Facing a criminal charge in Huntsville is going to be one of the most complex times in your life. If the charge turns into a conviction – even if the offense is a misdemeanor – it can change your life forever. Not only are there serious repercussions of a conviction like a fine and jail time, the collateral consequences of having a blemish on your criminal background can be an obstacle that keeps you from doing what you want to in life.
Hiring a criminal defense lawyer to defend against the charge and protect your interests can be the best investment you can make in your future. Robin Wolfe can help.
Common Criminal Charges in Huntsville
Some criminal offenses are more common than others, while others tend to be more severe. All of them, though, can change the course of your life and require the legal representation of a skilled criminal defense lawyer.
Perhaps the most common criminal offense that is committed in the Huntsville area is drug possession. While the amount and type of controlled substance that is found will make a big difference on the severity of your case, even a misdemeanor offense for the possession of marijuana can still create a criminal history that makes life difficult. Subsequent offenses come with higher penalties.
Murder and Manslaughter
The most serious criminal offense that you can face in Huntsville is for murder, which involves the unlawful and intentional killing of another person. In Alabama, if not defended properly, murder charges can lead to the death penalty. Even a partially-successful defense against an allegation of murder can reduce the charge down to one for manslaughter, which is done in the heat of passion or unintentionally and does not come with as much jail time.
Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
Another common offense in Huntsville is for driving under the influence (DUI). Like drug possession, repeat offenses come with graduated penalties. In addition to steep fines and the potential for jail time, DUIs also lead to a license suspension that can make it difficult to hold a job.
Theft Crimes and Robbery
Theft is also a common offense in Huntsville and involves taking someone else's property without their permission and with the intent to deprive them of it. There are numerous forms that theft can take, from embezzlement to extortion, and the severity of the offense depends on the amount obtained.
Robbery is an instance of theft that also involved the use of force. Penalties increase if a deadly weapon was used or if someone was seriously hurt.
While many states have distinct offenses for assault and battery, in Huntsville, there is only assault. Assault in Alabama involves intentionally trying to hurt someone else and actually causing them harm. While many assaults are misdemeanors, if they cause a serious physical injury to the alleged victim, then they can become felony-level offenses.
How a Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help
Throughout the criminal justice process, having a criminal defense lawyer at your side can be a huge benefit. From invoking your rights after the arrest and during an interrogation to filing motions to keep out unreliable evidence to defending you during trial to advocating on your behalf in sentencing and filing an appeal, a criminal defense lawyer can be your most devoted ally during this time of need.
Protecting Your Rights During the Investigation
Calling a lawyer as soon as you have been arrested is often a critical part of a successful defense. Many people think that they can talk to the police without the help of a lawyer. Most of them figure that they are innocent and that talking to a detective will only prove their innocence.
This is not a good idea. Police use advanced interrogation techniques that are meant to confuse people and make them admit to crimes – even ones that they did not commit. Invoking your Constitutional right to a lawyer at this stage in the investigation can keep you out of trouble and force police to find real evidence that you committed a crime.
Defending You Before the Trial
If you get charged with a crime, the lead-up to the trial will be an important part of your case. Your defense lawyer will look for evidence of your innocence and weaknesses in the prosecutor's case and will bring experience into a plea deal discussion that helps you make an informed decision about your future. This is also the time that a defense lawyer will file motions to exclude potentially damning evidence that was illegally obtained in violation of your rights, or that is inherently unreliable.
Advocating on Your Behalf During Trial
Defense lawyers are professionals in the courtroom setting. They know how to craft and deliver effective defense strategies and arguments to the jury, keep the prosecutor in line, highlight your innocence, and raise reasonable doubts about the case against you.
Continued Advocacy During Sentencing
Even in the most difficult cases where the jury's verdict goes against a defendant, a criminal defense lawyer can still be a huge asset to have during the sentencing portion of the trial. Skilled advocacy at this juncture can drastically reduce the penalties that you can face for the conviction.
Appealing a Conviction
Some cases rely on unsettled aspects of the law that warrant another look, should the trial court find against you. Appealing these cases to a higher court is important for both the defendant and the justice system: ironing out inconsistencies in the law protects your rights, as well as the rights of future defendants.
In other cases, mistakes can be made during the trial or the earlier stages of your trip through the justice system. When the trial court makes them or does not catch them, your rights and your future depend on successfully calling an appellate court to correct the problem.
Robin Wolfe: Huntsville's Criminal Defense Lawyer
Robin Wolfe is a criminal defense lawyer serving the accused in Huntsville, Alabama. Contact her online or call her law office if you have been arrested or charged with a crime.