You need a lawyer ASAP if you or a loved one have been charged with a felony such as murder, assault, robbery, or sexual offense. In the meantime, here is my advice: KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT!
- Do not talk about the facts with anybody.
- If you are talking on a jail phone remember that all jail calls are recorded, so don’t say anything on the phone that you would not say to the judge’s face.
- Do not, under any circumstances, talk to the police without a lawyer. Once you have been charged with an offense, the police are turning their attention toward gathering evidence against you.
As a former prosecutor and as a criminal defense attorney I have been involved in the trial of criminal cases of all types, from DUI and traffic tickets up to capital murder. My experience is that if you have been accused of a serious criminal offense you need to seek counsel immediately.
If you have been arrested and charged with a felony offense, the very first thing you need to do is request a preliminary hearing. This is the first opportunity for you to get in front of a judge and ask questions of the police involved. You are entitled to a preliminary hearing, but you have to request it within 30 days of arrest. So do not waste time.
If more than 30 days have passed since your arrest, don’t panic, however, settle in on bond. Usually, if the case has not been dismissed at the preliminary hearing, it will be forwarded to the grand jury. This is a process that can take a while. Depending on the nature of the charges and the time of year you may have to wait months for the results of the grand jury.
Grand jury is a frustrating procedure for people accused of a crime. When your case is being considered by the grand jury, you do not have a right to be present. You do not have a right to know what is happening. In fact, it is a criminal offense for anybody to disclose what is said in the grand jury room.
The first thing you are likely to hear after the grand jury has deliberated is when a Sheriff’s deputy serves you. You will be served with an indictment and scheduled for arraignment.
If you have not hired an attorney by this point in the process, don’t waste another minute. After arraignment the next step is a trial, and you need to give your attorney time to prepare your defense. Call us now at 251.626.5052 or send us a note. We are experienced in serious crimes cases and we will help you find justice.