In the words of Abraham Lincoln, “He who represents himself has a fool for a client.” In general, it is almost never in your best interest to represent yourself in a criminal case. Criminal law is robust, complex, and confusing for the average person. Representing yourself can leave you vulnerable to making mistakes. While making an error in many other aspects of life is understandable and can be potentially remedied, mistakes in your own criminal defense could leave you in an undesirable situation. Though you have the right to self-representation, it is not usually in your best interest to take advantage of it. Each phase of mounting a criminal defense can be difficult to navigate alone. Unfortunately, the courts will hold you accountable to the same rules that an attorney must abide by. The difference is, they know them. Learn more below about the perils of self-representation and why you should work with an experienced criminal defense attorney if charged with a crime.
Reasons Why Some Decide to Represent Themself
Though it is not recommended (in any situation involving a criminal charge), some defendants still choose to represent themselves. Typically cited reasons that defendants give for representing themselves include:
- Lack of overall trust for the justice system and desire to make a statement
- Defendant doesn’t believe that the severity of the punishment will warrant the cost of an attorney
- The defendant may plead guilty to an offense that has an unwavering and strictly followed punishment guideline
- The client believes that they are more competent than an attorney
It is important to note that though the aforementioned reasons for defendants choosing to represent themself have some level of merit, they will typically not outweigh the benefits of working with an attorney.
Why Working With an Attorney is in Your Best Interest
Fortunately, the law has provisions in place so that anyone being charged with a criminal offense has the right to an attorney. Even if you cannot afford one, you can have a criminal defense lawyer appointed to you. It is in your best interest to take advantage of that opportunity. If you are faced with criminal charges, then your freedom could be hanging in the balance. A mistake like missed handled evidence, incorrect or lacking motons, etc. can be the difference between having your charges reduced/dropped and being faced with a criminal record. The consequences of even minor charges on your record can have a reverberating effect on many areas of your life to include your finances, ability to drive, loss of freedom, difficulty finding career opportunities, etc If you choose to represent yourself, ensure that you are well aware of the potential consequences of doing so.
Finding The Right Criminal Defense Attorney
Not only is it important to work with a criminal defense attorney, but it is also just as important to hire the right attorney for your specific needs. While court-appointed attorneys have the same education and experience as private attorneys, their typical workload is far heavier. This can cause your lawyer to not give your case as much attention as a private attorney would be able to. However, if you are faced with a decision of working with a court-appointed attorney or representing yourself, it is recommended that you choose the former. When searching for your attorney be sure to inquire of their trial record, experience with your specific issues, as well as fee structure. Lawyer Parikh advises only signing a contract after you feel comfortable and have an understanding of what to expect from your attorney and what they will expect from you.
For people with criminal records, there are many policies and laws that may get in the way of you gaining employment.
Unfortunately, the consequences of a criminal conviction are not over after sentencing. You’ll have to take steps to make yourself eligible for certain employment opportunities. If you want to move on from your past and build your life, this article should help you.
Why Employers Do Criminal Record Searches
According to a 2010 survey by The Society Of Human Resource Management, 92 percent of employers have conducted a criminal background check on some of their applicants.
Why? Mainly because they are conducive to safety in the workplace.
Background checks protect company property and protect the elderly and handicapped from being exploited financially and by sexual predators. A lot of employers also conduct background checks to protect themselves from civil liability.
Companies that work with children must make sure they are not going to hire someone who has a conviction for criminal sexual conduct.
If a child is victimized by a predator, and the company that hired the predator did not do a background check, the parents of the child will likely file a lawsuit.
Banks will not want to hire a person who has been convicted of embezzlement.
Do you want to work in law enforcement?
Individuals who want to work in police, security, or as a corrections officer need to know that these government employers are required by law not hire people who certain convictions on their record.
What Companies Can Check
If you have a criminal conviction on your record, you will be relieved to know that there is no national database a company or person can check for a felony conviction. However, most states make criminal convictions available to the public.
The Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system gives anyone who conducts a search through this database access to the records found in federal courts. PACER allows an employer to view any case, be it criminal or civil, that a person has been involved within federal courts.
