While crimes fall into many different categories, there are a few common keys to a successful defense. One is an aggressive attorney who is ready to start fighting for you immediately by independently seeking out favorable witnesses and evidence rather than waiting for the police reports to be sent from the prosecutor’s office. Another is an experienced attorney who knows how to analyze a case for its strengths and weaknesses to predict the likelihood of success at trial and identify when a favorable plea offer has been made. With over 50 years of combined experience in criminal law, Larry Catt and Travis Lillie are ready to fight for you in all types of matters.
Misdemeanors cover relatively minor crimes including trespassing, property damage, and small thefts. Especially for first time offenders, most are punishable by fines or probation. When jail sentences are imposed, they are short — often just a few days and never longer than one year per offense. While the immediate consequences may be minor, it’s important to consider the other possible consequences before pleading guilty to a misdemeanor. A criminal conviction may mean losing a job, being rejected for future jobs, being expelled from school or losing a scholarship, and having difficulty finding housing. In addition, a previous conviction will usually lead to more severe consequences if you are ever arrested again.
Felonies include more series crimes such as large thefts, frauds, serious assaults, robbery, and murder. Lesser felonies may result in the same penalties as misdemeanors but more serious felonies could result in prison sentences of anywhere from one year to life in prison. Felony convictions also result in the loss of civil rights such as the right to vote and the right to own a firearm. For these reasons, it’s vital to have an experienced defense attorney explore every possible option to fight the charge, have it dismissed, or have it reduced to a misdemeanor.
If a sentence of probation is imposed, it will come with a number of conditions. Depending on the original charge, this will include varying levels of supervision, restrictions on the use of drugs or alcohol, travel restrictions, and a possible curfew. If these conditions aren’t met or if another crime is committed, a sentence of incarceration will be imposed. Because the offender is considered to have already been convicted and started serving a sentence, the prosecution has a lower burden to prove a probation violation than to prove a separate criminal charge.
Defenses to criminal charges fall into two broad categories. One is factual defenses — that the prosecution hasn’t shown enough evidence to meet the burden of proof, that the defendant has an alibi, or that the witnesses are mistaken as to the defendant’s identity. The other group is legal defenses. These could include an illegal search or seizure that rendered key evidence inadmissible, self-defense, or entrapment. These defenses don’t turn on disputed facts but rather on how effectively the defense attorney is able to apply the available facts to the law.