If you are facing charges for any type of criminal offense, it is important that you have the best legal defense representation available. A conviction on any criminal charge can impact your future in a number of negative ways. Employment, educational opportunities, and many other aspects of your life may suffer as the result of a conviction for even a seemingly minor offense.
At the law firm of Deputy & Mizell, L.L.C., our criminal defense lawyers have represented clients in a wide variety of misdemeanor and felony offenses. In every case, our goal is to avoid a conviction above all else. When you hire our firm, you can rely on us to do everything in our power to protect your rights and preserve your good name.
How A Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help
Each state deems its own definitions of what a crime is and what the punishments for them are, making criminal law extremely complex. The average person will not have an understanding of criminal law or the criminal justice process. That is why it is critical for those charged with committing a crime to obtain professional representation during criminal proceedings. Contact Deputy & Mizell for a free consultation.
Our criminal defense attorneys will analyze your case and decide which avenue to take. In some cases, we have convinced the court to completely drop charges against our clients based on insufficient evidence or improper procedure. For example, we may be able to show that a police officer did not have a compelling reason to believe you may have committed a crime (probable cause). If we can prove the officer had no probable cause to investigate the alleged crime scene and make an arrest, the charges against you may be dropped before the trial even begins.
Whether it’s persuading the court to reduce your bail or waive it altogether, or entering into a plea bargain with the prosecution, our team will negotiate on your behalf. If we decide a plea bargain is the best avenue to pursue, our compassionate criminal defense lawyers will work towards arranging a reduced punishment or sentencing. In a criminal trial, we assist with jury selection, provide opening statements, and question witnesses with the goal of debunking the prosecutor’s case.
Our experienced criminal defense lawyers are dedicated to fighting for our clients — no matter what the situation is. Our comprehensive understanding of criminal cases from both sides allows us to effectively build your defense strategy based on the case’s strengths and weaknesses.
We are prepared to defend you against any type of criminal law matter, including the following:
- Driving While Intoxicated (DWI/DUI)
- Boating While Intoxicated (BWI/BUI)
- Minor in Possession (MIP)
- Assault & Domestic Assault Charges
- Felony and Misdemeanor Drug Charges
- Serious Felony Charges
- Speeding tickets
- Traffic Offenses
- License Reinstatement
- License Suspensions
If you or someone you know is being charged with a criminal case, contact the knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys at Deputy & Mizell.
Criminal Defense FAQs
If you or someone you know is being charged with a criminal case, it can be a very uncertain, overwhelming experience and you are bound to have many questions. In order to effectively handle the criminal proceedings in court, you need answers — read our frequently asked questions below.
The compassionate criminal defense lawyers at Deputy & Mizell, L.L.C have over 70 years of combined legal experience and have represented clients in the State of Missouri in a wide variety of misdemeanor and felony offenses. We will develop a solid defense strategy and provide expert guidance throughout the case. Contact us today!
What happens after I am arrested?
Generally, you will be brought to the police station and “booked,” which means the police will take personal, historical, and biographical information to see if you have any warrants or criminal history.
What is the difference between an arraignment hearing, a grand jury indictment, and a preliminary hearing?
An arraignment hearing is a court proceeding where the charges against you are read and you are to submit a plea. The arraignment is often called an “initial appearance” because it is typically the first time you appear in court.
Grand jury proceedings are similar to preliminary hearings as they are both for determining whether there is enough evidence to bring criminal charges or an indictment against you. The prosecutor will work with a grand jury to make a decision. In the federal system, a grand jury can be 16 to 23 people.
If the case goes to a grand jury indictment, no preliminary hearing is needed. A preliminary hearing is a “trial before the trial” where the judge decides whether there is enough evidence to force you to stand trial. It involves lawyers on both sides and the judge.
What happens at the arraignment?
After submitting your plea, the judge sets a date for the next procedural event in your case. The arraignment is where the prosecutors will use the information gathered by the police to present to the judge whether or not you can be released from custody and if bail/bond is required. If you do not already have a criminal defense attorney, the judge will appoint one to you.
Do I need an attorney at my arraignment?
It’s almost always better to have a lawyer present even though it may not be required. The courts will give you a formal account of your charges even if you don’t have a lawyer at your arraignment.
What happens at a grand jury indictment?
