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Facing Criminal Charges?
Have you been arrested or facing criminal charges? Whether you were arrested for a misdemeanor, felony or are being investigated for a criminal offense, a criminal defense attorney can help protect your legal rights.
What Happens After an Arrest?
Things move quickly after someone is taken into custody following an arrest. The criminal justice system can be difficult to navigate but an experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you through the process. After an arrest, you will likely be taken to the police station for booking and processing. Booking includes taking a mug shot photograph and fingerprinting. After booking, you may be released, have to post bail, or be taken to the court for arraignment.
For many minor offenses, the defendant can be released on their own recognizance - meaning you do not have to pay bail - with a promise to appear in court. Alternatively, a friend or family member may have to post bail for your release by putting up money or going to a bail bond service. For serious charges, you may have to stay in jail until arraignment (your initial court appearance).
During the arraignment, the judge will read the official criminal charges filed against you, and you have to respond one of the following:
- Not guilty
- No contest
If you plead guilty, the judge may sentence you and that will be the end of your criminal trial. If you plead not guilty, your case may be put off to a future court date. Find a criminal defense attorney in this directory to represent you or your loved one in the criminal case, including plea negotiations, filing pretrial motions, criminal defense in a jury trial, and if it becomes necessary to file an appeal.
How do I choose a lawyer?
Consider the following:
- Comfort Level
- - Are you comfortable telling the lawyer personal information? Does the lawyer seem interested in solving your problem?
- - How long has the lawyer been in practice? Has the lawyer worked on other cases similar to yours?
- - How are the lawyer's fees structured - hourly or flat fee? Can the lawyer estimate the cost of your case?
- - Is the lawyer's office conveniently located near you?