If you think that you are being investigated as a suspect in connection with a crime, the knee jerk reaction may be to go to the police believing they will listen sympathetically simply because you are forthright and cooperative. What typically happens instead is getting into more trouble than you bargained for because you may not understand the exact nature of the crimes the police are investigating you for or what kind of charges the police might be considering. It is always better to talk to a lawyer if you believe you are being investigated whether you committed a crime or not.
How do I know if I am under investigation by the police?
The first clue that you are under investigation may be that the police want to ‘talk to you’ when you have not been a victim of a crime. For police, it’s usually about making a bad case better by getting you to make incriminating statements to support of their suspicions. During a criminal investigation the police will look at the facts, interview witnesses and gather any evidence they can against suspects, which will include anything that you say to them in a ‘seemingly’ friendly conversation. If the police uncover enough evidence, they can ask a judge to sign an arrest warrant for a suspect.
What happens after I am arrested?
If you are arrested, a judge may either set bail or decline to set bail. Bail is an amount of money that the suspect must post to get out of jail while awaiting their hearing and largely depends on factors such as the severity of the crime the suspect is accused of, the strength of the prosecution’s case, whether the suspect has a criminal history and if the suspect is a flight risk. If you are able to post bail you can get out of jail with a promise to show up for all future court dates at which time bail will be refunded. However, if you don’t show up, you will forfeit the money and the court will Issue a warrant for your arrest.
What can I expect at an arraignment?
You will first appear before a judge at an arraignment where a judge will inform you of the criminal charges you face. You will be asked if you have an attorney, or if you wish to have the court appoint a lawyer, and you will be asked to plead to the charges. Bail may be adjusted and future court dates will be set.
What happens at the preliminary hearing?
At your preliminary hearing, a judge will hear the prosecution’s evidence supporting the charges against you to determine if the case will move forward to the next stage. At the hearing, your attorney can challenge the prosecution’s witnesses through cross examination or otherwise poke holes in the case against you. The more experienced your attorney, the better your odds of dismissal.
If your case is scheduled for trial after the preliminary hearing, it is sometimes possible for a criminal defendant and the prosecution to negotiate an agreement that resolves the criminal matter. A prosecutor may agree to reduce charges or recommend a more lenient sentence in exchange for the defendant’s guilty plea, often to a lesser offense. In the absence of a plea bargain, your case will continue to trial.
Criminal Trial and Sentencing
At the trial and sentencing stage, the prosecutor and your criminal defense attorney will give opening and closing statements, introduce evidence and question witnesses. If a defendant is found guilty, the court will impose a sentence that may include incarceration, fines, court costs, restitution and probation. For minor crimes, the sentence may be issued right away whereas sentencing for serious crimes are often set for a future date after the prosecution and defense weigh in.
The Job of the Criminal Defense Lawyer
At every stage of a criminal case, experienced and knowledgeable legal representation is crucial, particularly at the investigative stage to prevent charges from stacking up against you in the first place. Every stage thereafter, an attorney plays a key role in having your charges dismissed or reduced in an effort to avoid trial. In the event your case proceeds to trial, an experienced criminal defense attorney who is well versed in trial motions and trial tactics can prevail in the court or work out a reduction in sentencing with the prosecutor and judge.
Under Investigation for a Crime?
Contact an Experienced Waukesha Criminal Defense Lawyer For Help
Your outcome will be substantially improved when compared to someone who does not have the benefit of an excellent legal representation – the best advice is to seek help the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney if you believe you are under investigation or have been charged with a crime. Contact Waukesha criminal defense lawyer Andrew C Ladd for immediate assistance today at 262-542-3900. We provide a free consultation of your case to help you decide what strategies are available to you to fight the charges you face.