Jefferson County Criminal Defense Lawyers
Fierce Advocates and Experienced Trial Attorneys in WV
The period after an arrest is important as it sets the groundwork for everything that follows. During this time, charges are formally filed, bail considerations are made, and legal representation is secured. Decisions made during this stage can significantly impact the outcome of the case, including the potential for plea deals or the direction of trial preparation.
Those accused of a crime must enlist the help of a qualified attorney. The Criminal Law Center provides comprehensive legal strategies tailored to our client’s needs and backed by over 65 years of combined experience.
Call our Jefferson County criminal defense attorneys at (304) 244-0633.
The Criminal Process: Arrest
The criminal process begins with an arrest. An officer of the law apprehends an individual suspected of committing a crime based on probable cause or an arrest warrant. Following the arrest, the defendant is booked at a police station.
After the arrest, the accused person may be released on bail. Bail is a financial guarantee that the defendant will appear in court at the scheduled time. The judge determines the amount of bail during the bail hearing and depends on several factors, including the severity of the alleged crime, the defendant's past criminal history, and their ties to the community.
Once the prosecutor formally files charges, the defendant makes his first court appearance, also known as an arraignment. At this stage, the defendant is informed of the charges against them and asked to enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest.
If a plea agreement is not reached between the defense and the prosecution, often referred to as plea bargaining, the case proceeds to trial. In most cases, trials can be before a judge (bench trial) or a jury. A jury is a group of citizens who listen to the evidence and decide whether or not the defendant is guilty. The role of a judge is to oversee the trial, make sure the law is followed, and determine the appropriate sentence if the defendant is found guilty.
In terms of sentencing, WV has specific guidelines based on the severity of the crime and the defendant's previous criminal record. Misdemeanors, less severe offenses, carry a maximum punishment of up to one year in jail. At the same time, felonies, more serious crimes, can lead to imprisonment for over a year, life imprisonment, or even the death penalty for the most severe crimes.
Our Practice Areas
When you are facing criminal charges, it is crucial that you entrust your case to our experienced attorneys. The Criminal Law Center has over 65 years of combined experience with various criminal cases, including but not limited to the following:
Our team of legal professionals thoroughly investigates every detail of our clients’ cases and provides extensive guidance regarding the criminal process, so they are never in the dark about the road ahead. We understand that criminal charges and convictions can be devastating so we work tirelessly to defend our clients and protect their futures.
Contact our Jefferson County criminal defense attorneys today to learn more.