The Criminal Defense Process
Representation During an Investigation
The moment you recognize that you are the target of a criminal investigation, you need an attorney. If you recognize this before law enforcement contacts you for an interview, prior consultation with a criminal defense attorney will provide insight into whether agreeing to meet for questioning is in your best interest. Invoking your right to counsel prevents police from using your words against you. The FBI, for example, has a policy that prohibits recording interviews. The only report of what you say to the FBI will be a report made by an agent whose goal may be to convict you of a federal crime.
Representation during an investigation is critical. Guidance from an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you manage your situation and minimize the impact of the investigation. Defense counsel can try to dissuade prosecutors from filing charges. We can ask to be notified when charges are filed to avoid police executing an arrest warrant at your home or work. We can arrange for bail and walk you through the process.
Court Proceedings Before Trial
There are several opportunities to win a criminal case before a trial. Charges can be dismissed. Evidence can be suppressed if it was obtained in violation of your constitutional or statutory rights. There may have been errors in the way the evidence was processed or stored that make it inappropriate for admission or of little value in proving a case against you. Prosecution experts can and should be challenged. Motions should be filed that attack the way the prosecution intends to present its case to a jury. A good criminal defense attorney will challenge the prosecution’s case long before trial.
Virtually every criminal defendant faces a decision of whether to go to trial or accept a plea offer. This can be a difficult and gut-wrenching decision. You need an attorney who will give you candid advice about your chances of getting charges dismissed for defect, excluding key evidence, or winning at trial.
You also need an attorney who understands the collateral consequences associated with various convictions and can advise you regarding the costs and benefits of your options. Plea negotiations should consider much more than the length or nature of the sentence; they must address registration, eligibility for certain programs in incarceration, eligibility for expungement, and numerous other issues specific to the facts of your case and your individual circumstances.
No matter what case you take to trial, you want a well-respected trial attorney who has won major criminal jury trials. There are plenty of attorneys who have taken a large number of cases to jury trial. That does not tell you much. How many have they won? Did they mount a serious defense?
Perhaps the only way to evaluate a trial attorney’s courtroom skill is to look at what judges and other attorneys think of their ability. Various entities exist that provide such peer review ratings. We invite you to research and review our ratings.
If your case concludes with a plea agreement or guilty verdict, you must proceed to sentencing. The vast majority of sentencing hearings are less than 30 minutes and entail attorneys and judges simply going through the motions. The only time that you will find our attorneys participating in such a hearing is when we have arranged an agreement in advance of sentencing that gets the best possible result.
If a sentencing agreement cannot be reached, your attorney should file the appropriate motions or memoranda requesting your desired sentence. A contested sentencing hearing should include evidence. The judge should be provided with a sentencing memorandum, letters of support, expert reports, and information about your progress – through a treatment program or otherwise. Witness testimony may be appropriate. A good attorney considers a sentencing hearing as important as a jury trial.
You may be entitled to appeal your conviction or sentence for review by a higher court. If you do appeal, you need an attorney who understands the process and the differences between district and appellate court practice. The bulk of the appellate process occurs on paper. Some attorneys may perform superbly in the courtroom but be unable to convey the same powerful message in written briefs. Our criminal defense team is experienced in both written and oral advocacy. We have ample experience with appellate practice and a proven track record of success.
Many convictions can be expunged three to five years after your sentence has been completed. The effect of an expungement is to seal the records related to your criminal case so that they are not available to the public. An order of expungement also permits you to say, under most circumstances, that you have not been convicted of the expunged crime.
Expungement also applies to arrests and diversions. Even if you have not been convicted of a crime, your arrest record and filings associated with a deferred prosecution are public information and available through online background search databases. Especially during job searches, many people would prefer that this information not be so easily accessible. An order of expungement can seal these records, too.
Our attorneys are well-versed in expungement law, including the intricacies related to registration offenses. We are always pleased to assist former clients and new clients in clearing their records.
Kansas City | 816-673-3900
Kansas City, MO 64106
Lawrence | 785-856-0143
Lawrence, KS 66049
Overland Park | 913-948-9490
Overland Park, KS 66212
Topeka | 785-234-3272
Topeka, KS 66612
Wichita | 316-262-9393
Wichita, KS 67214
Contact Joseph, Hollander & Craft LLC
Contact Joseph, Hollander & Craft to discuss how our team of attorneys can help you.