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A Missouri Criminal Defense Team You Can Trust
If you are facing criminal charges, the time to act is now. Ensure your rights and best interests are protected during these trying times by turning to Miller & Hine. Our experienced criminal defense attorneys understand how overwhelmed you are feeling right now and are capable of using our 50 years of combined experience to build a strong case for you.
Consult with a St. Louis criminal defense attorney as soon as possible if you are facing criminal charges. Most charges can be located at Case Net. Our criminal defense attorneys will tell you what you can expect and how our Saint Louis law firm is able to help.
Call our St. Louis criminal defense team at (314) 413-2053 to discuss your criminal case. We offer 24/7 free consultations to discuss criminal charges, bond, and pricing for representation.
The Lifecycle of a Criminal Case in Missouri
There are many different types of lawyers, but in a criminal case, there is a prosecutor and a defense attorney. The person charged with a crime is called the defendant.
Your defense attorney’s job is to protect your rights and ensure you navigate the criminal justice process to the best possible outcome. Here at Miller & Hine, our St. Louis criminal defense lawyers work hard to protect our client’s rights and advocate on their behalf at every stage of the process.
Here is a brief look at the lifecycle of a criminal case in Missouri:
Everything begins with the police investigation. Whether local, state, or federal, law enforcement investigates reported criminal activity. That can be activity that occurred in the past, is ongoing in the present, or is about to happen in the future.
Different types of reported criminal activity call for different types of investigative techniques. Once the police have witnessed a crime taking place, gathered enough evidence, or have probable cause to believe that an individual committed a crime, they will usually make an arrest.
Once the police have arrested you, you will be brought before the court for what is known as an arraignment. At an arraignment, four important things occur:
- The court officially informs you of the criminal charges that have been alleged against you.
- You are called upon to plead or answer the charges. Everyone pleads not guilty at their arraignment.
- The court is called upon to determine your bail. In other words, the judge will decide what to do with you between the beginning of the case, which is at arraignment, and when the case ends, which may be many weeks if not years later. Some individuals are released solely on their promise to return to court (on their own recognizance). Some individuals are required to post money or to abide by certain conditions in exchange for their release. And others are unfortunately required to remain detained or held with no bail.
- The judge ensures that you have legal counsel. Some individuals hire private counsel before the arraignment and are present with an attorney for this important event. Other individuals have plans to hire counsel in the near future. Those without adequate financial resources to retain a lawyer may apply for the appointment of free counsel through the public defender’s office or the local bar association.
After the arraignment, nearly every additional court appearance is referred to as a pretrial or status conference. This is where your defense attorney comes together with the attorneys for the prosecution to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the case against you, exchange information, discuss the filing of possible motions, and negotiate ways to resolve the matter prior to trial.
There are only three ways to resolve a criminal case:
- The case can be dismissed, which is the best-case scenario.
- A deal or plea agreement can be reached between your defense attorney and the prosecution. Sometimes, these deals result in the dismissal of a case. Other times they will call upon you to plead guilty or admit criminal responsibility in exchange for a negotiated punishment.
- A trial, wherein a judge or jury will evaluate the evidence and determine whether you are guilty or not guilty.
If the case is not dismissed or resolved by plea agreement, it must proceed to trial.
You can choose to have a trial before a judge or a jury. If you choose a jury trial, a jury is selected.
When the trial begins, both sides make their opening statements, and the prosecutor presents evidence in the form of witness testimonies and exhibits. The prosecution states their case first because, under our country’s rule of law, a defendant is considered innocent until proven guilty. So the prosecution has the burden of proof.
Then, if they choose to do so, your defense attorney may cross-examine the prosecution’s witnesses or present evidence on your behalf. But the defense is not required to do so since the prosecution has the burden of proof. However, if the defense presents a case, the prosecutor can make a rebuttal.
The trial ends with closing arguments and instructions to the jury. The jury deliberates in private and ultimately returns with their verdict – guilty, not guilty, or unable to reach a unanimous verdict– this is called a hung jury.
If you are found guilty, a punishment consisting of a combination of jail or prison time, probation, fines, community service, mandatory counseling or rehabilitation classes, restitution, and other penalties will be determined. If you are found not guilty, then the trial is over and you are able to walk free.
If you are facing criminal charges, you need to hire an attorney because the process can be confusing and overwhelming, and the consequences of a conviction can last a lifetime. At Miller & Hine, we handle felony and misdemeanor criminal cases in the St. Louis metro area. We can help you successfully navigate the criminal justice process from beginning to end.
