Being charged with a criminal offense doesn’t automatically mean you’re convicted of a crime. If you’re ready to fight your charges in court, contact a criminal defense attorney in Oklahoma City today.
You may think your life is over the moment you get arrested by the police, but the truth is, you haven’t been convicted of a crime until your case is tried in court. When the cops arrest you, you’re simply being charged with a crime, not found guilty. Everyone has the opportunity to hire a lawyer and challenge their charges, and when you’re charged with a criminal offense, this is a wise choice.
Being convicted of a criminal charge, whether it’s a misdemeanor or a felony charge, can negatively impact your future in a variety of ways. The charge can remain on your permanent record and hinder your ability to obtain a job in the future or apply for housing. Society will label you as a criminal and judge you for the mistake you’ve made, no matter how much time has passed.
At Talley Turner Bertman, our experienced attorneys have a deep understanding of criminal law. We can build a strong defense to support you and try to get your charges reduced or dismissed. With the help of an Oklahoma City criminal defense lawyer, you may be able to walk away from your charges with a second chance.
While most states classify misdemeanor and felony charges by Class A, B, and C to show levels of severity, Oklahoma is one of the few states that doesn’t have this class structure in regards to criminal charges. Instead, Oklahoma simply has misdemeanor and felony charges, with each charge holding its own specific sentencing.
Felonies are defined as crimes punishable by death or imprisonment in state prison and include crimes such as sexual assault, robbery, second DUI offenses, drug trafficking, and homicide. Misdemeanors are less severe and are punishable by no more than one year in county jail. Misdemeanors can include first-time DUI offenses, shoplifting, vandalism, and drug possession.
Both misdemeanors and felonies can carry various fines on top of jail or prison time, and a misdemeanor charge can be increased to a felony if the charge is a second or third offense.
Before assuming you’re guilty of the crime you’ve been charged with, it’s important to consider how the criminal court system works. Your criminal defense attorney in Oklahoma City can be your key resource in helping build up a defense in your favor. When the jury deliberates in court, they won’t find you guilty unless they can say that you’re guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Your lawyer’s job is to put reasonable doubt in the minds of the jury. For example, in a drug possession case, the police may have found you with drugs, but the jury needs to know that the drugs were yours before agreeing that you’re guilty of a crime. The drugs could have easily been planted on you, or you may not have known they were drugs in the first place. This doubt can get your charges dismissed.
You may not think it’s essential to hire a lawyer, but taking the chance of having a conviction on your record can cost you more than you think. Even a misdemeanor criminal charge can leave a lasting scar on your character. Whether you shoplifted once as a young adult or your anger flared up and you found yourself in a fight and facing an assault charge, you won’t always have a chance to explain yourself to others.
With a conviction on your record, the world will see you as a criminal, no matter why you did what you did. Unfortunately, the world usually doesn’t have time to hear your story. They’ll see what’s on the piece of paper and make their own assumptions about who you are as a person. That’s why it’s so important to keep your record clean.
Oklahoma is known as one of the harshest states when it comes to criminal offenses, and the Three Strikes Law is a prime example of that. The Three Strikes Law states that anyone who has been convicted of three criminal charges, with one being a violent felony, will be sentenced to life in prison. While many people are looking to amend this law, it still stands today and is important to note.
The legal process can seem complicated if you’ve never been charged with a criminal offense before. You may be hesitant to hire legal representation or challenge your crimes in court, especially if you think you’re guilty of the crime and you may not win. We’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions regarding criminal defense cases below to help ease your worries.
If you happen to have other questions moving forward, you can contact us directly and discuss your specific case in a no-obligation consultation. We’d be happy to address any of your additional concerns.
After being arrested, the police should read you your Miranda rights. You have the right to remain silent, and anything you say can be used against you in court. You also have the right to hire a lawyer, because you’re not yet convicted of a crime. A lawyer can also be appointed to you by the court if you wish. Lastly, you don’t have to answer any questions from the police that you don’t want to answer.
It’s always your choice whether you want to hire legal representation; however, it’s highly recommended to hire a lawyer, even if your charge is a misdemeanor, because a misdemeanor can still remain on your record and come with jail time and hefty fines. Hiring an Oklahoma City lawyer will often increase the likelihood that your charges will be reduced or dismissed.
Oklahoma has expungement laws in place that allow criminal charges to be removed from your permanent record after a certain period of time; however, the time varies for each specific case. For misdemeanor charges, the waiting period is usually five years before charges can be expunged, and for nonviolent felony charges, the waiting period is seven years.
A criminal conviction on your record can have a serious impact on your future. If you don’t take the time to fight against your charges now, you can be seen as a criminal for the rest of your life in the eyes of society. Thankfully, when you’re arrested, you still have a chance to get your charges reduced or dismissed by hiring a lawyer to represent you in court.
At Talley Turner Bertman, an experienced Oklahoma City criminal defense lawyer can build a strong argument in your defense. You’ll feel supported every step of the way as we combat the prosecution’s claims and try to get you on a path to freedom. If you’re ready to discuss your case with our attorneys in greater detail, you can fill out the contact form below or call 405-254-8548.
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