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FAQ-Criminal Defense

Are you under investigation?

You have the right to remain silent – USE IT!

You should refuse to answer any questions when questioned by law enforcement officials in any potential criminal matter. It is natural to believe that you can convince someone of your innocence or talk yourself out of the situation. In most cases, however, speaking directly with police will significantly impair your ability to present the best possible defense. In short, do not speak to anyone about criminal allegations for which you could be a target.

Have you been arrested?

If you are arrested, remember that you have the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. Everything you say WILL be used against you. Police will often promise better or special treatment if you will cooperate and speak freely. But you must understand: police have no legal authority to make agreements that bind prosecutors. Therefore, they cannot make things better for you after charges are filed. An investigator may also suggest that an innocent person has nothing to hide and therefore does not need a lawyer. Don’t fall for that one, either. You have the right to remain silent—innocent or guilty. Again, do not speak to law enforcement authorities without a criminal defense lawyer present.

After an arrest has been made, the defendant will be formally booked. This is also referred to as processing and will involve the law enforcement officers writing down and recording the information for the defendant. This can include taking their picture, recording their fingerprint, doing a formal search and confiscating any personal property. At this time, the defendant will move forward with the arrest process. The first appearance is known as the arraignment; this is where the defendant will be formally read all of the charges being held against them. This is also where bail will be determined. Bail is, essentially, money that is paid as a promise that the defendant will return for any future hearings. In some cases, the defendant will be released on their own recognizance. In others, a bail will be posted. If they can’t afford to pay, they will either stay in jail or work with a bail bonds company to post it.

After the arraignment, the next step in the criminal process will typically be plea bargaining. In many cases, the defense lawyer and the prosecutor will be able to enter into negotiations to resolve the case without moving further. This can be achieved, for example, by the defendant agreeing to plead guilty and avoid costly criminal litigation in lieu for reduced charges or penalties. If no plea bargain is struck, however, the process will enter into the next stage — the trial. This is the part that is most commonly known and involves both parties presenting their evidence and arguments. This can be in front of a jury of the defendant’s peers or simply a judge, depending on the circumstances. It is the burden of the prosecution at this time to provide evidence that proves beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty.

We understand the confusion that can stem from an arrest and the uncertainty that you may face about what you should do next. We therefore encourage you to make your first step a phone call to the Law Office of Arthur J. White III, P.C. It can be daunting to face an arrest or a criminal charge and we am here to help alleviate that stress as best as we can. While we cannot guarantee results, we can promise that should you work with the Law Office of Arthur J. White III, P.C., we will work hard for you. We will do everything that we reasonably can to protect your rights should we both agree to enter into an attorney-client relationship