Being “tough on crime” has long been a successful political strategy. As a result, being charged with a crime and facing charges can be a scary position to face. Penalties keep getting more severe, aggressive prosecutors with seemingly unlimited budgets adamantly pursue your conviction, and juries are predisposed to wanting to see someone, anyone, pay for the crimes committed. Being the defendant in a criminal trial can feel like being one person up against a leviathan. “Innocent until proven guilty” begins to feel like a meaningless platitude in a situation with such a tremendous power disparity. If you’re facing criminal charges, you need something to help bring the balance a little more in your favor. That’s something a skilled, creative criminal defense lawyer can do.
A criminal defense lawyer is there to make sure that you are afforded every available right in your defense. They are also there to put forth a defense that reveals the weaknesses and inconclusiveness of the prosecution’s case. The lawyer acts as a representative of their client before the court and throughout the legal process. Additionally, a good criminal defense lawyer is open and honest with their client, ensuring that they are regularly aware of where things stand and what reasonable expectations there are for a trial.
Your criminal defense lawyer has a number of responsibilities, chief among them being the preparation of a defense for your case. This can involve a number of things, probably starting with talking with you and conducting an investigation of the case. Other important measures they may take in investigating your case include:
While investigating the case, your lawyer can begin to craft a defense. Depending upon the case, that can take many different forms. Primarily, though, your lawyer will need to attempt to identify and foresee what the prosecution may attempt to claim. They must also be prepared to find any possible faults or weaknesses in their case. Your lawyer does not need to prove your innocence. Rather, they must cast doubt on the case put forth by the prosecution. As long as they can establish a reasonable doubt in the minds of the jury, then that jury is instructed not to convict you.
A criminal defense lawyer can help represent you from before charges are even brought, all the way through sentencing and even appeals. Even if you are being investigated and haven’t yet been charged, a lawyer can help protect you from unfair questioning and police tactics. At Jeff Marshall Law, we are dedicated to protecting our clients and putting forth the firmest defense we can.
The sentencing for a criminal conviction can depend on a variety of factors. These include whether it is a first offense, the severity of the harm that was done, and the likelihood of repeat offending in the judges’ estimation. There are times when the sentence may include a couple of different kinds of punishment, such as a fine and jail time. Importantly, a criminal conviction also means a criminal record, which will appear on background checks. That can have a range of effects that continue beyond the legal system. Some of the consequences, both legal and extralegal, of a criminal conviction include:
For many crimes, there is a set number of years within which someone must be charged. Even if enough evidence is found to bring charges after the statute of limitations, criminal charges cannot be brought, and whoever committed the crime is, in effect, a free person. However, the statute may be suspended in cases where a suspect leaves the state and is considered a fugitive or goes into hiding. The idea behind the statute of limitations is that the evidence and eyewitness accounts may be less reliable as more time passes since the crime happened. There are, though, a few crimes in Florida for which there is no statute of limitations. They are:
Getting arrested can be a shocking and even frightening occurrence. Unfortunately, you would like to think that a criminal case would stand on its own merits. Far too often, though, it is the moments surrounding an arrest that can have a tremendous impact on a criminal case. How you react in those moments can help or hinder your case because the police are often looking for anything that can be used to help the prosecution’s case. The slightest slip-up will be something they will try to use to their advantage. With that in mind, there are 3 important steps to remember if you’re arrested in Tampa, FL:
It’s important to recognize the process of determining guilt in criminal trials. The burden of proof lies with the prosecution. They must be able to demonstrate guilt to the jury, such that the jury believes beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty. The prosecution will often attempt to first show that the defendant had the means, motive, and opportunity to commit the crime.
Therefore, the prosecution will try to demonstrate that you had the capability, or means, to commit the crime. They will attempt to establish that you had a reason for committing the crime. Although motive isn’t necessarily an element of a crime, if the prosecution can establish a motive, a jury is more likely to convict. In terms of opportunity, the prosecution will try to demonstrate the circumstances were such that the defendant could have committed a crime. However, even if all three of those things are established, there must still be evidence presented that shows that the defendant committed the crime.
While these factors are used as tools of the prosecution, they are also potential points for creating reasonable doubt. A criminal defense lawyer can target one or all of these elements to try and sow some level of doubt in the jury’s minds. They may try to show why the defendant couldn’t have been capable of committing the crime. Another tactic could be to explain why the defendant had no reason to commit the crime. Last, they can attempt to convince the jury that there really was no opportunity or that the evidence for the crime is insufficient.
