What We Do
One of the many benefits of an experienced local attorney is knowing the issues and how to navigate them from the very start of the case.
Depositions are interviews with witnesses, usually in person, conducted by both the defense and state attorney. They are an important part of discovery as they are conducted under oath and can be used later at trial. The defense can depose any available and relevant witness and even a victim. Depositions are powerful tools for getting to the nut of the matter and often lead to the resolution of the case.
Discovery is the sharing of all evidence the State Attorney and police have collected in a matter, both inculpatory and exculpatory. This means even evidence in your favor MUST be provided for our consideration and possible use. Such evidence includes, police videos and photos, statements of witnesses, locations being accessed for inspection, inspection of evidence collected at scene, and any other relevant information related to the case. Often the best evidence of our client's innocence is provided by the police themselves on their body camera videos. Or, the evidence may show that while there was some wrong doing, it wasn't as bad as the officers on scene seemed to think.
The evidence gleaned through discovery sometimes indicates unconstitutional actions on officers' part. It is through this discovery process that the facts of the case are developed by both sides and is the basis for any plea or trial. Something to consider - POLICE REPORTS ARE NOT ADMISSIBLE EVIDENCE AT TRIAL. It is mostly what the officers and witnesses are saying NOW that counts. Discovery creates those final stories. You want an experienced local attorney reviewing your case and taking depositions. In many cases, we know the officers involved from prior cases, we know their supervisors, we know the departments and their style well. I cannot overstate the value of having an experienced local attorney looking at your evidence and taking action to defend you.
Diversions are used by the State as an alternative to traditional consequences for crimes. For instance, if it is a first offense and not too serious, the State may agree to allow the defendant to complete some requirements much like probation, and if successful, the charge is then dropped. These are known as pretrial diversions, deferred prosecution agreements, and the like. In most of these, the person accepts some consequences, and after completion the charge is dropped. In most cases, if the listed consequences are not completed, the charge is reactivated and the case proceeds toward plea or trial. In some more serious cases, the state may demand a plea be made to accept the diversion. In that case, a less good, but still pretty good option in many cases, if you fail to compete your pretrial diversion requirements, you will be sentenced according to your plea agreement - in other words, you blew your chance for the best deal, and now have the plea deal to complete.
Diversions are usually a win. They get you out of the painful criminal track, and provide certainty. But, they can be viewed by outsiders to the criminal justice system as a get over, and for those with high security clearances for instance, can still be problematic. Having an experienced local attorney represent you when figuring which option is better for your situation is another advantage of hiring local.
The police are the State’s investigators. We can often do our own information collection and analysis and if not, usually know who can.
Motions to Dismiss
Motions to dismiss are used most commonly when even if all the facts asserted by the State are true, they do not constitute a crime. We have used these successfully in many gun cases and even serious drug cases where State had no proof of knowledge. Every crime has listed elements of proof that must be met or the State must drop the charge.
Motions to Suppress
The police do not always follow the rules. When they collect evidence in an unconstitutional manner, if the defense objects or moves to suppress that evidence, the court may not allow it to be used against the defendant. We have used these often to get charges dropped after police misconduct and illegal searches.
Most cases end in a plea bargain. This is because there is usually at least some truth to the charges, the evidence of guilt is overwhelming, going to trial on a close case can be very risky and stressful, and the consequences agreed to in the plea bargain are acceptable, sometimes very acceptable. An experienced local attorney knows the difference between a good deal and a bad one...and hopefully a good one from a great one. There is a lot of local flavor in plea bargaining. Consider that when seeking counsel.
Trial is usually the ultimate decider of the matter. In some cases, due to their seriousness, trial is almost assured. Rapes, murders, child sex crimes often go to trial. The plea bargains offered in such cases are usually so high a defendant may go to trial as s matter of principle, and the state has little incentive to drop or plea out on big cases because they make them look good. As risky as trial may be it is sometimes the only way to establish your lack of guilt. You want an experienced local attorney on your side in such crucial matters.