Frequently Asked Criminal Defense Questions
Below we have compiled a list of questions we hear most often regarding criminal law. To speak further with the attorneys at Hoffman Walker & Smith, please set up a consultation by calling 859-535-0264 or contacting us online.
Can I Do Community Service Instead Of Jail Time?
Typically, the answer is no. If you have been charged with a crime that is serious enough for the prosecutor to consider jail time, then community service, no matter how much, may be off the table as a replacement. However, if you have a history of community service then, as your attorneys, we will use every bit of useful information available to present to the prosecutor as mitigating evidence. Such mitigating evidence could lead to a reduction in your sentence.
Should I Talk To The Police?
The answer to this question is complex. In some circumstances, you should talk to the police without hesitation. In particular, you should do so when you are attempting to help in an investigation in which you could not possibly be a suspect. In other situations, it is possible that you should consider your options first.
How do you know which situation you are in? You should probably call an attorney like those at Hoffman Walker & Smith in order to assist you with determining which situation you are in. Our attorneys will take the time to listen to your specific facts in order to give you the best answer to this question possible.
Do Police Officers Have To Tell Me They Are Police Officers?
In most situations, the answer is no. A police officer who is not otherwise in uniform does not have to tell you that he or she is in law enforcement. In many situations, an officer may be entitled to lie to a suspect if it legitimately furthers the information collection in an ongoing investigation.
Should I Let The Police Search My Car?
This is a complicated answer. If you are certain you have nothing to hide, maybe. If an officer is requesting to search your car, then the officer likely believes he or she may find evidence of a crime. You should know that an officer does not need consent to search for things that are readily visible through your window, so you should endeavor to keep a clean car. Moreover, even if you refuse a search of your car, the officer may call a K-9 unit to the scene to conduct an exterior search of the vehicle. However, the K-9 must arrive and conduct the search in a timely fashion.
Moreover, the officer may pursue a search warrant for your vehicle, which will allow him or her to search it. Perhaps the best method to answer the above question is to contact an attorney. You can reach us at our criminal after-hours number where one of our attorneys will walk you through whether you should consent.
What Happens After You Are Charged With A Misdemeanor?
When you face criminal charges in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, you should be familiar with the Kentucky Criminal Justice system. Your case can begin in several different manners. A police officer may initiate a charge after an arrest, through a criminal complaint, or through a direct indictment.
If your charge is a misdemeanor, your first court appearance will be at an arraignment in district court. At the arraignment, if you enter a not guilty plea, the judge will likely set your pretrial conference date and trial date. At some point in the process, the prosecutor will offer a plea bargain to resolve the case. If you accept, then you enter a guilty plea and accept the penalty offered by the prosecutor. If you do not accept the offer, then you may face a trial.
Misdemeanors are defined by carrying a sentence of a year or less and should be taken seriously. Driving under the influence (DUI/OVI/DWI) is a misdemeanor, and the possible sentence can affect every aspect of your life in a manner perhaps more pervasive than some felonies. You should have an attorney to help you navigate the potential negative impacts resulting from a DUI.
What Happens After You Are Charged With A Felony?
First if you have been charged with a felony, you should contact an attorney. A felony will carry a possible sentence of at least a year in prison and possibly much more. Your first court appearance could be your arraignment at district court. At the arraignment, the judge will likely set a preliminary hearing date for your case. At the preliminary hearing, the judge will decide whether probable cause exists. Very often the judge finds probable cause. When probable cause is found, your case is bound over to the grand jury. The grand jury will vote whether to return an indictment on your case. When that happens, your case is sent to circuit court. You will be given an arraignment date. At the arraignment, you will likely be given a pretrial and trial date.
It is also possible that the prosecutor and police officer could decide to skip the district court process and present your felony case directly to the grand jury. This is called a direct indictment. In this case, your first appearance will be your felony arraignment.
Possession of heroin is an example of a felony. The possible sentence will range depending on the number of times you have been charged and whether you intended to sell the heroin to someone else. You should contact an attorney to determine whether seeking treatment for your addiction is a possibility instead of prison time.
Theft charges often are paired with possession of heroin charges because addicts often steal to support their habits. Whether theft is a felony or misdemeanor depends on the amount stolen. Restitution is an important goal in theft cases, and you will need an attorney to help you negotiate with a prosecutor regarding the terms of payment of restitution.
You can call our after hours criminal hotline at 859-535-0143.