There are a few strategies for criminal defense that are more commonly used, though some or all may not necessarily be applicable in every case. Occasionally, a criminal defense lawyer may need to consider a less familiar defense or even a novel approach. That’s why creativity can be a valuable trait for a lawyer to have. There are, essentially, two general categories of strategies. Generally, strategies that argue for innocence are more likely to be successful, though they are not always possible. In those cases, a strategy may have to allow for the admission of having committed the illegal act while still having a reason for why the defendant isn’t responsible. Some of the possible strategies for criminal defense include:
The criminal process in Florida follows a consistent set of procedures. Each of these steps can be critical to understand, and a lawyer can be a valuable asset to advocate for you at each stage. The stages of a Florida criminal case are:
There are three ways you can mount a defense in a criminal case:
It’s important to remember that the stakes in a criminal trial are significant. The results of criminal charges can have a profound effect on someone’s life. It’s not the kind of issue where you should be looking for a bargain option. You need the strongest defense that you can put forth. With that in mind, you’ll want to weigh these three options.
To represent yourself would not be a very wise idea. A strong defense requires understanding every legal tool and option that’s available to you. Getting that kind of an understanding of the legal tools available takes years of study. It’s also important to recognize the element of emotional investment that exists when someone represents themselves. Conducting an impactful trial defense requires a clear head and adaptiveness to the direction the trial is taking. It can be difficult to do that with so much personally riding on the outcome. Consider the fact that even many lawyers, if they find themselves charged with criminal activity, don’t represent themselves. It’s simply a better option to have someone else represent you.
Typically, the court will only appoint a lawyer if you can’t afford one. However, even if you qualify by the court’s assessment for a court-appointed attorney, you may really want to consider finding some way to pay for your own. It can sometimes make all the difference for your case. A court-appointed attorney is going to lack the same investment that a privately hired attorney can have. A court-appointed attorney may also be juggling more cases than one attorney should at once. Lastly, there’s the old phrase, “You get what you pay for,” and that tends to hold true with attorneys as well. Free may not be the bargain that you think it is.
When you hire your own criminal defense lawyer, you are able to pick the lawyer that you want to defend you. One of the most important elements of your defense is finding someone you can trust. You want an attorney who you know is going to put forth their utmost effort to defend you. When you select an attorney, you can find someone who you truly believe can thoroughly and exhaustively work in your defense. That’s the type of criminal defense that you can expect from Jeff Marshall Law. We are honest with our clients and tenacious in their defense. You can expect us to seek every avenue of defense in representing you.
When you are deciding on a criminal defense lawyer, there are a few characteristics that you should seek. To begin with, you need to find someone you trust. A criminal trial can be a tremendous pivot point in a person’s life. It’s important that, with so much on the line, you have someone who you believe can represent you with the same passion that you would represent yourself with.
Another characteristic you will want in a criminal defense attorney is attention to detail. When you watch a courtroom drama, it makes it look as if the trials hinge on a single piece of evidence or a single bit of witness testimony being exposed as flawed. The reality, though, is that it’s often a bunch of little things that add up to a strong defense. These compounding weaknesses in the prosecution’s case are often exposed through fine attention to detail. You need a lawyer who is able to quickly recognize the flaws in the prosecution’s case and adapt your defense to attack those flaws.
Finally, you’ll want to find an attorney who’s creative. There are some standard defensive strategies that lawyers can turn to when appropriate. However, there are also times when an attorney needs to be creative because a particular situation doesn’t quite fit the standard defensive strategies. You will want a lawyer who can think unconventionally as they search for the right approach to your defense.
If you’re facing criminal charges, then the potential consequences can make life much harder moving forward. Not just the possibility of fines, jail time, or other consequences that may lie ahead. A criminal record can show up on background checks and make things like applying for jobs, trying to enroll in college classes, or getting certain licenses tremendously difficult, if not impossible. You can’t afford to take that risk alone. Nor can you afford to settle for a court-appointed lawyer. You want someone who’s invested in your case and ready to fight aggressively for you.
Jeff Marshall Law can give your case the defense you deserve. We can give you an honest assessment of your case, and if a plea bargain seems like your preferred option, we can negotiate hard for a favorable deal. If you’re ready to take your case to trial, we can defend your rights and put forward a strategic, adaptive defense. Our goal is to find the most favorable outcome we can for you. If you need help defending your case, contact us today.