Other than the least serious offense, a plea of not guilty is entered at the arraignment. The bond or bail may be reviewed, and a date for the next hearing is scheduled.
If we have been hired before the arraignment we will go with you to court. In some courts, your appearance can be waived and we will appear without you, so you can go to work.
Our advice to all clients who have been released on bond is to be prepared to be drug tested. If you test positive, you run the risk of the judge returning you to jail. In other words, do not take any illegal drugs after you have been released from jail.
Am I going to remain in custody while the case is pending?
Yes, unless a bond is posted or you are released because of jail overcrowding. For those cases where an arrest has been made or charges have already been filed, it is important to attempt to procure release for those individuals who remain in custody. For a person facing a criminal charge, the process is difficult enough without the additional trauma of spending time in jail. The remainder of the case is made much easier when a person is out of custody.
Can I plead not guilty even if I am guilty?
Yes. You are innocent until you are proven guilty. It is possible that the evidence against you is not enough to prove that you are guilty. To determine whether you have, in fact, committed any criminal offense, we will investigate the facts and research the law, which can be complex. You might have made a mistake, and feel guilty about it, but your act might not meet the legal definition of a crime.
Can the charges against me be reduced?
Every case is different. We will investigate the facts, review the police report, and contact the screening assistant district attorney about a reduction of charges or refusal of charges. Sometimes clients may not have hired an attorney in time to contact the screening attorney. The facts may not come to light until later in the case and a reduction may take place later as the case develops. There is a possibility of a reduced charge until a jury returns with a verdict.
When should I hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer?
If you are or may be accused of committing a crime, it is always in your best interest to contact a lawyer immediately. Our belief is that a lawyer’s defense of a client can never start too early. This, of course, means that you should hire a lawyer before you testify before a grand jury, answer questions by law enforcement, including prior to an arrest or after you are arrested or charged (indicted) with a crime. Even if you have not yet been charged with a crime, this is often the best time to hire a criminal defense attorney. Sometimes, it is possible for the lawyer and his investigators to gain valuable evidence that can change a prosecutor’s mind about pursuing a criminal case.
From the beginning, we can protect you from interrogation by the police, interview your witnesses as soon as possible, contact the prosecutors when appropriate and offer other services to gain as much control and information for you in a process that is often confusing, uncertain, and, in many cases frightening. We are also able, with your permission, to communicate with family and friends to assist in obtaining the best short-term and long-term results. The sooner our firm is involved in your case, the greater the chances of success.
Many times clients say that they did not call earlier because they felt that they were afraid that it would create the impression that they were guilty. Other clients have said that they were taking a “wait-and-see approach” hoping that nothing would happen because they were innocent. Do not make these life-altering mistakes.
WHEN YOUR LIFE IS ON THE LINE, HIRE A TRUE NEW ORLEANS CRIMINAL DEFENSE FIRM
A criminal conviction can ruin your life. If you have been arrested or charged with a felony or misdemeanor offense in Louisiana, hire a firm that is dedicated solely to serving criminal defense clients in the New Orleans area. At the Law Office of Robert S. Toale, we have more than 30 years of experience defending clients against criminal charges, and we will do everything in our power to fight for the best outcome for you and your family. Call 504-370-9233, or simply contact our New Orleans criminal lawyers online to schedule your initial consultation.