According to Paul Stephens, who is the director of the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse:
“Under federal law, criminal convictions are reportable indefinitely, unless your state provides otherwise.”
There are some protections given at the state level when it comes to employers checking criminal background histories. Several states only allow employers to look back five years for a criminal conviction. Other states allow employers to only consider misdemeanor convictions when it comes to employment.
If you were charged with a crime but not convicted, federal law under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) allows employers to examine arrest records going back seven years. Thankfully, several states do not allow their employers to consider cases where a person was arrested but not convicted.
Your potential employer is allowed to check your driving record at your local DMV. Your driving record will enable a company to access any speeding tickets, moving violations, or drunk driving convictions you may have gotten.
There is a liberalization movement across the country when it comes to denying employers the ability to consider a person’s criminal background as part of their hiring process. Numerous states are passing laws that make it illegal for a company to ask if you have a prior conviction or arrest on their record.
Just recently, the federal government passed a law called The Fair Chance to Compete for Jobs Acts of 2019. This law was part of the National Defense Authorization Act.
Under this law:
- Federal agencies (the executive, legislative, and judicial branches) and contractors with federal connections such as federal defense and civilian contractors are not allowed to seek information on conviction and arrest history until a job offer has been issued to the applicant.
- People who are seeking a job in law enforcement that have access to classified or national security are exempted from this newly passed law.
- The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) will issue regulations implementing aspects of this law.
- The OPM will adopt procedures for private contractors and applicants, which will allow for complaints to be filed that alleged violations of the law.
- The penalties will be escalating but can only be imposed after there has been an initial written warning. If the violation is severe enough, federal agencies are allowed to suspend payment to the contractor. They will not issue the payment until the employer has made the changes required to get them into compliance with federal law.
- After two years from the signing of the law, federal agencies will be able to use all the tools necessary to enforce these regulations.
How Your Background Can Affect Your Job Hunt
Employers will take positive factors into consideration when looking at your criminal background history.
These mitigating factors are:
- How severe the crime was.
- When the crime happened
- What type of job you are looking for.
If you got caught smoking marijuana, a company will probably not hold that against you. While getting caught stealing from a previous employer will look bad, the fact that this crime took place over 20 years ago when you were a teenager will also be taken into account.
Crimes that are related to the job you are applying for are the ones that will very likely be used to disqualify someone from the job. If you are looking for an accountant job and have a prior conviction for embezzlement on your criminal record, it is very unlikely you will get the job.
Anyone that is worried about what is going to show up on their background should run a criminal background check on yourself before you submit an application.
In Michigan, a person can find this information by searching ICHAT.
Problems With Criminal Background Checks
Always check for any information that is not accurate in your report. The companies that complete background checks make a lot of mistakes.
Here are a few common mistakes to look out for:
- Reporting an arrest but then not reporting that the charges were dropped.
- Showing convictions that were sealed or have been expunged.
- Listing a single criminal charge numerous times.
- Listing a misdemeanor conviction as a felony and mistaking people with similar names.
When it comes to explaining to your potential employer about your criminal background, give an explanation that is brief. Clearly describe what happened and how you have changed from this experience and what you learned from it. Tell your potential employer that you want to be a positive force to society and how this job is such an opportunity for you.
Legal Protections for Applicants
Applicants can find legal protections from two laws: The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
FCRA demands that agencies that report information to consumers must follow various guidelines. Arrest records must not include any information that is more than seven years old. However, if the job pays over $75,000 a year a company may go back further than seven years. Records that deal with convictions are not limited by FCRA.
Reporting agencies must take steps to provide information that is accurate. This means the need to update the information on a regular basis. FCRA also requires employers who use a third party to conduct a background check to the written permission of the applicant. If the employer plans to refuse employment based on the information gathered during the check, they must provide a copy of the report and information about how to dispute the report.
If your report has an error, you need to report that error directly to the company that did the background check. If they refuse to fix the mistake, you can file a complaint with the FTC at FTC.gov. Or you can call at 1-877-382-4357.
Do you know what to look for in a lawyer should you ever need one?
