Memphis Criminal Defense Attorneyhamilton-law-firm-memphis-criminal-defense

When you have been charged with a crime, you need solid legal representation. The criminal justice system can get complicated, and when you don’t know what to expect, the process can be very intimidating. Whether this is your first charge, or you have been criminally charged in the past, it’s important to find an attorney in your area who provides criminal defense. The earlier you find an attorney to represent you with your criminal charges, the more options your attorney will have to defend your case every step of the way.

When You’re Arrested While Committing the Crime

If the police are sent to the scene of the crime as you are committing it, this means the law enforcement is responding while in progress. If an officer responds to the crime you are involved in, you may be arrested and booked. You can be brought to the county jail or to police station in order to be booked.

Understanding Mental State at the Time of the Crime

The term is mens rea, and it is a concept which is used to determine the intention of the person charged with a crime. In Latin, mens rea means “guilty mind” and in some criminal charges it will matter what the person charged with the crime was thinking at the time. Some cases don’t consider mens rea, or what the person charged with the crime was thinking at the time. In certain crimes, it doesn’t matter what the criminal was thinking or what they intended. If an act is covered under strict liability laws, the crime will be punished regardless of the intent of the criminal accused.

When It’s Time to Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer

It’s never too early to hire a criminal defense lawyer when you are being charged with committing a crime. A criminal defense attorney is going to be able to help you with your case no matter what type of crime you’ve been arrested for. Your attorney will be able to explain the charges against you, and talk with you about the incident to build you a strong defense. In the beginning stages of your case, your attorney may be able to negotiate a plea bargain for you. If you don’t want to make a deal, then your attorney can begin preparing your case for trial. In addition, a solid criminal defense will involve bringing motions forward regarding pretrial issues that will strengthen your overall case.

When Your Criminal Charges are Filed

When you are arrested, this does not automatically mean that you will have a case filed in court. The prosecutor assigned to your case will review the police report and determine whether official criminal charges should be filed against you. The prosecutor may also go in front of a grand jury for an indictment to determine what criminal charges you should be held responsible for. Once this is done, A preliminary hearing will may occur and for a judge will to determine if the case has enough proof in order to move forward.

Reviewing Your Arrest Report

Your arrest report is written by the police who responded to your arrest, and it will outline why you were arrested and what occurred during your arrest. The report will include any witnesses, and any other individuals that may have been involved. This report is sent on to the prosecutor, who will review the report and might:

  • Determine there are no criminal charges to file and not pursue the matter any further.
  • Go to the trial court and file an official complaint outlining the charges.
  • Present the evidence and arrest report to a grand jury to ask if any charges should be filed.

When you hire a criminal defense attorney at this stage, they may be able to negotiate with the prosecutor for lesser charges to be filed against you. Prosecutors don’t have a lot of time to file charges. In general, the prosecutor has to decide whether to file criminal charges or drop the matter within three days.

Why a Prosecutor Might Decide to Push Your Case Forward

A prosecutor doesn’t have to pursue charges against you, or at least has a wide area of discretion when considering cases. A prosecutor will make a determination based on a portion of the following:

  • The message that pursuing or not pursuing charges against you will send to the general public. If you commit a crime that sparks the attention and anger of the community, the prosecutor may move your case forward even if there is questionable evidence against you.
  • Most prosecution offices have policies about the importance of different types of crimes they prosecute, and your case may be one that is deemed unimportant to move forward.
  • How the prosecutor feels justice will be served on the case is important. If they believe strongly that you need to face the charges in front of you, they may decide to prosecute your case.

If Your Case is Brought to a Grand Jury

When a grand jury is convened, their only role in your case is to decide whether you should be brought forth on charges and what those charges may be. The grand jury will look over any evidence in your case, and decide whether there is enough evidence to support going forward with criminal charges. A grand jury is generally larger than a typical twelve person jury, sometimes as many as 23 people. A grand jury meets in private, and only requires a majority to move forward or dismiss the charges.  Defense attorneys are not allowed to attend grand jury meetings, only prosecutors.

Our Criminal Defense Services

Daniel Hamilton has been handling criminal cases in Memphis for nearly 7 years and has a great track record with client cases. Some of the areas we handle are:

When You’ve Been Charged with a Crime

You are entitled to a preliminary hearing for both misdemeanor and felony charges. At this hearing, you will want to have a criminal defense attorney with you. The prosecution has to show that there is evidence against you that is enough to bring you to trial.

If you have been arrested and you don’t know what to do, it’s time to call for help. A criminal defense attorney will help you understand the charges against you and provide you with the assistance you need to defend your case. The earlier you call for help with your criminal case, the easier it will be for your attorney to defend your case.