What Do I Do After Being Accused of a Crime?

When you’ve been accused of a crime, it’s easy to be overwhelmed. The first thing you’ll have to do is take a deep breath, calm down, and approach the situation rationally. You’ll need to prepare yourself for what’s to come, so it’s a good idea to become familiar with the proceedings of the court and contact an attorney to help with your case.

The way the system is set up, it’s nearly impossible for persons with no experience to build a strong defense for themselves; now is definitely not the time to go it alone. If you are looking for a Utah attorney to handle your domestic violence case or if you are accused of violating a protective order, Michael K. Jones is the attorney you want to defend you. He will use his experience and resources to provide you with a well-rounded, solid leverage-based defense.

It’s difficult to overstate the criminal defense attorney‘s role as this process unfolds. Some people will contact a defense attorney before they are even charged with a crime because they have reason to believe that they will soon be charged. It’s the smart thing to do — the sooner that we can begin advising you, negotiating on your behalf, and putting together your best defense – the chances for a better outcome in your case increase dramatically.

A skilled criminal defense attorney may persuade the law enforcement officer to have a case dropped before it is reviewed by the prosecutor. This often happens when, for example, the attorney can show that the arresting officer did not have probable cause before making an arrest.

A defense attorney can also negotiate with the prosecutor to drop or reduce the charges against you. This process of plea bargaining often leads to a better outcome where the defendant has committed the crime(s). You want your defense attorney to be a good negotiator and have a good rapport with the prosecutor’s office

It’s also a good idea to become familiar with the series of court appearances you’ll be making, so you can know what to expect at each hearing. These steps may vary slightly, but generally, they will go as follows:

Initial court appearance — In Justice Court, the Judge will inform you of the charges against, the maximum penalty for the crime of which you’ve been accused, and your rights to an attorney. The process is different in the District Court. Your first appearance is usually a roll call hearing. The Judge may also review your bail and other issues, such as a No Contact Order, which prohibits the accused from contacting the alleged victim(s).

Entering a plea — in misdemeanor cases, the accused is usually asked to enter a plea during the initial court appearance. For felony cases, a preliminary hearing date will be set.

Preliminary hearing — During this hearing, it is the burden of the prosecuting attorney for the State or City to prove to the Court there is probable cause that you have committed each crime you have been accused of. The Court will then set the case for what could be numerous hearings or set your case for trial.

Arraignment — this is the first time the accused will stand before a Judge regarding the formal charges. The defendant is formally charged and enters a plea of not guilty or guilty as to each count filed against him or her.

Trial — during this proceeding the defendant sits before a Judge or jury and the prosecution and defense present their cases. The judge or jury will determine whether the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt as to each count.

Sentencing —this is the hearing where the court decides on the appropriate penalties for crimes of which the defendant has been convicted. This is a very important part of the proceedings and it should not be overlooked!  It’s imperative that your attorney reviews the sentencing issues with you. Your criminal history, recommended sentencing guidelines, and fines. Your attorney should also put together a strong plan to present to the Judge in an effort to get you the best possible outcome. Obtaining letters from family members, friends, employers, etc. can influence the outcome of your sentencing. Your Utah attorney should understand the numerous domestic violence programs, anger management programs and drug treatment programs available to a defendant. Your domestic violence attorney can present several options to the Court which can help you with the sentencing process and the severity of the sentence the Judge imposes upon you. Your judge is looking for answers and options when it comes to sentencing.

Appeal — Once convicted and sentenced, a defendant may request an appeal of his or her convictions through the appellate process.

A skilled attorney will carefully analyze the strengths and weaknesses in a defendant’s case.

If you have been charged with domestic violence crime(s), violating a protective order, drug-related crimes or DUI you will want Michael K. Jones to use his experience and resources to provide you with a well-rounded, solid leverage-based defense.

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