No one knows what life can throw at us, so when you’re in a legal bind a lawyer can be a real help. But with so many firms and individuals out there, it can be hard to know what lawyer pick.
Don’t worry! Read on for 10 tips for choosing good criminal lawyers.
1. Pick a Lawyer That’s Responsive
Time is of the essence when it comes to facing criminal charges. If time is being wasted, you might as well throw the towel in on the case. You need a criminal lawyer who will get to work straight away.
When you contact them, they should be quick to reply. You should expect their legal team to arrange a meeting within 1 working day. Make sure they’re quick at answer emails and phone calls. This suggests that they’ll be just as on the ball when it comes to your defense.
2. Make Sure They Specialize in Criminal Law
Make sure the lawyer you’re considering specializes in criminal law. This doesn’t mean it has to be the only law they practice, just the one they’ve selected as a specification. If you can’t find anything about criminal law on their website, look for someone else.
If you want the best job done possible, you need someone who regularly defends criminal cases. This ensures they are up to date with current nuances. They’ll have all the recent, relevant information to win your case.
3. Are They Experienced in the Local Courts?
As we’ve seen, up to date information is key here. Local connections and relationships can be a huge help when defending criminal cases. Be sure to pick a lawyer that knows the ins and outs of your local court system, like criminal defense attorney Matthew Meyer.
Each court will have its own way of doing things, and each judge will too. By knowing each court and judge’s individual methods, it could be a huge advantage to winning your case.
4. Conduct a Background Check
Before committing to hiring, check with the lawyer disciplinary agency that your chosen lawyer is in good standing. Get references and see what others have to say. This is key especially if you’ve found them via the internet.
Also, look for any peer reviews. Peer reviews will give you an unbiased look at a lawyer’s ethical standards and professional abilities. They come from evaluations of other members of the bar and the judiciary so you can trust their opinions.
5. Ask Other Lawyers
Skill and reputation are important to lawyers – so they’re all likely to know of each others’. Ask another lawyer about who you’re considering. They might have insight that you won’t see in any reviews online.
Things they could reveal include their:
- Ethics/personal beliefs
- Practice habits
- Success rates/reliability
6. Do They Know the Basics Off By Heart?
A good criminal lawyer should know the basics of common crimes off by heart. This doesn’t mean they need to be a walking legal encyclopedia though. What you should expect is a quick explanation of possible outcomes for your charges.
They should know what they’re supposed to ask you in order to check if any nuances apply. The best criminal lawyers will have a level of familiarity with the criminal justice system and its laws.
7. Their Fee Structure Should be Simple and Clear
A good lawyer will make it clear how they take payment and will give you a likely fee structure. This should include a list of services and their fees along with a total of what your defense will cost.
Going for the cheapest isn’t always the best option. You should ask what their quote includes. Always make sure your lawyer is up to the task of providing a vigorous and thorough defense. You can’t afford not to!
8. See Their Enthusiasm
You want to make sure your chosen lawyer will mount a thorough investigation. They should only go to trial when it’s the best time to. They should also only encourage you to take a plea deal if it’s in your best interests. Any good lawyer will put you first and be able to back up their decisions to you.
One way to check this is to gauge their enthusiasm. You should always pick someone with experience. But the number of years doesn’t mean everything. Make sure there is sincere interest in their field. And they must show genuine eagerness and drive to defend you.
9. Take an Office Tour
Believe it or not, you can tell a lot about a lawyer but the state of their office. Ask for a brief office tour that takes you out of the conference room or the office you met them in. Check the office is:
Also, consider what sort of support staff they have and if they’re friendly and helpful. Are the offices local and easy for you to get to? Does it seem understaffed and empty?
You should watch out for:
- Disorganization and disarray
- Empty offices and cubicles
- Unhappy, discontent staff members
These warning signs suggest a lack of ethics and professionality which will likely spill over into your defense.
10. They Are Happy to Take Direction From You
At the end of the day, your criminal charges are yours to defend. No one else’s. This means the big decisions should be up to you to make. Your lawyer should control things like choosing witnesses to call and filing any motions.
