Getting Charged With a Crime: Why You Need an Attorney

Getting charged with a crime is serious business,regardless of whether it is a misdemeanor or felony offense. While a felony charge can potentially carry more jail time and have greater consequences,either one of these charges can have long-lasting effects. Not only do the accused have to worry about their reputation,but jail time and loss of employment,as well. They may also face hefty fines and other penalties.

Official Charging of a Crime

The charging of a crime may begin with an arrest or after questioning by the police. Contrary to popular belief,an individual is not necessarily arrested when initially charged with an offense. It will depend on the type of offense and the jurisdiction. Some individuals may simply be served with a court summons after the prosecuting attorney has reviewed evidence and statements from peace officers. The defendant’s defense lawyer needs to begin building a defense at this point.

Steps of the Judicial System

After being charged with a crime,there is a formal hearing in which a judge informs the accused of their charge,sets a bond (if applicable),and depending on the charge and whether or not an attorney is present,a plea of not guilty may be entered. At this hearing,the offender may be appointed a court designated attorney if they meet the requirements.

Other hearings will follow,but the nature and course of the judicial process at this point will vary by the crime,and the whether the individual has a DWI defense .

Hiring an Experienced Attorney

Those who do not qualify for a court-appointed attorney or those who seek to hire their own lawyer should choose wisely. Hiring a lawyer who is experienced in criminal law and familiar with the nature of the specific case can make a huge difference in the outcome. Being charged with a crime is only the beginning of the daunting process that can have dire consequences.