Have You Been Charged with a Crime in St. Louis?
Facing any criminal charge can be intimidating and confusing. This is especially true if you are innocent. When facing criminal charges, it is essential to ask yourself three questions as you consider whether or not to work with a criminal defense lawyer:
- Was I arrested and charged legally?
Many people are under the false assumption that police can arrest and charge a person whenever they want. However, this is not true. While the police do have the authority to arrest individuals, they must do so under strict guidelines.One of the most critical issues concerning an arrest is probable cause. A law enforcement officer must have probable cause before they can arrest you. This legal requirement can be complicated because probable cause can travel backward in time. For instance, if you are arrested for a DUI, the arresting officer must show probable cause for pulling you over in the first place.They cannot simply wait for a driver to pass by, flip on the police lights, and then hope they have a driver under the influence. There must have been some cause for the police officer to stop you in the first place. If the police cannot prove that they had probable cause to stop you, then everything that followed could be thrown out in court.
- What exactly am I being charged with?
It is not uncommon for additional charges to be added to your arrest as time passes. Using a DUI arrest as our example, drivers have been known to be charged later on with offenses such as reckless driving, failure to yield, driving on a suspended license, and so forth. While drivers have a right to know what charges they face, they often have no idea what these charges are or how they came about.Walking into a court without knowing precisely what you are being charged with and why often leads to a very bad outcome. But, working with an experienced criminal defense attorney can be beneficial. Sometimes an attorney can contest the charges and have them dismissed even before they are formally filed against you.
- Should I work with a criminal defense attorney?
This is one of the most important questions you have to answer. You can represent yourself in court, but that is often a bad decision. There are many points of the law that most laypersons do not understand. Also, if you do it alone, the prosecutor can use your lack of knowledge about court procedures against you. When charged with a crime, consulting a qualified criminal defense lawyer is always in your best interest. We can explain your options so that you will understand what you are facing. We can also help you in an attempt to get your charges reduced or dismissed.
Tips for Selecting a Criminal Defense Attorney
When dealing with criminal charges, you don’t have time to waste on an inexperienced attorney. Finding the right criminal defense lawyer can make a major difference in how your case plays out, so we recommend choosing carefully.
Below are 5 tips for selecting a St. Louis criminal defense attorney:
- Find someone who provides a clear breakdown of fees
- An attorney specializing in criminal defense is better suited to take on your case
- You need to find someone with extensive experience in the courtroom
- A good criminal defense attorney is responsive
- The right attorney will have good reviews
To determine if Miller & Hine is the right fit for you, give us a call for a free consultation today.
Representing Clients throughout Missouri Facing Criminal Charges
If you have been arrested and accused of a crime, exercise your right to remain silent and call the St. Louis criminal defense attorneys at Miller & Hine immediately. Being arrested can be a highly stressful and intimidating ordeal, no matter how tough you think you are. Being mistreated by law enforcement, placed in handcuffs, and taken to a nearby police precinct can cause feelings of helplessness and anxiety. Unfortunately, the police and detectives know this, and police use your insecurities to their benefit to force you into making self-incriminating statements. Do not help them make a case against you. Instead, it would be best if you were strong and urged on calling the criminal defense lawyers at Miller & Hine immediately upon arriving at the precinct.
Call Miller & Hine for a Free Consultation!
Remember, you are innocent unless proven guilty, and the burden of proving your guilt rests entirely upon the government. Furthermore, depending on the facts and circumstances of your criminal case, it may be possible to reduce some of the charges against you to a lesser offense or complete dismissal of the criminal case. The St. Louis, Missouri criminal defense lawyers at Miller & Hine have proven results.
Our criminal defense lawyers work from the very beginning to try to find out as much as possible about the circumstances surrounding your criminal case. Also, our attorneys will sit down with you and discuss all of the options that are available in regards to your criminal defense. You will know what type of results to expect and whether or not your case might require a trial. If your loved one is in jail, our attorneys will visit them for NO COST to conduct a criminal case evaluation.
Our St. Louis criminal defense law firm regularly does jury trials throughout the Saint Louis area. That is why we are able to get the results that we have. The Prosecutors know that we will make their job extremely hard if they decide to take the criminal case to trial. We fight to get the best results.
Call a St. Louis criminal defense attorney at Miller & Hine today. We can be reached online or at (314) 413-2053.