Big decisions include whether you want to plead guilty or take your case to trial. Your lawyer needs to take time to understand your goals and opinions. These priorities should be then taken into account as they guide and help you put together a plan of defense.
Good Criminal Lawyers are Easy to Find When You Know How
So there you have it! If you’re even in a legal bind, you’ll know what to look for in good criminal lawyers.
Make sure they have the basics down, and they specialize in criminal law. Check reviews and gauge their enthusiasm to make sure you know they’ll do their best work. And ultimately, make sure they’re putting your interests first.
If you found this article helpful, check out our other blog posts.
Are you in trouble with the law?
You can be like Joe Pesci in “My Cousin Vinny,” or you can hire a criminal defense attorney. Even if you’re innocent, it’s wise to have an attorney by your side.
Read on for the top reasons a crime lawyer is necessary for your defense.
1. Know Your Rights
More people are representing themselves in court in recent years, and that may come at a price. You may think you can do a fine job representing yourself in court because you did nothing wrong. That may be true, but you don’t know your legal rights.
You also don’t know what investigators and attorneys can ask you in court or during an investigation.
You may answer a question that seems harmless, but it gets you in deep trouble. Plus, it turns out to violate your rights.
You never want to answer questions without an attorney, whether you’re innocent or guilty.
2. Verify Witnesses
If your case goes to trial, you must have witnesses come to your defense. Some witnesses with the best intentions could wind up hurting your case rather than helping it.
You want to have witnesses that will help your case, whether they are forensic experts or people who are character witnesses. An attorney will determine which witnesses are worth putting on the stand.
3. Jury Selection
For serious charges, you may have to face a jury. You have rights during the jury selection process and you want to make sure you have a fair and impartial jury.
A criminal defense attorney knows what type of jury members will be fair and impartial. That will help your case.
4. Negotiating Skills
You need a criminal defense attorney that has incredible negotiating skills. Most criminal charges don’t go to trial. They’re usually settled before they are tried in court.
The advantage here is that you don’t have the costs of a trial, which can add up in attorney fees. An attorney can fight for the best deal. That can mean a reduced sentence and a fair agreement for you.
Without a crime lawyer, you may assume that you have no choice but to accept what’s given. That would be a big mistake that can have dire consequences.
5. Time and Money
You can represent yourself, and in the worst-case scenario, you wind up in jail. That has a massive impact on your life and your family.
A criminal defense lawyer will fight for your rights and do everything possible to keep you out of jail. If you do have to go to jail, they’ll fight for a reduced sentence.
Don’t Try to Be a TV Lawyer. Get a Crime Lawyer.
Your life is at the mercy of the law. If you’re implicated in a crime, your life is at the mercy of the law. You don’t want to play the hero and try to talk your way out of it. You certainly don’t want to come across like you watched too many legal TV shows.
You’ll only hurt yourself and your family in the long run. Hire a crime lawyer instead. You know that your rights will be protected, and you’ll get a fair trial or plea deal.
Check out this blog often for more legal articles.
Did you know that just planning a crime is a crime in itself? That’s right; you could face conspiracy charges for planning to commit a crime with somebody else.
These charges are a bit more complicated than the criminal charges we are all familiar with. If you’re facing conspiracy charges, the best thing you can do is talk with an experienced attorney.
Here are five things to consider about your conspiracy charges while you look for legal representation.
1. There Are Three Elements to Prove
For the prosecutor to successfully charge you with conspiracy, they must prove three elements.
- To conspire, there needs to be an agreement between at least two people.
- The people involved must agree to and intend to commit a criminal act.
- At least one person performed an overt act in furtherance of the agreed-upon crime.
While these elements may seem simple, there are several subtleties to them. For example, an overt act can be something as small as buying a tool that will help with a planned burglary.
2. You’re Charged with the Crime and the Conspiracy
When you face criminal charges, you’re charged with both the crime and the conspiracy to commit the crime. These are two separate charges with different elements to prove.
Prosecutors often use this strategy because it enables them to bring in more evidence that they wouldn’t normally get to introduce.
