How Does A Prior Arrest Or Conviction Impact My Pending Criminal Case?

Prior arrests do not play a large part in a current case. However, a prior conviction can affect the current case in two main ways. The first way would be is if it is an offense that is enhance-able. In a lot of offenses like domestic violence, drug charges, and DUI impaired driving are called enhance-able offenses. For example, in a DUI, they’re going to look back at the individual’s record for a period of 10 years. If there’s one prior conviction, they’re going to enhance the sentence for a second DUI offense if the person is convicted. If there are two prior convictions within 10 years then they’re going to enhance the charge to a third-degree felony. Those prior convictions do come into play as far as enhance-able issues on the current charges.

The second way they come into play is at sentencing. If there is a conviction, a guilty plea, or something similar then the prosecution and judge can be made aware of those prior convictions. If there’s a DUI and the first one is outside of the 10-year range then they can judge this as a second-lifetime offense, so first sentencing is recommended but because it’s a second lifetime, we want additional concerns. If there are theft convictions for shoplifting, a minor retail theft, and it’s there fourth one then the judge might say, “You’re not getting the message here. What’s going on and how do we get your attention? Do we give you jail time or put you on probation? What do we do?” It’s important to handle those prior convictions and to let the attorney know about them, even if they are out of state. If they get a DUI charge in other states then it’s important to know what you’re looking at on the current case.

What Is The Importance Of Having An Attorney Involved Early On In My Criminal Case?

Having an attorney early on in the case, because it gives the attorney more opportunity to prepare and get the information before the court hearings. For myself, I gather all the information and do my own investigation. I’m looking for technicalities, loopholes, and legal reasons to have the case thrown out. The more time that I have to do the work on a case before hand is always better, then I can advise the client of what to do and what not to do. For example, should they go to counseling or treatment before we go to court? I have some cases where the detectives will go back after the initial arrest or charges have been filed and they’ll want to speak with the client. I always tell the client not to speak to them, tell them they have an attorney because anything they say can be used to prosecute them.

It’s really important to have an attorney involved because there’s so much at stake. When we’re talking criminal court we’re talking about someone’s freedom. You’ve got to protect that earlier and I always recommend getting an attorney involved.

What Factors Do You Consider When Determining Whether Or Not To Accept A Plea Offer Or Go To Trial If Necessary?

There are a lot of factors to consider when deciding whether to take a plea offer or go to trial. I do my job and lay out all the facts and the law for the client, and explain to them their different options. I explain to them if you take the plea offer, here’s what’s likely to happen, how it can affect your future, and how we can get rid of the charge in the future versus if we go to trial. For example, the prosecution will call the police officer or investigator to testify, then I’ll have the opportunity to cross-examine, and then we can call witnesses if we want. I advise them of every legal option they have: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Then, with each one I let them think, to process it, and give them an opinion. That’s my job.

You give them a legal opinion about what I think is best for them but, ultimately, the decision is theirs. In making that determination, we would look at what happens if there is a conviction and if there is an acquittal. But, at the end of the day, the decision Is the client’s and hopefully, I’ve provided them enough information based on my investigation, my experience, and my time practicing in front of a judge, then they can make the best decision possible.

What Do Plea Offers Look Like For First Time Offenders?

In most cases, prosecutors are willing to offer first time offenders some kind of diversion program or plea in advance, except on DUIs. For example, in a theft case or possession charge then the client can enroll in a program if they promise not to commit more violations of law. Then, they pay a fine, go to a class, and after a period of nine months, the case and the charges can be dismissed; that’s a diversion or a plea in advance. On a DUI, the law does not allow for that, thus on a first offense, if the facts around the case are not too severe then we can usually get the charges reduced. Examples of things that can prevent this are: having a blood alcohol that’s too high, being involved in an accident, if there was an accident and no one got hurt, or there wasn’t significant property damage, then we can usually get those charges reduced down.

Though on a first time DUI, the statute says to give two days in jail but it also says that the court has the option of changing that to 48 hours community service. In trying to settle one of those cases we’re always looking to prevent jail time and fines. Of course, we know that people will have extra money for attorneys, for clients, and other things they’re trying to take care of. Typical, with first offense sentencing they’re looking at a fine in most cases, possibly with some treatment, a class, some community service, and suspended jail time on the condition that they do all of that. Sometimes it takes some work to get there by negotiating with the prosecutor, but in most cases, it can be done.

For more information on Impact Of Prior Arrest And Conviction, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (801) 477-5009 today.

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