Grand jury proceedings are much more relaxed than normal courtroom proceedings because there is no judge present and often no lawyers, only the prosecutor. The prosecutor will explain the law to the jury and work with them to gather evidence and hear testimony. The grand jury determines the probability that a crime was committed and whether you should be tried. Grand jury proceedings are not open to the public as to encourage witnesses to speak freely and without fear of retaliation, and also to protect the potential defendant’s reputation in case the jury does not decide to indict.
What happens after the grand jury makes their decision?
To indict, grand juries do not need a unanimous decision from all members but it does need a supermajority of 2/3 or 3/4 agreement, depending on the jurisdiction. If the decision is to not indict, the prosecutor may still charge you if they think they have a strong enough case. If the grand jury determines that there is a high likelihood that you might be guilty, then the indictment will go to trial.
When happens at the preliminary hearing?
If the prosecutor decides to file a felony complaint against you instead of presenting the case to a grand jury to decide on indictment, the case will go through to a preliminary hearing. During the preliminary hearing, the judge listens to arguments from the prosecutor and your attorney. The prosecutor will be attempting to convince the judge that the case should go to trial, so they may call witnesses to testify and can introduce physical evidence. Your defense attorney usually cross-examines witnesses and calls into question any other evidence presented against you. Your attorney will be seeking to convince the judge that the prosecutor’s case is not strong enough against you and must be dismissed before trial.
Will my case have to go to trial?
Every person accused of a crime has an absolute right to a trial by jury. However, most criminal cases are resolved by agreement between the prosecution and the defense, usually during the pre-trial negotiation phase of the case. The purpose of a pre-trial conference is for the prosecutor, your defense attorney, and the judge to meet and discuss a possible plea bargain.
What is the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor?
Misdemeanors and felonies are not separated by the crime being charged but are more determined by whether or not the defendant may be punished for a certain length of time or in a specific type of prison. A misdemeanor is generally a less serious criminal offense and is punishable for up to one year in jail, whereas a felony is a more serious offense punishable by more than a year in jail. Felonies are usually crimes that are viewed severely by society, such as murder, rape, burglary, kidnapping, or arson.
What is the bail process?
Depending on the offense, there may be no need for a bond hearing because Missouri courts have bail schedules that include amounts determined for most misdemeanors. If the bail amount is known, the defendant can either post a cash bond or contact a co-signer or bail bond company to arrange for a surety bond or property bond. More serious felonies require at least an overnight stay for a bond hearing.
Do I really need to hire a criminal defense lawyer?
Generally, criminal charges will have a significant impact on all areas of a person’s life, profession, family, education, etc. It is recommended to obtain a criminal defense lawyer to ensure the matter is addressed properly and the potential negative consequences are minimized. The lawyers at Deputy & Mizell are highly experienced in criminal defense cases. Reach out to speak with one of our attorneys about your case.
Do I still need a lawyer if I plan on pleading guilty or am offered a plea bargain?
It is critical to speak with a lawyer before making any decisions about your plea. Any plea bargain needs to be carefully evaluated. A lawyer will ensure that your rights have been protected and that you understand the short term and long term consequences of the plea.
What if the police didn’t read me my Miranda rights?
Failure to read you your rights makes anything the police ask you regarding your case null and void and inadmissible in the eyes of the courts. It doesn’t matter where the police interrogate you — if they haven’t read you your rights, whatever you tell them is not allowed into court records as evidence.
How should I assert my right to remain silent if the police decide to question me?
You can simply state to the authorities that you are pleading your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent. When you plead the Fifth, the police have no right to make you answer any questions. If you are harassed by the police after informing them that you are not speaking without a lawyer present, you may be able to have the case dismissed on a violation of your civil rights.
If I am charged with a crime can I be forced to provide physical examples?
Yes, you can. Though many people feel that the involuntary usage of bodily and physical examples by the authorities is a violation of our civil rights, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the Fifth Amendment is regarding communication and does not include physical samples.
How long do criminal cases take to resolve?
The amount of time the entire criminal court process takes varies case-by-case. For example, a misdemeanor case may be resolved from initial arrest to a plea offer within a month, or a felony trial could linger without resolution for over a year. There is really no way to determine exactly how long your specific case will take.
Do not try to handle your criminal case without proper representation. If you or someone you know are facing criminal charges, contact the experienced criminal defense lawyers at Deputy & Mizell today.
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