If you were recently arrested and are now facing criminal charges in La Vergne, Tennessee you are undoubtedly worried about your situation and the outcome of your case. The ramifications of a conviction could be far-reaching and long-lasting. Along with being concerned about the actual outcome of the case, you may also have a number of general and specific questions about the criminal justice system and your case. For specific questions about your case you should consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer; however, for more general questions, a La Vergne criminal lawyer has provided answer to five of the most commonly asked questions.
- Do I really need to hire an attorney? While there is no legal requirement that you do so, it is in your best interest to be represented by an experienced criminal defense attorney. Even if the charges against you appear to be fairly minor, there are still several reasons why you should retain the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you. First, the charges against you may be more serious than you realize and/or may lead to more serious charges. Second, there may be non-judicial penalties for a conviction of which you are unaware. For example, you might face professional discipline, deportation, or disqualification for future employment if you are convicted. Finally, there may be a defense in your case that would prevent you from being convicted of which you are unaware.
- What happens next? You will have a bond set that, if paid, will facilitate your release for the duration of your case. If the bond is too high, a criminal defense attorney may be able to get it lowered. You will have an initial hearing at which the judge will inform you of the charges against you and enter a preliminary plea of not guilty on your behalf. After that, it will depend on the path your case takes – plea agreement or trial. Your attorney will investigate the case and review the State’s evidence against you after which the two of you will sit down and decide whether it is best to consider a plea agreement or proceed to trial.
- Should I accept a plea agreement? This one is really something that should only be answered after consulting with an attorney; however, there are some general guidelines. First, in order to accept a guilty plea agreement, you have to be prepared to admit you are guilty. Second, the evidence against you should be strong enough that your odds of winning at a trial are low. Finally, the terms of the plea agreement should be favorable, meaning better than what you would likely receive if sentenced after a guilty verdict at trial.
- How long will my case take? It is impossible to provide a universal answer to this question; however, it is possible to discuss the factors that will impact how long your case takes. The severity of the charges against you, for example, will typically impact the time it takes to resolve the case with felony cases usually taking longer to resolve than misdemeanors. The number one factor, however, is usually the manner in which your case is resolved – plea agreement or trial. If you decide to take your case to trial it will take longer to get a trial date set than a guilty plea hearing, as a general rule. This is especially true if you wish a trial by jury. In addition, it takes longer to prepare for trial than to negotiate a guilty plea.
- How much will a La Vergne criminal lawyer charge me? Every attorney sets his/her own fees for criminal cases. Therefore, it is impossible to provide a general answer to this question; however, once again, it is possible to mention the factors that will likely determine your fee. The level of offense for which you have been charged, your own criminal history (or lack thereof), the presence or absence of a victim in the case, and the manner in which you plan to resolve the case will all help determine the fee you are charged by a criminal defense attorney.
If you have been charged with a criminal offense in the State of Tennessee, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced La Vergne criminal lawyer at Bennett, Michael & Hornsby. Contact the team today by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your appointment.
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