3. You Can Be Found Guilty Alone
While the elements of conspiracy require there to be more than one person, this doesn’t apply to those involved being found guilty. Just because your co-conspirators are found not guilty, doesn’t mean that you will be too.
You and your attorney need to prepare a solid defense even though others involved have been found not guilty.
4. You Don’t Need to Commit the Crime
It isn’t the successful completion of the crime that makes a conspiracy illegal. In fact, you don’t even need to do the crime to be charged with conspiracy.
5. You Need the Right Defense
For most crimes, a solid defense is claiming that you didn’t do it. But when it comes to conspiracy, this can be a difficult thing to prove. You can click here to learn more about how the right team can help you create the most effective defense for your criminal conspiracy charges.
Three of the most common defense strategies are abandonment, withdrawal, and entrapment. These defenses may sound similar to the defenses or other crimes, but they are a bit more complicated for conspiracy.
To prove withdrawal, you need to show three things. You need to show that you took action to abandon the conspiracy.
That you communicated your abandonment to your co-conspirators in a timely manner. Finally, that you abandoned before the completion of the plan.
Defend Yourself Against Conspiracy Charges
If you’re currently facing conspiracy charges, the best thing you can do is seek experienced legal counsel. A knowledgeable lawyer will explain the legal process and the charges that you currently face. With their help, you’ll be able to craft an effective defense.
Be sure to subscribe to our blog to get legal tips and advice right to your inbox.
Unlike most compensation claims, a criminal injuries compensation claim will award you compensation from a governmental fund, rather than from the person found guilty for your personal injury.
However, as your domestic violence lawyer will tell you, this doesn’t change the process of a settlement or trial, regardless of the reason for it – be it domestic violence or personal injury that resulted from other types of criminal acts.
Applying for Compensation
If a case – or more – of domestic violence has resulted in your injury, then you can make a Criminal Injuries Compensation Claim and be compensated, directly by the government, for your injuries.
Still, there are some things that you have to take into account before applying. For example:
- You must not be living with the abuser and you cannot plan on living with them again in the future.
- The domestic violence act has been reported to the police in a timely manner – as soon as possible.
- During the investigation, you must have attended court – if it was necessary – and cooperated with the police.
- In order to apply for compensation, the abuser must have been prosecuted for their crime.
- You must have not been the cause or the one who provoked the domestic violence incident.
- You must make a compensation claim within two years of your injury date.
- Lastly, you can apply for compensation if it is certain that a violent partner or abuser would not benefit from the compensation.
Naturally, most of the points mentioned above are there to make sure that the victim is not plotting with the alleged abuser in order to get compensated or that the abuser is not threatening/forcing the victim to apply for compensation.
What Can You Be Compensated For?
When it comes to compensation, you can receive awards for a variety of injuries, as well as several other things – generally, criminal injury compensation claims work similarly to personal injury cases.
For example, you can be awarded compensation if:
- You had mental or physical injuries that resulted from domestic violence/violent crime.
- You experienced loss of earnings, as well as future loss of earnings, as a result of the domestic violence. However, you must have been unable to work for at least 28 weeks after you’ve been injured/abused.
- You have experienced certain types of expenses – such as medical and dental bills. These are labeled as special expenses and you can claim them if you have been incapacitated for more than 28 weeks after the incident/domestic violence incident.
The Bottom Line
As you can see, a criminal injuries compensation claim works almost like a personal injury claim. On top of that, the injured party can apply for it even if they have been the victim of domestic violence.
This type of claim basically ensures you compensation – if you are eligible – without having to go to trial or try to settle with your abuser. Naturally, a domestic violence lawyer is able to give you more information about how to make such a claim, as well as about the process behind it.
Going to court for the first time can be a daunting process – there’s a lot at stake, so it’s important to make sure you give a good impression. There are certain things you need to do before your hearing to make sure everything goes smoothly – read on to find out more.
