My name is Danielle Diaz. One of the things I've learned in life, both inside and outside the courtroom, is that it is important to not see others as your enemy. Even though you may see the prosecutor as your enemy, he or she is just trying to do a job. It may be possible that you can get a prosecutor or the judge to be sympathetic and get him or her on your side. In order to accomplish this, you need to understand the law. I feel that most individuals do not understand the law, which is why I was motivated to create this blog.
Most people know that a criminal law defense attorney serves a vital role in the justice system. Until you are arrested and accused of a crime you did not commit, however, it can be difficult to visualize exactly what the attorney can do for you. To take a tour of not only the criminal process happening prior to a trial but how your criminal defense attorney works for you at each juncture, read on.
First Stop: The arraignment – After an arrest, defendants are brought before a judge. In some places, bail is decided at a separate bail hearing and in some places several events take place during the arraignment including the issue of bail. An arraignment presents the accused with the opportunity to enter a plea. If you have an attorney by your side during this meeting, you will likely understand the importance of pleading "not guilty, your honor". A guilty plea is much more difficult to backpedal from but your attorney can work with a not guilty plea. If your bail is too high or you are not offered bail, your attorney will argue on your behalf to have it lowered or provided.
Next Stop: The plea bargain opportunity – Almost all criminal cases "plead out". This means accepting a deal from the prosecutor that can lessen the charges or counts against you and/or the sentence. It also means pleading "guilty" and giving up your Constitutional right to a trial by a jury of your peers. The decision to accept a plea bargain should only be made with an attorney to advise you. You need to understand what the potential outcome of a trial might entail as well as what the state has in evidence against you
Next Stop: Getting Ready for Trial – Seeking out and sharing evidence of the case against you will proceed if you don't accept a deal. Discovery can mean hiring investigators to seek out witnesses and performing tests on the available evidence provided by the state. Your attorney will be evaluating the state's evidence and preparing a case based on refuting that information.
All of the above takes place before the judge has even pounded the gavel on your case. Cases can be won and lost in the important period of time after an arrest and before a trial begins. Imagine how important a good criminal defense attorney can be for your case during this time and later on during the trial.