Law enforcement begins an investigation.
It all begins with a phone call. "This is Detective Smith, and I have a few easy questions I need to clear up. Mind coming down and meeting with me at the station?" Or, more ominously, a call from the jail to a loved one or bondsman to begin the process of securing your release. Crucial decisions need to be made immediately.
Should I speak to the police? Can I prevent the police from arresting me? Can I get a bond reduction? Does my charge have a no bond requirement, necessitating an appearance in front of a judge before release? When can I go back home? Can I convince the prosecutor to not formally file charges? These are questions I have answered thousands of times. Rely on my experience to reduce your anxiety.
The accused has the opportunity to fight the charges.
The beginning of the case is always the most uncertain. The police and prosecutors have access to all of the witnesses and evidence. That does not mean that a person facing charges should wait for the government to make a decision. The more information provided to the prosecution concerning potential weaknesses in the case and the positive character traits of the client, the better the chance that no charges or reduced charges will be filed.
That being said, the majority of cases presented to the prosecution end up heading to court. A creative and skillful investigation by defense counsel often includes conducting depositions of key government witnesses. Conflicts in the evidence or violations of a client's constitutional rights by police officers can appear from a thorough review of the case. From the arraignment to the pretrial status conferences, regular client contact is vital to a successful result. You and I will know your case better than anyone else, giving you the best opportunity to avoid a criminal conviction.
The trial-the ultimate showdown.
As 95% of criminal cases are resolved through negotiation, not every case is going to proceed to a jury trial. Whatever the strength of the evidence, some clients prefer the certainty of a plea offer to the risk of incarceration. Many persons are eligible for a pre-trial diversion program that would result in their charges being dismissed. Others use the preparation of motions to dismiss or suppress to lessen the penalty they are facing. The exponential growth of mandatory minimum sentences often removes any ability on the part of the judge to depart downward from the sentence proscribed by law. Some people steadfastly believe in their innocence, making it an easy choice to head to trial.
The choice to head to trial may be obvious, but there is still a ton of work to do. Pre-trial litigation can limit the scope of the prosecution's case. Selecting the right jurors for the client and charge is essential. Objecting to the introduction of evidence and cross-examining government witnesses is bolstered by anticipation of key issues and moments. In certain situations, the court can grant a judgment of acquittal and discharge the client before the jury even begins deliberations. The defendant, though not obligated to testify, is always a valuable part of the strategy, from his or her appearance to input regarding evidence that will contradict that of the prosecution. Maximum effort and preparation are the only options when you need to beat the charges.