Top 10 Questions From Someone that is Arrested

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When we meet with clients after they have been arrested, they tend to be scared, nervous, uncertain and concerned about the future.  In this weeks blog we look at 10 of the most common questions we receive from those that are arrested.
Q1.  Am I going to have to serve time in jail if I’m convicted?
A:  It depends.  If your crime is a D felony or misdemeanor and you have never been in any trouble before, then in most instances you will not have to do any jail time.  If you are charged with a C felony or higher, even if you have never been in trouble before, you may still face jail time depending on the nature of the charges, the Court, the prosecutor and the strength of the case.  For charges of a B felony or higher, your likelihood of doing some prison time is much higher.  If you have criminal history, under all charges, you have a risk of having to do some jail time.
Q2.  Can you get my case dismissed?
A:  The result of your case is significantly tied to the facts of the case.  The stronger the case is against you the tougher it is to convince the prosecutor to cut you a better deal.  If there are constitutional issues with the police investigation, a motion to suppress may significantly strengthen your possibility of getting a dismissal.
Q3.  The victim doesn’t want to press charges so my case will just be dismissed right?
A:  No, not necessarily.  Victims don’t file or dismiss charges, prosecutors do.  If a victim is reluctant or uncooperative, that will have a positive effect on your case, but good prosecutors will attempt to prove their case with other evidence, and may only dismiss if they can’t figure out another way to prove the case.
Q4.  Do I qualify for a diversion?
A:  A diversion is an agreement with the prosecutor to dismiss your charges after you comply with terms of their diversion agreement.  This will be offered many times on misdemeanor cases where you don’t have any criminal history.  The rules of when a diversion can/will be offered vary by county and sometimes even by individual prosecutors.
Q5.  Should I hire an attorney?
A:  If you have been arrested for a crime, then yes.  You have entered into a world of unfamiliar territory.  A good lawyer will make you comfortable and knowledgeable about the process and answer any questions you might have.  Additionally, your lawyer is uniquely qualified to evaluate your case and negotiate the best possible result for you.
Q6.  Should I go to trial?
A:  This is a very cases sensitive and personal question.  If your case is a strong one, you are firm in your innocence, or if the prosecutor’s offer is so harsh you don’t have any other chance, then yes, you may want to go to trial.  Your attorney will do an analysis with you to weigh your options and do a cost/benefit comparison.  Going to trial, especially on a serious charge, comes with great risk.  If you decide to go to trial you want to make sure you have a skilled trial lawyer representing you.
Q7.  If I have to do time on my case, can I do home detention or work release?
A:  These options are commonly referred to as community corrections.  If your charge may result in some executed time, then your attorney will have you evaluated by the supervising county’s community corrections to see if you qualify.  If the evaluation comes back that you are a good candidate for community corrections, then your attorney can negotiate that result for you as part of a plea or argue for it to the judge.
Q8.  The case against me is really weak, why doesn’t the prosecutor just dismiss the charges?
A:  Most prosecutor’s are reluctant to dismiss charges.  They are usually trying to prove themselves as a good and tough prosecutor.  If they dismiss a charge they may look bad to their peers and their supervisors.  Normally, if a case is so bad there is little chance of the state winning at trial, the prosecutor will offer a very lenient plea, and may ultimately dismiss your charges.  A skilled attorney can help you navigate this process.
Q9.  Attorneys are expensive, do you offer payment plans?
A:  In most instances we charge a flat fee for our representation in a criminal matter.  Attorney fees can be very expensive depending on the nature of your charges.  However, your very freedom may be at risk, so this is not the time to shop for the cheapest deal you can find.  In most instances our firm will offer payment plans that can be discussed at your free consultation.
Q10:  If I’m convicted can my arrest be sealed or expunged?
A:  Depending on the level and nature of the charge you may qualify for having your charge expunged.  For more detailed information click here to read our blog regarding expungements.
If you have been arrested, contact the experienced professionals at Banks & Brower to setup your free consultation to get answers to all your questions and to look into hiring an attorney for your case.