When a person is stopped by the police, he/she may be charged with a civil infraction, petty offense, misdemeanor or a felony. When the police complete their investigation, the person will be charged with the offense. Other ways in which the police may charge you could include asking you to present yourself at the police station at the earliest or they may issue a warrant against you that would allow them to arrest you. Getting legal help from reliable attorneys in Port Charlotte, FL, is critical so that the defendant’s rights are protected. If possible, consult a lawyer before being charged. Unless you were arrested on an outstanding warrant, the arrest does not necessarily mean that the charges against you have been authorized. An attorney can advise you on handling the police and inform you about your rights. The charging decision of the prosecutor may well be influenced if your attorney intercedes at the right time.
Attorneys, Port Charlotte, FL: What happens once you have been charged with a crime?
Depending on the seriousness of the crime, an arrest warrant is issued against you. If you are arrested, the police then proceed to ‘book’ you and you can be held under police custody pending a hearing in the court, which is usually scheduled within the next 48 hours. The right to speak with an attorney from Port Charlotte, FL, is given to you and a brief meeting should be arranged before the initial hearing.
At the hearing, the judge reads out the criminal charges against you and asks for your plea. You can either plea ‘not guilty’, ‘no contest’ or ‘guilty’. A plea of not guilty will lead to a trial, wherein the prosecutor will have to prove beyond reasonable doubt that you are guilty of the crime you have been charged with.
Competent attorneys from Port Charlotte, FL, will advise you on your plea bargain and defend you with evidence to the best of their abilities. A jury can be tough on a person charged with a crime, but with an experienced solicitor, that too can be tackled the right way. You can also waive your right to a jury trial, but must only do so on the advice of your lawyer.
If you are found not guilty after the trial, you will be released from custody. However, if you are found guilty, a sentencing hearing will take place. A criminal sentence may mean serving time in prison but it may also entail alternative penalties, such as fines, restitution to the victim, undergoing rehabilitation or therapy, performing community service or anything related to specifics of the case.
Be careful to hire attorneys in Port Charlotte, FL, who have enough experience to defend you, protect your rights and negotiate these terms to obtain the best possible outcome.