Get A Lawyer
One of the most important things to do before a hearing is getting a lawyer. In Canada, if you don’t have a lawyer, you are allowed to speak to duty counsel beforehand – they are part of Legal Aid, and will give you some support if you don’t have a lawyer. However, this is not the ideal solution – getting a lawyer is not only a much more secure form of defence, but it also makes you look professional and serious, rather than unprepared. This is key – your first impression matters, so getting a lawyer is a good step in ensuring you come across well. Make sure you get a lawyer in advance – searching for the right lawyer for you (we recommend these criminal lawyers, Toronto) is essential. After all, the courtroom is a confusing place, as well as incredibly stressful, so having someone who not only knows the rules and tricks, but can keep you calm, is greatly needed to ensure you’re defended the best you can be.
Getting To Court
It’s best to arrive early to court, to avoid being late as well as to locate your courtroom and duty counsel if you need it. There will be a scanner, so don’t bring any weapons or sharp objects – it may sound like common-sense, but bringing illegal objects can have serious consequences, and can damage your case, too. Then, find your courtroom – the number should be on the document with your first court date. Once you’ve found your courtroom, there will be a list of names, also known as the court docket, outside stating everyone who is appearing that day – make sure yours is there, and if so, enter the courtroom. Sit just behind the lawyer’s bench, and wait for your name to be called. Having a lawyer is a positive here – most courts allow lawyers to deal with their cases first, so it’s most likely that you’ll be called earlier if you have a lawyer. And of course, please make sure your phone is off, or at least on silent.
What Will Happen Next?
There are a few things that can happen once you are called to the stand. If it is your first court date, and the crime you’ve been accused of is not major, you may be offered diversion. This is where the Crown may drop charges against you if you complete some form of community service, or get some counselling related to the behaviour that caused your offence. The Crown should tell you if you are entitled to diversion, and you can talk this through with your lawyer or duty counsel, and if you both agree this is the right thing to do, you’ll receive a new court date once you’ve spoken to a diversion court worker. You must not leave the courthouse until you have received a new date and informed the Crown – only once you have gone back to the courtroom, had your name called, and informed the court of your decision and new date can you leave, as before this your case is technically still unfinished. You may also get disclosure at your first court date – this means the court will tell you everything they intend on saying including any evidence they intend on providing, the kind of sentence they will ask for, etc. You should get all of this before your trial date.
Doing your research and getting good support is the best way forward when preparing for your court date – be confident in yourself.
While Toronto is widely touted as one of the safest cities in North America, with relatively low crime rates, there are still plenty of cases that see the courts in this city every year. If you’re unfortunate enough to be one of the people who has been accused of a crime within the city limits of Toronto, you might be concerned about how the court process is going to unfold and what kind of consequences you’ll have to deal with. Understandably, this is certainly a time when you might face panic and anxiety. However, before you take any action to defend yourself or make any public statements, it’s best to take the following 7 steps as part of an overall response plan:
1. Consult with A Local Criminal Lawyer
Regardless of what kind of crime you’ve been accused of, it’s always wise to at least discuss your case with a reputable criminal lawyer in the area. Simply participating in an initial consultation will usually put your mind at ease because you’ll leave with an idea of what you’re up against and who your attorney might be able to help you formulate a defense that will result in a ruling be rendered in your favour. Luckily, you can easily find lawyers in Toronto by searching for the term “Criminal lawyers Toronto.”
2. Write Down the Details of Your Case
While you might think that your mental recollection of the case is sufficiently accurate, you’d be surprised at how many additional details you might be able to remember just by jotting the events of the alleged crime or your alibi on paper. This draft probably won’t be read in court or given to the judge or prosecutors, but it can serve as a useful reference for you and your lawyer while developing a defence.
3. Gather Any Applicable Evidence
If you can find any documentation or witnesses that can substantiate your defence, it’s important to compile all of that information in an organised manner. Even the smallest details or pieces of evidence could contribute to swaying the judgment in your favour. If you know for a fact that you weren’t even at the scene of the crime, try to get in touch with people who you were with on that date so you can coordinate their testimonies as soon as possible. The longer you wait after the date of the alleged crime, the more difficult it might be to obtain testimonies from people who aren’t your close friends or family members.
