More people are familiar with the criminal justice system and process through TV shows and movies than through real-life experience. Watching a cop show or courtroom drama can be very entertaining from the comfort of your living room, but living the experience is a different story. Most individuals charged with a crime feel overwhelmed and terrified. However, hiring a skilled and qualified attorney is the first step to taking control of the situation.
It usually takes a relatively long time to get to the final phase of a trial after being arrested. Our Murray, UT criminal defense lawyer will stay by your side through every step of the way. If you face criminal charges in Murray, UT, please reach out to Overson Law, PLLC. Call (801) 758-2287 to speak with our legal team about a free and confidential consultation about your case.
What to Expect Before a Criminal Trial in Murray
No matter what crime you are charged with, nearly all criminal trials begin the same way, with an arrest. Exactly how and when you are arrested will depend on your unique situation. After you are arrested, you will likely be questioned by the police.
Arrest and Booking
The police generally make arrests in one of two ways. Either the police arrest you on the spot, which usually happens at the scene of the crime or very close to it, or they obtain an arrest warrant and take you into custody later.
Police are not required to have a warrant for your arrest if they actually witness you committing a crime. They may also make an arrest without a warrant when they have reasonable cause to believe you have committed a crime and that you are likely to flee the scene, destroy evidence, or hurt someone else. Warrantless arrest conditions tend to occur while a crime is in progress or has just been committed. If the police want to arrest you some time after the crime has been perpetrated, they will need a warrant even only a few hours after.
To get a warrant, the police must have probable cause showing that a crime has been committed and you are likely the culprit. They do not need to prove without a doubt that you are guilty, only that your involvement in the crime is likely. The warrant must be issued by a judge or a magistrate who must be convinced that the probable cause gathered by the police is accurate and valid. Once the police have the warrant, they can find you wherever you are and take you into custody.
After your arrest, the booking process begins. This is a relatively short process during which your photo is taken and the police take down your personal information for their records. You will also be assigned an identification number. If you have been arrested, call our Murray criminal defense attorney for help.
Once in custody, the police will begin questioning you about your alleged crime. Before any questioning or interrogation, the police are required to inform you of your Miranda rights. These rights are guaranteed to you by the Fourth through Sixth Amendments of the United States Constitution to protect you from the power of law enforcement and the government. You have likely heard these rights recited on television or in movies. They include your right to remain silent and not answer any questions asked of you by the police and the right to an attorney during questioning.
If you are in police custody being questioned about a crime, you should invoke your right to remain silent and your right to an attorney immediately. Do not answer any police questions until an attorney is there with you. If you cannot afford a lawyer, one can be appointed to you free of charge. Our Murray, UT criminal defense lawyer will stay with you during police questioning and protect your rights no matter what.
Fines and Jail Sentences if You Are Convicted in Murray, UT
Criminal charges in Utah are divided into serious felonies and less serious misdemeanors. Each category of offenses is subdivided further based on the severity of your alleged crime. Each level of offense carries a unique penalty.
Felonies are divided into first, second, and third-degree felonies, with first-degree felonies being the most serious and third-degree being the least. First-degree offenses are punishable by at least 5 years in prison but may go as long as life in prison. Second-degree felonies are somewhat less serious and can be penalized by no less than 1 year but no more than 15 years. Finally, third-degree felonies, the least serious category of felonies, may be punished by no more than 5 years in prison. These prison terms provide a wide range for judges to work under. The specific circumstances and factors of your case will determine exactly how long your prison term is.
Misdemeanors are less serious than felonies, but they should still be taken very seriously as they may also result in prison time. Misdemeanors are divided into class A, B, and C misdemeanors, with class A being the most serious and class C being the least. Class A misdemeanors are punishable by no more than 364 days in prison. Class B misdemeanors can be punished by no longer than 6 months in prison. Class C misdemeanors are punishable by no more than 90 days. These terms may seem relatively light compared to felonies, but multiple misdemeanor charges will quickly add up to lengthy prison terms. Contact our Murray, UT criminal defense attorney for help with your charges and penalties.
Accepting a Plea Agreement in Murray
If you wish to reduce your potential penalties but you also want to avoid a long, grueling trial, you may want to think about accepting a plea agreement. Plea agreements are extended by the prosecutor as a type of compromise. In exchange for pleading guilty and waiving your right to a trial, the prosecutor will reduce your charges or advocate for a lesser punishment from the court. Plea agreements are not required and not always offered in every case. However, they are negotiable and we can request better terms than those offered initially. Contact our Murray, UT criminal defense attorney for help negotiating a plea agreement.
Contact Our Murray, UT Criminal Defense Lawyer for a Free Consultation
If you or someone you know is charged with a crime in Utah, please get in touch with our Murray, UT criminal defense lawyer at Overson Law, PLLC. Call (801) 758-2287 to schedule a free consultation about your case.