Criminal law is one of the most important areas of the law that any lawyer deals with.
When someone is charged with a crime their life and liberty are at stake. You need a criminal lawyer who will put you and your needs first. You need a lawyer who understands criminal law and will look at every possible angle to obtain the best possible outcome for your situation.
At Low Law Firm, when it comes to criminal law, we believe the best defense is a good offense. From the moment you engage our firm you will begin working with attorneys and investigators alike to start building your defense.
Being arrested is often a first for most people. Most of the time, the person being arrested and their loved ones are not sure what to do. We have compiled a very basic list of frequently asked questions that will at least give you minimal guidance in a criminal law case. However, please don’t take anything on this website as a replacement for legal advice. You must contact a criminal attorney to find out your options.
Frequently asked Questions:
My loved one has been arrested. What do I do?
- Contact a criminal defense lawyer.
- Contact a bail bondsman to see about getting your loved one released; and
- Tell your loved one not to answer any questions about the incident or incidents. Tell them to ask for an attorney, which should stop any police questioning.
What is bail?
- Instead of sitting in jail awaiting resolution of your criminal law case, bail will allow you or your loved one to be released. It is essentially a financial deposit as a promise to appear in court.
- Often times those accused of a crime will contact a local bondsman. The bond company will pay the bail amount in exchange for you paying the bondsman a percentage of the bond. This percentage varies with bondsman, but it is usually anywhere from 10% – 20% of the bail amount.
What are conditions of bond?
- These are restrictions set by the criminal law judge in exchange for allowing you to bond out of jail. This can be anything from drug testing to an interlock device on your car (if you are facing DWI charges) to a requirement that you stay away from an alleged victim during the pendency of your case.
What happens at the first court appearance?
- The judge will tell you what you have been charged with. He/she will ask if you understand your rights and whether or not you are hiring criminal law counsel or need a court appointed attorney.
Do I have to go to court?
- Yes. You must appear at every criminal law court setting. This is a condition of your bond. If you fail to appear, your bond can be revoked and you can be put back in jail.
What is deferred adjudication?
- This is a form of probation which allows the charges to be dismissed at the end of your probation period. HOWEVER, this is special probation. If you commit another crime or violate the terms of your probation and you are found guilty the judge can assess punishment in the criminal law statutory range of the crime.
For example, if you are charged with 3rd degree felony and you are given the opportunity to complete deferred adjudication, but you commit another crime and are found guilty of that crime. The judge can revoke your probation and put you in jail for anywhere from 2 years to 10 years because that is the punishment range for a 3rd degree felony.
Deferred adjudication is not a good solution for everyone and must be given tremendous consideration before agreeing to it.
What are my rights?
Telling you what your rights are is largely contingent on the specific criminal law situation you are involved in. We have compiled a list of general rights that apply to most every situation, however, this is not in any way a complete list of all the protection that may be available to you.
- The right to remain silent. Everyone knows this one but seems to forget it when they are with the police. You have the right to refuse to make a statement. If you have a lawyer, do not EVER make a statement without speaking to your attorney first.
- You have the right to an attorney. If jail time is even a remote possibility you have the right to an attorney and the right to have one appointed for you if you cannot afford one.
- You have the right to a jury trial.
- You have the right to testify in the event of a trial. However, you cannot be forced to testify and should you choose not to your failure to testify cannot be used against you by the State.
- You have the right to cross examine the state’s witnesses. What this means is that you, your lawyer, have the right to question the witnesses produced by the State.
- If you are charged with a felony, you have the right to have your case be presented to a grand jury. A grand jury is a group of citizens who listen to the evidence presented by the district attorney and decide whether or not there is sufficient evidence to “indict.” A Grand Jury will either “True Bill,” meaning they believe there is probable cause to go forth and an indictment will be had or they can vote “Not a True Bill,” or “Ignoramus,” meaning they did not believe the evidence was sufficient to justify prosecution…therefore the charge is ignored.
- You also have the right to be found guilty only if the State proves their case against you “beyond a reasonable doubt.” This is what is called a burden of proof. This is the highest burden of proof in our country.
What do I do if I get pulled over and the police think I am drinking and driving?
- Be polite! Nothing will get you arrested faster than acting like an idiot to the police officer.
- Do not perform the roadside tests unless you are completely sober. If there is even a remote possibility that you cannot pass the tests do not take them. Tell the officer that you would like to consult with an dwi attorney. You are not technically entitled to an attorney yet, but you are also not required to take the roadside tests. If you do the tests remember these things: The officer will testify as to how you performed in the tests and more than likely they will be on video. For these reasons, if it is possible that you will fail the tests, it is better not to take them in the first place.
- If you fail the tests or refuse to take them, you will likely be arrested. At this point you will probably be asked to perform a breathalyzer or other tests. Again, politely tell the officer that you will not perform the tests until you can consult with an attorney. While you still do not have a right to an attorney at this point you also cannot be compelled to do the breath test.
- The officer may indicate that they will get a warrant for your blood. Let them. There are several problems that could arise in getting the warrant or mistakes that could happen that might later lead to suppression. If you agree to the sample, you are not helping you, you are helping them prove their case against you.
What will Low Law Firm do for your criminal law situation?
From the moment you call our criminal law office our work begins. Low Law Firm believes you need a criminal defense team. We work with highly skilled and seasoned investigators, experts and staff to begin building your defense even before an indictment.
Our goal is to provide you with an aggressive and tenacious team to protect your rights. Your opponents are a team of prosecutors backed by the resources of the government with one purpose—convicting you. You must act quickly and decisively in picking your defense team.
Low Law Firm attorneys have the experience and skill to handle your criminal law case from beginning to end.
This includes an appeal should it become necessary. Rick Dunbar is a highly effective criminal appellate attorney. He has argued before the highest criminal appellate court of this great state, the Court of Criminal Appeals. He has many years of appellate victories. When we say we can handle your case from beginning to end…we mean it.
At Low Law Firm you are not just a criminal law case file, we take personal care with each client to ensure open and upfront communication.
We will tell you the bad and the good. You may not always like what we have to say, but you will get honest, consistent, up front interaction.