A criminal case can happen when you least expect it. It could be an accident on your end, or it could be you trying to act in self-defense. Regardless of the reason, criminal charges are something you face and not run away from. Even in a peaceful place such as Oakland, crimes are a possibility and the chances of you being at the center of one are always present.
According to Neighborhood Scout, Oakland has a crime rate of 68 per 1,000 residents. It’s relatively small as compared to other cities. These include petty and heavy crimes. Whether you or someone you know has been accused of a crime, there are the right steps to take to prevent things from getting worse.
Here’s what you should do
Accept the notice
The first part of the legal process begins when a complainant files a case against you. Whether you are guilty or not, you’ll be called to stand in court. When you receive the notice to attend a hearing, accept it diligently, whether you are guilty or not. Keep in mind that once the case proceeds, you are neither guilty nor innocent.
Don’t try to run from the law as that is certainly a bad idea which could result in a heavier indictment for you. Whether you are guilty or not, it is necessary that you face the criminal offense and have it sentenced or cleared in the court of law. What’s good to know is that through this process, you don’t have to be alone.
Hire professional help
Facing criminal charges can be quite stressful and draining. The good thing is that there are people who will stay by your side. They include your friends and your family. If someone you are close with is facing criminal charges, then stay by their side as this is a really trying time for them and they need all the support they can. Aside from emotional support, you’re definitely going to need professional help as well. Finding an Oakland criminal defense attorney is as easy as browsing through the yellow pages or through the internet. There are many law firms that offer a wide array of services which include defending you during a criminal case.
You’d want to find an attorney who’s nearby where you live. Keep in mind that you’ll be going back and forth from the court to your home so the attorney must be someone who’s easily accessible. Of course, it’s always better to look at the track record of the attorney so you can see whether they can really defend you or not.
One important thing to note is that you have to be honest with your attorney. Whether you’re guilty or not, you have to be upfront about what actually transpired which led to the criminal offense filed against you. Keep in mind that as they are defending you, they have the right to know what actually happened. The legal documents requested by the court is mostly handled by your attorney. All you have to do is coordinate with them and make sure that you attend all of the hearings requested. Failing to attend one could lead to serious penalties. Obviously, you wouldn’t want to look bad in front of the judge and jury as well.
If you don’t have the financial means to get legal support, then the court will offer free support for you. However, lawyers that work pro bono are typically handling many cases as well so there’s a chance that your criminal case will be fought for a longer time as compared to finding your own attorney. Getting an attorney does cost a lot of money. However, if it’s the right sentence you are hoping to get, then a professional private attorney is the best investment you can make.
Accept the ruling
Whether you are proven guilty or innocent, you have to accept the judge’s ruling. Your attorney can file for a reconsideration of the case after all. The justice system is fair to all. Always keep in mind that your attorney will do all of their best to ensure that you get a fair trial but it’s not really up to them what the final ruling is.
A criminal case is something that you shouldn’t take lightly. It’s definitely something that you shouldn’t take on without the right legal help. The case can take as long as months, even years depending on the current case and also depending on various other factors. Just be patient and justice will be served eventually.