Criminal charges hold a lot of weight in the legal system. Though this is a large umbrella of activities and offenses, criminal law encompasses some of the most serious crimes an individual can commit. However, though severe and highly illegal, some of these crimes are not uncommon.
When many people think of criminal activity, they think of bad people who plot and scheme for weeks before committing their offenses. Though this does happen sometimes, most criminal cases consist of regular people who made a mistake or felt they didn’t have any other option. As a result, when clients walk through our doors for criminal defense services, they are often going through the lowest point in their lives.
If you’re facing criminal charges in New York, it’s important to know that you have options. A charge is not a conviction, and you still have a chance to earn your freedom. With an experienced attorney on your side, you have a chance at clearing your name and returning to a relatively normal life.
Criminal charges vary widely. Some criminal activity is violent, while other offenses do not involve human interaction. The distinction here is simply that the charges are not civil charges.
Examples of criminal charges include:
This is by no means an exhaustive list. However, criminal charges encompass a large part of the legal system.
As mentioned, criminal charges are distinct from civil charges. Civil cases usually involve one individual or corporation filing a case against another individual or corporation. Though the law is involved, the function is ultimately to decide who is right. For example, if two individuals get into a car accident and can’t decide who is responsible, they would go to civil court to have the law decide.
Criminal court is different. These laws are enforced by the state, not by an individual. Though you may have committed the crime against an individual, criminal court represents the process by which the state enforces laws. While civil court cases can be dropped if the plaintiff decides to do so, criminal charges are rarely dropped. This is because the state needs to enforce the law to protect the community.
Criminal cases involve serious charges. As a result, the cases that come to these courts are not common car accidents or personal injury cases. Rather, they represent crimes that involve a lot of money, a threat to the community, or a potential loss of life.
The consequences for this category of criminal activity are severe. You could face a lifetime in prison if found guilty, depending on your offense. You face a felony record, as well as exorbitant fines, reparations, and restrictions. In addition, most people who are convicted of these crimes lose custody of their children, suffer divorce or separation from their partners, and spend a significant amount of their lives in prison.
With so much at stake, it’s crucial to have an attorney fight for you. We give you the very best chance at maintaining your innocence and walking out of the courtroom with your freedom intact. You don’t want to risk so much simply to avoid attorney fees. Your life and your family are well worth getting a lawyer.
Unfortunately, it’s difficult to say how much an attorney will cost in these situations. Every firm charges differently, and there is no standard fee structure. Some attorneys charge hourly, while others do not. Some attorneys require payment as you go, while others bill after the case has closed.
It’s important to speak with potential attorneys about their fees and billing structure before working with them. If you can’t afford their services, it’s best to know right away so you can find representation within your budget. If you discover this after the case has already started, you’ll be out of luck in court. What’s more, if you can’t pay, your attorney may have to take legal action themselves, meaning that you face even more significant issues. Therefore, it’s best to be sure that you can pay before you begin working together.
What Should You Ask When Hiring a Criminal Defense Lawyer?
When you interview potential criminal defense lawyers, ask them about their fees and payment structure. However, it’s also essential to ask them about their experience with cases like yours, their experience in general, and their time in the business. You may also want to ask for testimonials or references to ensure that they’re a good fit for your case.
Do I Get a Jury for My Criminal Case?
Criminal cases will have a jury of your peers unless you and your attorney request that the judge be the sole decision-maker in your case. The jury is selected semi-randomly, and your attorney has some say over who will be part of it. This group must come to a unanimous decision about the verdict in criminal cases.
What Can I Expect From My Criminal Defense Attorney?
You should expect that your attorney has significant experience in cases like yours. It’s not enough to have experience in criminal law; they must have direct experience in your type of case. They should listen closely to your side of the story and ask questions to help build your case. This individual is on your side, so you must feel they believe you and are advocating for you.
Can My Case Be Settled Outside of Court?
In some situations, the prosecution and defense agree about what should happen outside of court. This is called a plea bargain. To achieve this, you will have to plead guilty to the charges. In exchange, you may receive a lighter sentence than you would have if you went through court and were found guilty there.
Our team at The Vitaliano Law Firm has extensive experience in criminal law. We’ve seen cases of all kinds and can help you defend your life and liberty.
For more information on how we can help, please contact us online to schedule a consultation.