What are my rights if I am accused of a crime?
If you are accused of a crime, you have several rights protected under the U.S. Constitution. First and foremost, you have the right to remain silent under the Fifth Amendment to avoid self-incrimination. You also have the right to an attorney under the Sixth Amendment. If you cannot afford one, a public defender will be appointed for you, but it is generally recommended by prosecutors and the court to hire a criminal defense attorney if possible. Additionally, you have the right to a fair and speedy trial by an impartial jury, as well as the right to confront witnesses against you and to present your own witnesses in your defense. Lastly, under the Eighth Amendment, you are protected from excessive bail and cruel or unusual punishment. It is important to remember that these rights apply regardless of your guilt or innocence, and it is always advisable to consult with an attorney if you are accused of a criminal offense.
What should I do if I am questioned by the police?
If you are questioned by the police, it's essential to remember your important rights. You have the right to remain silent and you don't have to answer any questions beyond providing your basic identifying information. If the police ask you anything else, you can politely decline to answer until you've consulted with an attorney. You also have the right to request an attorney at any time. Even if you believe you have nothing to hide, it's generally in your best interest to have legal counsel present during any questioning to ensure your rights are protected.
What should I do if I am arrested?
If you are arrested, it's important to remain calm and cooperative. Do not resist arrest as this can lead to additional charges. You have the right to remain silent and you should exercise this right to avoid self-incrimination. Ask for an attorney before answering any questions from law enforcement. Avoid discussing your case with anyone except your lawyer. Remember, anything you say can be used against you in court. It's also crucial to contact a trusted friend or family member who can inform others about your arrest and help arrange for legal representation if needed.
What rights do you have following an arrest?
Immediately after being arrested for any type of offense, you have the right to remain silent. You are not required to give a statement to police officers or any other individuals on scene, despite what they may try to tell you. Keeping quiet is absolutely essential to the success of your case, as anything you say can and will be used against you. Be wary of deceptive or aggressive questioning tactics used by law enforcement to attempt to get you to claim guilt. Call an attorney as soon as possible after your arrest. They can speak on your behalf and help to make sure you do not say anything that could be accidentally incriminating.
When should I hire a criminal defense lawyer?
You should consider hiring a criminal defense lawyer as soon as you learn you're under investigation or immediately after being arrested. Prompt legal representation can make a significant difference in your case, whether you are accused of a misdemeanor, felony, or federal crime. A lawyer can guide you during police questioning, ensuring your rights are protected and helping you avoid self-incrimination. They can also start gathering evidence, identifying potential witnesses, and developing a defense strategy early on. Even if formal charges haven't been filed yet, a lawyer can attempt to have charges reduced or even dismissed.
What will it cost to hire an attorney?
The cost can vary, depending on the type of charges you are facing as well as the time required to fully investigate and prepare your case. At our Cleveland criminal defense firm, we seek to provide comprehensive and relentless representation at a reasonable rate. Offering a free initial case evaluation, it will cost you nothing to inquire with us about your situation. We are ready to speak with you right away – available 24/7.
How do I choose the right criminal defense lawyer for my case?
Choosing the right criminal defense lawyer requires careful consideration. Start by looking for a lawyer who has worked on your specific type of case before and has a successful track record in handling similar cases. Check their reputation in the legal community and read reviews from past clients to gauge their performance. Schedule a consultation to discuss your case and see if you feel comfortable with their approach and communication style. Ask about their fees and make sure they are transparent about costs. It's also important to consider their availability — you want a lawyer who will be responsive and dedicated to your case.
Can HMW represent me if I am charged with a federal crime?
Our law firm is equipped to protect your rights in a variety of legal cases, including those involving federal crimes. From drug crimes to construction fraud to embezzlement, you can trust us to stand up for you when other law firms might not have the experience, resources, or time to do it.
How long does the criminal defense process typically take?
The duration of the criminal defense process can vary greatly depending on the complexity of the case, jurisdiction, and a variety of other factors. For less complex cases, the process might take only a few weeks or months because you have the right to a speedy trial. However, for more serious or complex cases, it can easily take a year or more. This timeline can include various stages such as arrest, bail hearings, arraignment, pretrial motions, plea negotiations, trial, and sentencing. Each stage can be time-consuming and there may be delays due to court scheduling, ongoing investigations, or legal maneuvering. It's important to remember that while the process may seem slow, each phase is critical to ensuring a fair trial and providing your defense attorney with the opportunity to build the strongest possible case.
Will I have to go to trial, or can my lawyer negotiate a plea bargain?
Whether you must go to trial or can negotiate a plea bargain largely depends on the specifics of your case and the strategy of your criminal defense lawyer. Lawyers can sometimes negotiate plea bargains with the prosecution, which can result in reduced charges or lesser sentences in exchange for a guilty plea. This can be beneficial in cases where the evidence against you is strong, as it guarantees a certain outcome and avoids the risk and uncertainty of a trial. However, if your lawyer believes that they can effectively challenge the evidence or that you have a strong chance of being acquitted, they may advise going to trial. The decision ultimately lies with you after discussing all options with your lawyer.
Will you have to spend any time in jail?
The answer to this question varies upon a number of circumstances. Certain criminal offenses carry different penalties; however, more serious charges may include jail or prison time as a potential consequence. In some cases, you may be put on a period of probation rather than being incarcerated. With the appropriate Cleveland criminal defense attorney, your rights and freedoms may be protected, keeping you from spending any time in jail at all. Allow our team to meet with you and discuss the specifics of your charges; we may even be able to get your charges dismissed entirely, allowing you to walk away without any serious penalties.
Why work with HMW Law?
Our firm is one of the most reputable criminal and OVI law firms in the entire state of Ohio. With 75+ years of combined legal experience and a history of success obtaining positive verdicts, there is no criminal case too complex for our team to handle. Superb rated on Avvo, listed in the nation’s top 1% by the National Association of Distinguished Counsel, and named as Top 100 Trial Lawyers by The National Trial Lawyers Association, our accolades speak for themselves. We stop at nothing to protect our clients’ rights and freedoms.