How much will it cost to defend myself against a criminal charge?
Many factors affect what it will cost to defend against a criminal charge. The lawyer's experience and the complexities of your particular case, among other things, affect the cost of defending a criminal case. We offer a free initial consultation, either by phone or in person, and can quote you a fee after a brief review of the fact of your case without any obligation on your part.
What should I expect when I go to court?
Most cases start in General Sessions Court. In General Sessions Court, misdemeanors can be negotiated and settled, and the judge, without a jury, can preside over a trial where guilt will have to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Felonies charges must be resolved or tried in the Criminal Court side of Circuit Court. The General Sessions judge can preside over a preliminary hearing on a felony case to determine if there is probable cause to send the case to Criminal Court. Often, felony charges can be negotiated by your attorney and reduced to misdemeanors, allowing them to be settled in General Sessions. It is important to discuss all these possibilities with your lawyer before you go to court. We make every effort to make sure you understand the spectrum of possible outcomes before we go to court.
What is the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor offense?
A felony is any crime where the punishment exceeds 1 year of incarceration and a misdemeanor is a crime where the punishment is less than a year. Just because you have been charged with a felony does not mean the charge will remain a felony. Our lawyers are skilled in negotiating cases. We will discuss your case in detail prior to going to court with you.
If I am found guilty of a crime, will I have to go to jail?
That depends primarily on whether you have prior criminal convictions and whether the crime you are convicted of has a minimum sentence of incarceration. DUI's are a good example. Even if you have never before been convicted of a crime, the DUI law still requires a minimum period of incarceration. For a first offense DUI the minimum is 2 days in jail. The remainder may be served on probation. For a second offense DUI the minimum is 45 days in jail. It continues to increase with each conviction. Since the consequences of a DUI conviction are severe it is important that you choose a lawyer who will have the knowledge and the time to properly handle your case.
Does my case automatically go to trial?
No. Most cases can be negotiated and settled. Very few cases actually go to trial. We will make the decision concerning how your case should be resolved together. We will give you the best advice we can, under the circumstances, but you will always be in control of the final decision.
What can I do to prepare for my first visit with my lawyer?
Make notes of significant information concerning your case so that you do not forget to relay this information to us. Write down your questions and concerns so that the time we spend preparing is used wisely. Bring any documents in your possession which relate to your case. Be prepared to speak openly and honestly about the facts of your case. The more accurate information we have prior to going to court, the better we will be able to represent you.
How should I dress for court?
Make sure your attire is appropriate. Business casual or Sunday dress is the general rule. Shorts, tank tops, revealing clothing, and tee shirts with printed messages are not good choices. Tattoos should be covered with clothing or make-up, if possible. First impressions really do count!