it, and the rest of your life could be negatively affected forever. Apartment and job applications, along with anything else that requires a background check, will swiftly become your worst enemy. Suffice it to say, if you have been arrested then it would be nice to not have to deal with the criminal record that comes along with it.
Criminal defense attorneys will help you avoid the everlasting repressions of a criminal record by enacting the following programs:
- Alternative Sentencing: This allows the criminal defendant to avoid incarceration. In some cases, alternative sentencing can prevent the defendant from getting a criminal record. In this scenario, the defendant usually has to plead guilty to the crime they are being charged for. Then the court, criminal defense lawyer, and the prosecutor agree on a sentence that does not include any jail time. Other forms of punishment with alternative sentencing include community service, house arrest, or work release. Not all alternative sentences end in avoiding a criminal record, which is why having an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side is important.
- Diversion: In this type of program, a case is put on hold for one year or another designated amount of time, during which the defendant agrees to complete a list of conditions set forth by the prosecutor. Examples of such conditions include community service, counseling, reimbursing victims, or treatment. Upon the completion of the diversion period, the case will be dismissed and the defendant will have no criminal record if they completed all the conditions to the court’s satisfaction, paid any associated court costs and fines, and has had no additional arrests. An important point to note is that the defendant must actually commit to satisfy the conditions of the diversion program; if the defendant fails to do so, then they must plead guilty to the crime they are being convicted of.
- Victim Compromise Program: In exchange for the criminal charges being dismissed, the defendant agrees to reimburse the victims for any harm that was caused by the crime. This type of program is usually only an option for nonviolent misdemeanor cases and must be approved by a judge. As a result, repeat offenders generally do not qualify for the victim compromise program.
All of the above options are not available to every single criminal defendant. Criminal defense lawyers who can show that their clients are deserving of mercy, there was a valid explanation for why the crime happened, and that there is a strong likelihood they will not commit a crime again are good candidates for these programs.
Can criminal records be expunged?
If your jurisdiction approves, then yes, criminal records can be expunged. Of course, this is contingent upon the nature of the crime and where you are trying to have the records removed. In some states only nonviolent crimes can be expunged, whereas others only allows records to be expunged for people with only one conviction, and some states do not allow any records to be expunged whatsoever.
While petitioners are not required to have a criminal defense lawyer represent them, it is highly encouraged considering the impact a criminal record will have on your future legal rights and employment status.
If your petition to have your criminal record expunged is approved, then it will be as if the conviction never existed. You will be able to legally testify under oath that you have no prior convictions and that you have never been convicted of a crime; however, there are some exceptions to criminal records disclosures in certain jurisdictions even if it was expunged. An example of this is for convicted sex offenders who are applying for a job that involves working with children.