4. Do Not Speak to Anyone About Your Case Other Than Your Attorney
Many people can’t stand the thought of bottling up their opinions about their case and not discussing it with anyone. While it might be okay to confide in your closest friends or family members, to avoid incriminating yourself, it’s generally safer to keep quiet about your case unless you’re talking to your attorney. This is an important tip to remember, as you may be questioned about the case out of the blue, and you should be prepared to decline to comment.
5. Don’t Let the Situation Control Your Life in the Meantime
Finally, one more tip that applies to everyone who is facing criminal charges – particularly for serious offences – is to not let the situation control or ruin your life during the period leading up to the trial. Try to go on about your business as normally, as this will help you keep stress levels low, make better decisions, and maintain a more professional appearance that will convey your innocence.
A Good Lawyer is the Greatest Asset You Can Have
Ultimately, since your attorney will be acting as the mediator between you and the courts, choosing the right person to represent you is probably the most important decision you’ll have to make before the commencement of the pre-trial phase.
If you or your child was charged with allegedly committing shoplifting as a minor, it is extremely important to retain the services of a skilled and respected Las Vegas defense attorney. Why? Because a conviction could haunt you or your child for years into the future and impact applying to college, pursuing certain career paths, purchasing a home, and so forth.
Overview of Shoplifting Law in Nevada
Under Nevada law, shoplifting occurs when someone “intentionally steals, takes or carries away” store property. The actual legal term for shoplifting is “larceny.” The seriousness of a larceny charge depends primarily on the value of the goods allegedly stolen.
If, for example, someone is arrested for shoplifting $650 or more worth of store property, then the individual could be charged with grand larceny, a felony offense. Conversely, if someone is arrested for shoplifting less than $650 worth of property, then they may be charged with petty larceny, a misdemeanor offense.
How Minors are Prosecuted for Criminal Offenses in Nevada
When a defendant charged with a crime is under the age of 18, that person is usually not dealt with in the traditional criminal justice system. Instead, they are prosecuted through the juvenile justice system, which has its own courts, judges, prosecutors, and rules. However, the crime of shoplifting is the same for juveniles as it is for adults. The only difference is how a juvenile court handles the criminal case.
Viable Defenses Against Shoplifting Charges
If your or your child are charged with shoplifting in Las Vegas, do not give up hope. There are an array of defenses an experienced Las Vegas criminal attorney may explore employing on your behalf when challenging a shoplifting charge. Here are examples of some potential defenses:
- You lacked the requisite intent to commit the shoplifting charge – The state must, prove beyond a reasonable doubt, that you intended to permanently deprive the store of the goods. If you intended to return them, or you accidentally walked out forgetting to pay, then the charges could be challenged.
- The police charged the wrong person – Perhaps in the heat of the moment, the storeowner attributed the theft to you, when the offense was actually committed by another person. If your Las Vegas defense lawyer can raise a reasonable doubt that you were not the person who shoplifted the items at issue, then your charges could be dropped or dismissed.
- You actually owned the property that was allegedly shoplifted – It is possible that you already owned the items at issue and the store owner or employee mistook the items for their property. You may have already paid for the items and the store owner or employee forgot about the purchase. If your defense attorney can show that you already owned the items, then shoplifting charges are not viable.
Take Action – Contact an Experienced Las Vegas Shoplifting Defense Lawyer
Juvenile shoplifting is a serious criminal charge. Any shoplifting conviction could have a serious impact on the long-term future of the juvenile, as well as the juvenile’s family. Whether you have been charged with juvenile shoplifting or you are a parent or guardian of a juvenile who is facing these charges, take action by contacting LV Criminal Defense, 400 S. 7th St #401, Las Vegas, NV 89101, 702-623-6362. Our team of skilled and experienced attorneys stand ready to help.
Many times, we have seen innocent people going to jail for a sex offence they did not commit. As devastating as it sounds, it is the sad reality. What makes it even worse is that these cases tend to take a wrong turn very quickly.
The life long consequences of a sex offence conviction are hard to overstate. That is why it is key that you make sure your attorney is an expert in all the best sex crime lawyer defense strategies.
