If you were recently accused of any criminal offense, you are not alone if you are unsure of what the best way to contest your charges and protect your best interests would be. The state of Minnesota treats criminal offenses somewhat differently than many other states, and without guidance from an experienced legal professional who knows state law and court procedures well, you may have an extremely difficult time securing a favorable resolution to your case.
Retaining a Bloomington criminal defense lawyer should be your top priority upon being charged with a criminal offense of any kind. The support of a seasoned defense attorney could wind up making all the difference in whether you can effectively defend your rights and future prospects in the face of criminal prosecution.
Generally speaking, there are two classes of criminal offenses a person may be charged with in Bloomington: misdemeanors and felonies. There are likewise three subclasses of misdemeanor charges: petty misdemeanors, misdemeanors, and gross misdemeanors. Petty misdemeanor convictions typically result only in a small fine, but gross misdemeanors could result in both steeper fines and up to a year in jail.
State law does not categorize felony offenses into discrete classes like it does misdemeanors. Instead, it allows for different levels of punishments depending on the presence of aggravating factors and the defendant’s previous criminal history. For example, a person can only be charged with felony DWI if they have previously been convicted of three or more misdemeanor DWI offenses within the last 10 years, or if they were previously convicted of a felony driving-related offense such as vehicular manslaughter.
The maximum available prison sentence following a felony conviction is always more than one year in length. Furthermore, convictions are accompanied by numerous other consequences, including the loss of the rights to vote, own firearms, and potentially even reside in the United States as a legal immigrant. A skilled criminal defense attorney could provide crucial guidance and support to anyone accused of a felony or misdemeanor offense in the nearby community.
While criminal defense attorneys certainly play critical roles in Bloomington trials, there is a lot one could do to help a defendant even before their case reaches court. Immediately after an arrest, for example, a criminal defense attorney could work to ensure that local law enforcement respects a defendant’s constitutional rights and speak on the defendant’s behalf during questioning, in order to keep them from inadvertently incriminating themselves or harming their case through a poorly phrased statement.
Professional representation is also key during pre-trial proceedings, as a lawyer may be able to argue for much more favorable bail terms and potentially even negotiate a plea bargain. Finally, with regard to the actual trial, having a seasoned legal representative help with the discovery and jury selection processes can put a defendant in a much better position to effectively argue their case.
Criminal cases are complicated ordeals in virtually every situation, whether the charge in question is a petty misdemeanor or a felony punishable by years in prison. Without qualified legal counsel by your side, you will almost certainly have your work cut out for you defending your best interests and seeking a case resolution that serves those interests.
Throughout your entire criminal case, a Bloomington criminal defense lawyer could provide assistance and advice tailored to your unique circumstances. Call today to learn more about the help a seasoned attorney could provide.