At Gracia & Mintz, we understand those who are facing criminal charges probably have a plethora of questions regarding their cases. We have handled thousands of cases and our former prosecutors-turned attorneys know how stressful this time may be for you. It is our goal to ensure you obtain the answers you deserve, as well as give you the representation and assistance you need to ensure a successful outcome for your case if you decide to hire our firm. Below, our Prince George's County defense attorneys answered commonly asked questions regarding criminal defense.
Do I need to hire an attorney if I plan on pleading guilty?
Regardless of what you plan on pleading, it is vital you hire a criminal defense lawyer to protect your rights. Representing yourself in court is never a good idea, as the prosecution seeks to bring the harshest penalties possible in criminal cases. An attorney from our firm can help you obtain a lighter sentence, or minimize / completely eliminate your criminal charges, if possible.
Is there a difference between probation and parole?
Yes, there is a difference between probation and parole. Probation is an alternative to prison, while parole is a shortened amount of time spent in prison. When you are sentenced to probation, you can suspend your jail time in exchange for following specific terms. Said terms can include checking in with a probation office on a regular basis, attending rehab programs, and / or attending your job / school. Parole is designed to help individuals complete their criminal sentence outside of jail if they have already completed a portion of their prison sentence.
When I am arrested, should I speak with a police officer?
After you are arrested, it is advised you do not speak with any police officer prior to hiring an attorney. Many individuals do not realize they are not required to give a statement or confession to a police officer. You have the right to remain silent, as well as the right to a lawyer. To ensure you receive the best possible outcome for your case, you should invoke said rights as soon as possible. Police officers often try to use anything you said against you in court, which can be detrimental to your case.
Is there a difference between a felony and misdemeanor charge?
A felony is punishable by one or more years in prison. When charged with a misdemeanor, you are not facing a prison sentence longer than one year. Misdemeanor crimes are often considered less serious than felonies according to the criminal justice system. However, regardless of what type of criminal charges you are facing, it is still imperative you hire a lawyer to ensure your rights are protected.
What is the difference between a dismissal and an expungement?
A dismissal can occur when a prosecutor drops your case. This can happen after the assistant district attorney reviews your case and decides the evidence against you isn't strong enough or your case is not worth prosecution. In certain situations, a dismissal can be given if you perform community service or attend specific classes.
An expungement is when your case is erased. The court records relating to your case are destroyed and you can truthfully state on job and loan applications that you have never been convicted of a criminal charge. Expungements are hard to obtain, however, so if you wish to learn if an expungement is available for your past criminal conviction, you will need to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Will my case go to trial?
Depending on your case and your attorney, you may have to go to trial. When charges are filed against you and a verdict cannot be reached prior to going to trial, you must go to court. To avoid trial, however, your lawyer may be able to convince the prosecution your case is not worth prosecuting or may be able to prove your charges were not filed on legal grounds. If this is true, your case may be dismissed.
What type of crimes does your firm handle?
At Gracia and Mintz, our firm handles a plethora of criminal defense cases such as:
Regardless of whether this is your first or subsequent criminal charge, our firm can help you.
If you have any further questions regarding your criminal case, please do not hesitate to contact the Prince George's County criminal defense lawyers at Gracia & Mintz today. With our extensive experience and history as prosecutors, we can help ensure you receive the best possible outcome for your case. Free case evaluations are available!