FAQ: Criminal Defense
Facing criminal charges can be an overwhelming experience, often fraught with anxiety, confusion, and a sense of uncertainty. The legal landscape appears as a maze to the uninitiated, with its intricate procedures and overwhelming jargon. The gravity of potential consequences, ranging from fines and community service to incarceration, escalate the stakes, making the ordeal even more daunting. Don't face this alone.
At the Law Offices of Malcolm B. Seawell, we keep you informed every step of the way. We understand that you may have a lot of questions, and we're committed to providing you with clarity and support. Our team of experienced attorneys is dedicated to fighting for your rights and achieving the best possible outcome for your case.
We are proudly based in Denver, Colorado, but our dedication to justice extends far beyond the city limits. We provide our expert legal services to clients across multiple counties, including but not limited to Denver County, Arapahoe County, Jefferson County, Adams County, and Douglas County. With the Law Offices of Malcolm B. Seawell by your side, you can confidently navigate the complex terrain of the justice system.
Frequently Asked Questions About Criminal Defense
Over our decades of practice, we've heard numerous inquiries from individuals just like you who are facing criminal charges. We work to help you answer them.
Do I have to speak to the police after I’m arrested?
Other than your basic identifying information (such as your name, address, and date of birth if asked), no, you don't need to speak to the police. In fact, it's often better if you don't. Keep in mind that anything you say can and will be used against you in court. It's best to remain silent and request an attorney.
You have the right to remain silent and you do not need to answer any further questions without a lawyer present. This is a constitutional right designed to protect you from self-incrimination. It's important not to discuss the specifics of your case, your whereabouts during the incident in question, or any other potentially incriminating details. Politely but firmly request to speak with an attorney before any additional conversation takes place.
What information should I share with my attorney after being arrested?
Once you've secured legal representation, your attorney will become your primary confidant in the situation. It's crucial to share all relevant information about your case, no matter how minor or insignificant it may seem to you. This includes details about the incident leading to the arrest, any interaction with law enforcement, any statements you may have made, and any potential witnesses. Also, it’s important to provide any evidence that could potentially support your case, such as text messages, emails, surveillance footage, or photographs. Remember, attorney-client privilege ensures that anything you share with your attorney remains confidential, so be open and honest. The more information your attorney has, the better they can strategize to protect your rights and interests.
I just want this to go away. Should I accept a plea deal?
Plea deals might seem like the fastest way to put this behind you, but they're not always the best option. They often involve pleading guilty to a lesser charge, which can still lead to a criminal record. Always consult with a criminal defense attorney before making such decisions.
What is the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor?
Felonies are generally more serious crimes than misdemeanors. They typically carry heavier penalties, including longer prison sentences and higher fines. Misdemeanors, while serious, usually result in shorter jail sentences or lower fines. Examples of felonies include murder, burglary, and grand theft, while misdemeanors may include petty theft or disorderly conduct.
If I'm completely innocent, do I still need a lawyer?
Absolutely. Innocence must be proven in court, and having seasoned criminal defense lawyers like Malcolm B. Seawell and Nicole Elias Seawell on your side can make all the difference in presenting your case effectively.
A seasoned criminal defense attorney brings numerous benefits to the table.
Firstly, they possess a deep understanding of the law and court procedures, which are instrumental in building a robust defense strategy.
Secondly, they can protect your rights and ensure you're treated fairly throughout the process. An attorney can also negotiate on your behalf to potentially reduce charges, and penalties, or even get the case dismissed in certain situations.
Furthermore, they provide emotional support and guidance during what can be a stressful and uncertain time, clarifying complex legal jargon and processes.
In a nutshell, having a criminal defense lawyer is a crucial step in ensuring the best possible outcome for your case.
When are police allowed to search my person, vehicle, or home?
Police can conduct a search if they have probable cause to believe a crime has been committed, or if they have a valid search warrant. However, there are exceptions to these rules, so it’s always wise to consult with us if you believe your rights have been violated.
The police didn’t read me my rights. Am I still under arrest?
Yes, you can still be arrested even if the police didn't read you your rights. However, the Miranda warning is required if you are both in custody—meaning that they are "deprived of freedom of action in any significant way"—AND are under interrogation. If they interrogate you without reading your Miranda rights, any statements you make may not be admissible in court.
What happens if I’m charged with a crime in Colorado but live in another state?
If you're charged with a crime in Colorado but live elsewhere, you'll likely need to return to Colorado for court appearances. It's also important to hire a lawyer who is licensed to practice in Colorado and familiar with local laws.
How long does a criminal case typically last?
The duration of a criminal case can vary widely. It largely depends on the complexity of the case, the charges involved, and the court's schedule. It could take anywhere from a few months to over a year.
Can I clear a criminal charge from my record?
In some cases, yes. This process is called expungement. However, eligibility depends on several factors, including the nature of the crime and your behavior since the conviction. We can help you understand if expungement is an option for you.
Do I really need a criminal defense attorney?
Yes, you do. A criminal defense attorney can protect your rights, challenge the prosecution's evidence, negotiate plea deals, and represent you in court. Without one, you're at a significant disadvantage.
Answering Your Priority Questions
No matter what your questions and concerns may be, our firm is here for you. Remember that every case is unique, and this information is just a starting point. For advice tailored to your specific situation, don't hesitate to contact us at the Law Offices of Malcolm B. Seawell. We're here to help. Reach out today to schedule a meeting with our skilled criminal defense attorneys today.