Simply put, if you’re charged with any serious misdemeanor or a felony, you must have an experienced criminal defense attorney.
The Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution provides that a criminal defendant has a right to an attorney in all criminal prosecutions. As a result, a defendant has a constitutional right to be represented by an attorney in a trial, as well as all critical stages of the criminal process.
What is a “Critical Stage” of the Criminal Process?
A suspect has the right to counsel in nearly every critical phase of the criminal process. The United States Supreme Court has held that these points in the criminal process are definitely critical stages:
- Any custodial interrogations before and after the commencement of prosecution;
- Any preliminary hearings prior to commencement of prosecution where there may be potential substantial prejudice to a defendant in the confrontation;
- In police lineups at or after the start of prosecution;
- During plea negotiations;
- When a guilty plea is entered;
- At an arraignment;
- During the pre-trial period between arraignment and the start of trial;
- During trial;
- During sentencing;
- In a direct appeal as of right;
- At probation revocation proceedings; and
- At some parole revocation proceedings.
Criminal suspects have the right to request an attorney and to remain silent when being questioned by the police.
An experienced criminal attorney will represent you if you’re charged with either a misdemeanor or a felony. A misdemeanor is a less serious charge that can result in less than one-year imprisonment or a fine. A felony is a more serious offense which may result in a prison sentence of more than a year or the death penalty in Florida if found guilty.
Misdemeanors include offenses such as disorderly conduct, vandalism, trespass, petty theft, prostitution, public intoxication, assault, reckless driving, and some drug offenses.
Felonies include murder, rape, kidnapping, arson, aggravated assault, aggravated battery, robbery, burglary, fraud, certain drug offenses, grand larceny, and grand theft.
How Does an Attorney Assist a Defendant in a Criminal Case?
Your defense attorney is vital in a criminal case, especially when the charges carry a possibility of incarceration. The exact duties of a criminal defense attorney will vary based on the type of the charges and the facts of the case, but some of the key responsibilities of any criminal defense attorney include:
- Advising the defendant of their rights;
- Educating what to anticipate at various stages of the criminal process;
- Making certain that the defendant’s constitutional rights aren’t violated through law enforcement procedures or in court proceedings; and
- Negotiating plea bargains with the prosecutor on the defendant’s behalf.
A criminal defense attorney also will investigate facts and evidence, cross-examine witnesses, object to improper questions and evidence, and present a strong defense on your behalf. A criminal defense attorney will work to prove your innocence or lessen your sentence.
You should look for an attorney with extensive knowledge and experience in Florida criminal law; strong negotiation skills; aggressiveness and perseverance; effective communication skills; and integrity. You’ll find all these qualities in the attorneys at McLean & Mitchell.
While there’s no certainty that the verdict or plea bargain will be the most favorable to you, you must hire a criminal defense attorney who understands how criminal courts work in Florida. The assistance of knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys from McLean & Mitchell will greatly increase the chances of reducing your sentence or winning your case.
When faced with serious fines or incarceration, you need to hire a criminal defense attorney to represent your interests and protect your rights throughout the process. McLean & Mitchell will fight for your rights.
Contact the criminal defense attorneys at McLean & Mitchell to discuss your case in a free consultation.
Our attorneys were former state prosecutors and know the inner workings of Florida’s criminal justice system. McLean & Mitchell are experienced, qualified criminal defense experts in Tampa, Florida. We fight for your rights.