If I plan to plead guilty, how can a lawyer help me?

Even if you are planning to plead guilty to the allegations leveled against you, a criminal defense lawyer can help. With the help of a criminal defense lawyer, the crimes you plan to plead guilty to may be reduced or somehow mitigated.  If you don’t fully understand the law, it will be difficult without sound legal advice to determine whether you are guilty of the charge leveled against you or not.  Prosecutors often overcharge a crime in anticipation of reducing the crime later in negotiations for a plea of guilty.  If you simply accept what you are charged with, you may be pleading guilty to higher charge than what the government can prove against you.

An experienced criminal defense lawyer can advise you on the best possible course of action in your circumstances and in turn prevent you from taking a course of action you may later regret.  There are a myriad of collateral consequences associated with a criminal conviction or even a plea to deferred adjudication without conviction.  Without sound advice you may be setting yourself up for a lifetime of problems.  A few of the unexpected consequences of accepting responsibility in a criminal case include: loss of the right to possess a firearm, findings that adversely affect you in a child custody or divorce proceeding, loss of ability to obtain a professional license, loss of driving privileges, civil liability, and asset forfeiture.

The sentence you receive following your plea of guilty will determine much more than your punishment, it can follow you the rest of your life.  If you plan to plead guilty an experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you by making sure you plead guilty to the appropriate crime, receive an appropriate sentence, and give you advice on avoiding findings that cause problems for years to come.

How can a criminal defense lawyer help?

If you are being investigated or have been arrested for a criminal offense it is advisable that you retain the services of a criminal defense lawyer as early on in the legal process as possible. Having a lawyer present during any questioning or investigation can be critical in protecting your rights. Additionally, an experienced criminal defense attorney will know how your charges are likely to be prosecuted and, moreover, how defend against them. With proper legal representation, it may be possible to reduce or altogether eliminate the charges being brought against you.

Can you post my bond or have it reduced?

When a person is arrested, in most circumstances they will be entitled to be released pending trial if sufficient “bail” is given. Bail is security given by the accused that he or she will appear and answer charges in the proper court. Bail may be given in the form of surety bond, cash bond, or personal bond. A surety bond is obtained through a bail bondsman who guarantees the accused appearance in court. Typically a bail bondsman will require the accused pay around 10% of the bond amount as fee for the bail bond. The accused also has the option of posting a cash bond by depositing cash with the court in the amount of the bond. If the accused posts a cash bond, once the accused’s case is disposed the court is required to refund the cash. A personal bond is when the magistrate releases the accused without surety or cash but rather on the accused agreement to appear before the court.

Edward is not a bondsman and most jurisdictions in this area do not allow what some refer to as an attorney bond. However, with the advice of an experienced attorney you may be able to negotiate or petition the court to have your bond reduced or obtain release on a personal bond. Depending on the amount of bail required, this may save you a substantial amount of money.

How much does hiring a criminal defense lawyer cost?

Without knowing the facts about your case, it is difficult to quote a fee for legal services. Legal services is not a one size fits all matter. Before a fee agreement is made, Edward will discuss your case with you and do some preliminary investigation.  Edward will provide representation based on flat rate fees or hourly fee arrangements.  Generally, there is no charge for a consultation unless your case requires a substantial amount of investigation prior to the consultation or travel is required for the consultation.  Edward’s rates are reasonable and a fee agreement can be tailored to meet the needs of your case.

Will my case go to trial?

Most cases are resolved without a trial before a jury.  It depends on the facts of your individual case. Depending upon the circumstances surrounding your case, you may benefit from reaching an out of court agreement. Under other circumstances, it may be in your best interest to pursue a trial. To best understand how the particulars of your case are likely to affect any possible sentencing, and to more generally understand the extent of the charges brought against you, you should speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer.  Many individuals want to avoid a trial altogether.  However, it is important to retain an experienced criminal defense lawyer who is capable of taking your case to trial, if you wish to negotiate a favorable resolution without a trial.

Will I have a criminal record?

Being arrested or charged with a crime will likely create a public record of the event.  Pleading guilty or no contest, paying a fine, or agreeing to be placed on community supervision will also create public records of the accusations even if you are not convicted.  Many individuals pay a fine not realizing they have just been convicted of an offense. Others accept a deferred adjudication probation thinking because they have not been convicted it won’t be held against them only to later find out the record of the probation is public and potential employers hold it against them.  How your case is concluded will determine if you can ever clear your record and avoid having the accusation harm your future prospects.  There are a number of mechanisms to have records sealed or expunged.  However, you first must be careful how you conclude your case to ensure you can later seal your records or obtain an expunction.  This is where the advice of a experienced criminal defense attorney is critical.