According to experience, you might end up serving time if two things happen first if the complainant has enough evidence.
Second, if the lawyers are not too smart to counter the evidence, either way, it is the job of your lawyer to ensure you don’t end up in jail. But worry not, you are innocent until proven guilty.
Here are ways on how to prove innocence when falsely accused.
Take Matter Seriously
After our involvement in many such cases, we noticed that the biggest challenge is normally the client.
This is because they often take the accusations lightly. Their innocence tends to blind them from seeing the imminent danger. With such an attitude, they often prison without knowing it.
Eventually, the lawyers will have a hard time proving your innocence. This will waste too much time dealing with your state of mind than on the case. So the minute you are accused falsely, take the accusation seriously. That way, it will be easy for your lawyers to do their jobs and prove your innocence.
During your arrest, the police will read your rights as they handcuff you. The only phrase to pay attention to is ‘You have the right to remain silent.’ As lawyers, we always advise our clients to make use of that rightfully. Keep your mouth completely shut. This is because anything you say can and will be used against you in the court of law.
To avoid making matters worse, simply ask for a lawyer. So far, those are the only words you should utter. Exercising this right will give us an easy time when dealing with the case. We will have a clear idea of what they might use against you and plan for it.
Get The Best Lawyers
Acquiring the best attorneys is the next step that you should take. Make sure they are not only qualified but also have a good track record. They are the only people standing between you and the prison gates. Lawyers who understand criminal law perfectly will save you a lot of time and money.
They tend to know which stones to turn and which ones not to. They will also know if you are too incriminated for them to take a deal. Any move your lawyer takes will be critical to the case. Those are just some of the benefits of a good lawyer when being falsely accused. There are quite many more.
Don’t Get In Contact With Your Accuser.
Many clients usually say ‘If I just have a few words with the accuser, I may save myself.’ We have never seen that turn out well. Once you are accused, such thoughts should be discarded from your mind immediately. Having any contact with your accuser can make matters worse than they are. By doing that, you will be helping the complainant to build a strong case.
This is a very important point to note. Even if they request for a meeting so that you two can settle the matter, decline. Not unless it is officially done in the presence of you and your attorneys. They did accuse you once, what will stop them from adding other accusations?
Turning The Case Around Is One Way Of How To Prove Innocence When Falsely Accused
This is the work of your attorney. If he or she is smart enough, then the case can be turned around. Being that false accusation is a crime, you can scare off the accuser. We must make complainant know they will be charged if the accusations are false. We then go ahead and line up the charges they are risking to face.
If at all they have no chance of winning the case, they will withdraw their charges. Quite several cases we have worked on have had such a turn of events. You can even go ahead and file a case against them. That is if you want the accuser to pay for wasting your valuable time.
Gather As Much Evidence As Possible
Every decision the judge and the jury make in court is based on the evidence available. The prosecutor will have evidence, and so should you. A good attorney will look at every angle and collect all the evidence without living any behind. These include text messages, call logs, and anything to prove you are being accused falsely.
This is the only way you will be able to prove that you are not the perpetrator. In case the victim was raped, that is, and you just happened to be his or her target. If you gather enough evidence, then you will have an easy time proving your innocence.
Avoid Plea Deals
Some accusers usually want to run things fast and get what they want. The only way they can do this is by convincing you to enter a plea deal. We strongly advise that you should not fall for it. A plea deal is where you are asked to plead guilty in exchange to some leniency. Most plea deals tend to reduce your sentence.
No matter how good the plea deal is, try and avoid it as much as possible. Any great lawyer will tell you to keep off the plea deal and take your chances. You might end up taking a plea deal, and yet you would have won the case.
In A Nutshell
Being accused falsely is not something anyone can see coming. It might get you off-guard, and any step you take might cost you. So how do you defend yourself against false accusations? By following the above ways on how to prove innocence when falsely accused.
The list has been designed for anyone accused of rape. By applying every method, you will be able to do minimum damage and get results. The last thing you want is to end up in prison simply because you had no idea what to do.
Feel free to visit our website for more information on the law and to find your closest law office.