Many individuals and families who experience arrests and criminal allegations often become engulfed in the emotional turbulence involved in these situations. Fraught with emotion, worry and frustration, those who are accused fail to be aware of the actions they can take to protect themselves, their rights and their freedom. By acting quickly in the immediate aftermath of an arrest and learning about what you can do to defend against your charges, you can greatly reduce your risk of suffering the most severe penalties.
At Garretson & Toth, LLC, our Olathe criminal lawyers focus on both the immediate response to clients' needs and to educating them about their cases and legal proceedings. As we want all local residents facing criminal allegations to have a solid understanding of what they can do after an arrest, our legal team has answered some of the most frequently asked questions regarding criminal defense.
WHAT SHOULD I DO AFTER I HAVE BEEN ARRESTED AND CHARGED?
The immediate time period after an arrest is the most crucial. The best thing you, or a family member, can do at this point is to contact legal representation immediately. This can ensure that your rights are protected and that you do not make any errors that can impact the outcome of your case. Beyond this, it is essential to gather all the relevant information pertaining to your arrest, including all documentation and court dates. Locating witnesses and recording the events surrounding your arrest while they are still fresh in your mind is also a wise idea.
IS MY CASE SERIOUS ENOUGH TO NEED AN ATTORNEY?
This is a common question and you must consider the consequences of working without one. Most importantly, every criminal conviction will result in a criminal record. Aside from clear cut penalties of large fines and terms of imprisonment, the repercussions of a criminal record can be life-changing, limiting your future, social and professional mobility. In addition to working toward having your charges dismissed or reduced, our attorneys can ensure that no procedural errors are made and that you do not incur any additional penalties. We understand that money concerns are often the reason why people are hesitant about consulting legal aid. This is why our firm charges no fee for a case consultation. You have nothing to lose by discussing your case and gaining free legal advice.
WHAT IS ALTERNATIVE SENTENCING?
Alternative sentencing options give certain offenders the opportunity to serve their jail sentences outside of jail. While we work tirelessly to defeat charges entirely, some cases may result in terms of imprisonment. When this is the case, our firm can work to reduce the lengths of sentences and obtain alternative sentencing options such as work release and house arrest, which can keep you from behind bars and preserve your freedom. Whether or not you will be eligible for alternative sentencing depends heavily on the unique circumstances involved in your case, and an attorney from our firm can evaluate your case in order to determine if you may qualify.
WHAT IS A PLEA AGREEMENT?
A plea agreement, or plea bargain, is essentially a compromise that is reached with prosecutors in which alleged offenders plead guilty to reduced charges and sentences rather than take their case to trial. At Garretson & Toth, LLC, we do not consider ourselves "plea lawyers." When one of our cases results in a plea, clients can be sure that every possible alternative was thoroughly vetted, that the terms of the plea were derived from extensive negotiation, and that it is the most favorable resolution possible.
WHAT HAPPENS IF MY CASE GOES TO TRIAL?
Anyone accused of a criminal allegation has the right to take their case to trial. This can be a powerful tool in hands of capable lawyers, as a strong defense can be presented to juries that can highlight innocence and reasonable doubt. At Garretson & Toth, LLC, our legal team has proven that we know how to be successful at trial. In fact, we have tried hundreds of cases on both a state and federal level, which should make you confident that in the event your case does go to trial, we will fight aggressively on your behalf.
HOW MANY LEVELS OF FELONIES ARE THERE IN KANSAS?
The state of Kansas utilizes a sentencing grid, classifying felonies based on drug and non-drug offenses. These crimes are categorized by levels based on the severity of the crime. Drug offenses are divided between levels 1 and 5, while non-drug crimes are separated between levels 1 and 10. In both cases, a level 1 offense is the most serious.
The penalties for a felony charge can vary based on the individual’s previous criminal history, as well as the severity level classified for that crime. The state categories criminal history with the letter system ranging from “A” to “I”, with “A” indicating that the individual has multiple previous felony convictions.
HOW ARE MISDEMEANOR CRIMES CLASSIFIED IN KANSAS?
Misdemeanor offenses are categorized based on class in Kansas. There are class A, class B, and class C misdemeanors both person and nonperson. A class A misdemeanor is considered the most serious, while a class C is considered less severe.
CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEYS SERVING JOHNSON COUNTY
While these questions and answers can help you get started on your legal journey, our firm wants all accused individuals and their loved ones to know that cases always vary on a personal basis. There are a number of unique factors and circumstances that will influence your legal process and it is essential that you consult a qualified legal professional who can walk you through what you can expect during your own case.
To learn more about criminal defense or to discuss your case with an experienced Johnson County criminal defense lawyer, contact our firm.
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