Frequently Asked Questions
If I am convicted of a crime, will anyone know that I have a conviction on my record?
Although a conviction such as a drug crime, juvenile crime, sex crime, white collar crime or violent crime is public record and may be reviewed by the general public, you may be able to expunge a conviction depending on the nature of the crime committed.
Is a misdemeanor conviction public record?
Yes; however it is possible to have the misdemeanor cleared from your record with an expungement.
What is the difference between misdemeanor and a felony?
A misdemeanor is not as serious an offense and it usually only carries a maximum sentence of one year in county jail. On the other hand, a felony is a very serious crime that may carry a sentence of over one year in state prison. Felonies can result in life imprisonment or even the death penalty.
Should I represent myself?
You can always represent yourself without the services of an attorney; however that decision is one that you may regret for the rest of your life. If you are only facing a small fine, you may want to save the money and represent yourself. However, if you are facing a misdemeanor which may result in county jail time, or facing a felony which may entail years in prison, or you wish to avoid any kind of conviction, you MUST hire a private criminal defense attorney to look after your interests.
Why would I ever plead guilty to the charges?
Most judges will offer a lighter sentence in exchange for a guilty plea at the arraignment. By pleading guilty and avoiding a court trial, you may receive a lesser punishment and avoid a potential harsher penalty. In addition, a guilty plea quickens the criminal process and eliminates a lengthy and extremely stressful trial process.
When do I tell my story?
Tell us your story immediately. Your story is a critical piece of the puzzle that aids the judge and jury in deciding the outcome of your case. Whether you are charged with embezzlement, molestation, drunk driving, drug possession, petty theft, domestic violence or any other crime, it is important to tell your story to a criminal defense lawyer while the incident is still fresh in your mind. It is crucial to remember that what you say may be used against you, so do not tell your story to anyone besides YOUR criminal attorney. Of course the trial is the primary period of time where you have the opportunity to present your story, however there are many other options to avoid going to trial.
Do I need an attorney at my arraingment?
YES! Although many people believe they may be able to handle this hearing without the presence of a criminal lawyer, it is very helpful to have a criminal lawyer there defending you. A criminal defense attorney may be able to lower your bail or even negotiate to have you released on your own recognizance (O.R.) without putting up any money.
Do I need an attorney at my arraingment?
Your rights are limited to the appointment of the public defender that is chosen for you. To receive a new public defender, you must prove to the court that his/her representation is incompetent. It can be very difficult. To avoid this predicament, it is best to hire a criminal defense attorney who you are comfortable with and know will get the job done right. If you are charged with any crime such as burglary, battery, assault, child abuse, domestic violence, embezzlement, petty theft or any other criminal charge, you should not take chances with your freedom. Contact Jeremy Dodgion now so that he may provide you with a confidential and free consultation.
What are my Miranda Rights?
Once you are in police custody, you must be informed of your constitutional right to remain silent before being interrogated. If the police did not inform you of these rights, called Miranda Rights, your constitutional rights have been violated. In the event that your rights have been violated, that does not necessarily mean that you are not guilty. It means that Mr. Dodgion will have a good opportunity to have any statements made or any evidence gathered as a result of the violation found inadmissible in a court of law - and that would significant help in your defense.
What type of sentence will I receive?
Sentencing is decided by the judge. The judge looks at the surrounding circumstances, specifically the nature of the case, your past criminal history, and whether you are a threat to the community. Sentencing options range from mere community service to imprisonment in a penitentiary.
Can I have my attorney represent me, so I don't have to show up?
There are stages of the criminal process where you do not need to appear. However it is very important to check with your attorney before you decide to be absent. If you are not able to appear you must contact your attorney or the court clerk and inform them of your situation. Please contact Jeremy Dodgion and discuss your case so that he can determine whether or not your appearance is necessary at your next court date.
When can a police officer search me or my property?
A police officer can search your person or your property if you provide the officer with consent to do so, or if the officer presents you with a search warrant. It is important to note that a police officer may conduct a search without your consent and without a search warrant under special circumstances such as emergencies.
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