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Stuff happens. We all make mistakes. Whether you're wrongfully accused or you just made a bad decision, the fact is, You Are INNOCENT Until Proven Guilty Beyond a Reasonable Doubt. You may hear some cynics say "guilty until proven innocent" but those folks must have hired the wrong criminal defense lawyer or just had a public defender.
You've probaly heard a criminal lawyer use the term "beyond a reasonable doubt" on TV or Law and Order a hundred times, but you probably didn't know that the Georgia Supreme Court says that it's equivalent "to a moral and reasonable certainty." Wow, that means the jury has to be reasonably certain you committed the crime. Nowadays, with hackers, photoshop, fake news, abusive police, and catfish profiles... it's hard to be certain of anything in life. Jurors today are connected to the world. They're smarter than ever and they don't trust the government any more than they trust the politicians or the news media.
What do I do after I've been arrested?
Protect yourself! Get a defense lawyer who knows her stuff. Ignore the police when they want to "help you." It is LEGAL for them to lie to you. You must assert and protect your right to be silent. Actually, being silent is really not enough. Did you know that if you just sit there and say nothing then the police can keep questioning you ALL DAY LONG. The US Supreme Court says that you cannot be passive with your right to remain silent. You must stand up for yourself and assert your right to a defense lawyer.
Memorize this sentence. "I do not want to talk to you and I want my lawyer." Now practice saying it three times out loud. Teach this phrase to your friends and your children. It may save their life or save their future. This phrase is like legal magic. Once you say these 13 words the cops must stop asking you questions without your defense lawyer present. Speaking to police or prosecutors or working out a deal without the help of a seasoned and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney is a poor strategy.
The Consequences of a Criminal Conviction
If you are convicted, the government will label you a "criminal" & your life will change. When you apply for a job, you will have to check "the box." When you apply for rental lease or for housing assistance, you will be more likely to be denied. If you decide you want to learn a skill or go back to school, you may be denied financial aid. If you are an immigrant you may be deported & if you are a citizen, you could lose your voice... your right to vote.
If you go to court alone, before the judge even enters the room, the sheriff deputy on duty will make an announcement asking everyone in the room to fill our a form in order to plea guilty. You may have an opportunity to talk to the prosecutor who will intimidate you with the maximum penalty and then intice you with an exploding plea "deal" that expires if you don't make the life changing decision in the next 5 minutes. The prosecutor will not care about your rights and will encourage you to sign a paper waiving your right to a defense lawyer & jury trial. You will not be told about all of the consequences in the paragraph above. You are more likely to learn about these long term consequences from an inmate than from a judge accepting your guilty plea.
There is also a price that "criminals" pay that nobody talks about. The shame of the stigma of having a criminal record follows you long after you have repaid your debt to society. Your family, friends, church, and co-workers will see you differently and so you will hide your embarrasing secret. Your family will be hurt. Your mentors will blame themselves. A prospective employer might stop looking at you in the eye in the middle of an interview when they see "the box" is checked. If you can't find a job or find a place to live, you will have to beg your family to share their roof. Unfortunately, if your family is recieving housing assistance, the lease might not allow you to stay there. With no job and no place to live, you may not be able to support your children. You may not be able to even support yourself.
But now you are a step ahead of everyone else. You are taking the step of doing your research and now you know the consequences to make an informed decision. Did you learn something today? I have only scratched the surface here explaining some of the aspects of criminal justice. The law is complicated and it takes years to master the art of practicing law. Make sure that when you decide to hire a lawyer that you study their website. Hire someone who values your rights and is willing to fight for you. Avoid lawyers with websites that arrogantly just talk about themselves and what a great, experienced lawyer they are but fail to teach you about the law. Look for specific information and not just vague claims of honesty, talent, and results. You can actually objectivly measure these claims without the company's bias by simply reading the online reviews of the law firm.
We have experience helping individuals charged with the following:
DUI — A DUI conviction has life-changing consequences. You could experience jail, increases in your insurance rates, or a loss of your driver's license. Your employer could fire you for violating its zero-tolerance policy related to criminal convictions. With so much at stake, you need an aggressive advocate speaking on your behalf and protecting your rights.If a criminal defense lawyer focuses primarily on jail time, fines, probation, and community service, without even mentioning the long term consequences I have described in this article, run away because they are only looking at half of the picture.
Drug Crimes — At Daniels & Taylor, P.C., we represent clients charged with drug possession and manufacturing. Many have found themselves facing criminal charges because of an addiction. We get to the source of the problem and find the best resolution for you. Some judges would rather see you get treatment than go to jail. Other judges like to give boot-camp, probation and/or community service to let you straighten out your act.
WE CAN HELP YOU! Contact our Lawrenceville law office at 770-604-1380.
Sex Crimes — The lifetime consequences of a sex crimes charge mandate that you seek immediate representation from an aggressive, experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney. If you get on the sex offender registry, you may not be able to find a place anywhere to live. You'd be surprised how many homeless people under a bridge got there because of a sex crime conviction... Resolving the matter on your own is simply not an option. You need help to protect not only your rights, but also your reputation.
Juvenile Crimes — While the focus of juvenile crimes is rehabilitating your teenager, more serious charges could result in your child being charged as an adult. One mistake as a child should not impact the rest of their life. The black mark on their record could prevent them from attending college or working their dream job.
Traffic Violations — Traffic tickets are more than just an annoying nuisance. As they add up, you could face loss of your driver's license and skyrocketing insurance rates. If you just pay the fine now, you might keep paying the cost month after month on your premium as well. If you don't have time to hire a lawyer before going to court, or even if you are in the Courthouse lobby right now, when your name is called, tell the judge that you need some extra time to hire a lawyer and you could get your case pushed off until later. Violations are not a minor crime and you should take them seriously by seeking the help of an attorney.
Property Crimes — If you have been charged with a property crime, including shoplifting, receiving stolen goods or destruction of property, you must defend your reputation. People simply won't trust you if you have a property crime on your background check. Don't you want to be able to get a job? Or maybe you want to go to college? It could certainly prevent you from getting a law licence, nursing license, or other professional license. These are all good reasons that you need an aggressive criminal lawyer. We have years of experience successfully defending property crimes. You may qualify for government programs to keep your record clean while you just pay a fine, do some community service, get some probation, or something else.
Assault & Battery — Charges for assault and battery carry serious consequences. If you have been involved in a street fight, bar fight or other physical confrontation, you probably regret it now. We all do things or say things that we regret when we are angry. Men have been fighting over women (and vice versa) since the beginning of time. You don't deserve to suffer for years over a 10 minute bad choice. Prosecutors will take advantage of you if you show up to court all alone. You need an experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney by your side.
White Collar Crimes — Financial crimes have been front page news as our economy has faltered in recent years. Because of this, prosecutors have taken these crimes very seriously. If you have been charged with a white collar crime, you need experienced representation on your side.
We will protect your rights and make sure you receive the justice you deserve.
How do I hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer?
From our office in Lawrenceville, our lawyers represent clients in communities throughout Gwinnett County and Walton County, Georgia. Call us at 770-604-1380 or contact us by email to arrange a free consultation with one of our experienced Lawrenceville criminal defense attorneys today.