For the average person, being arrested and charged with a criminal offense is a frightening and confusing experience. No matter home many times you have seen an arrest play out on television it does not prepare you for your own arrest. Hopefully, you do realize the importance of retaining the services of an experienced Nebraska criminal defense attorney to represent you as soon as possible. Do you know though, what to expect from your criminal defense attorney? If you have never needed one before you likely have no idea exactly what to expect. Although every criminal prosecution is unique, there are some common things that almost every defendant should be able to expect from any Nebraska criminal defense attorney, including:
- Information – unless you have been a defendant before, there is no reason you would have any idea what happens after your arrest. For most people, therefore, their most immediate need is information. Your criminal defense attorney should, therefore, provide you with answers to common questions such as:
- What exactly are the charges?
- What is my bond?
- When do I have to go to court?
- What evidence does the prosecution have against me?
- What potential punishment am I facing?
- Guidance – along with information should come guidance. Understandably, you have no idea what you are supposed to do next following an arrest, nor do they know how the criminal justice system works. Your attorney should provide you with guidance by explaining the likely steps you will take as well as the likely moves the prosecution will make during your case.
- Advice – you will need to make a number of potentially life-altering decisions during your criminal case. Among the most important of those will probably be the decision to enter into a guilty plea agreement with the State of Nebraska or take your case to trial. Contrary to what many people believe, your attorney’s job is not to tell you what to do but to give you advice that will help you make the decisions. Your attorney should tell you what the likely consequences or outcomes will be if you make a particular decision; however, most decisions in a criminal prosecution are the defendant’s to make.
- Protection – as an accused you have a number of important Constitutional rights, most of which are found in the first ten amendments to the Constitution which, collectively, are referred to as the “Bill of Rights.” Some of these rights you are likely familiar with, while others may not be as familiar, such as:
- The right to remain silent
- The right to an attorney
- The right to a speedy and public trial by jury
- The right to confront and cross examine witnesses against you
- The right against unreasonable searches and seizures
- The right to appeal a conviction
Your criminal defense attorney should not only explain these rights to you and how they apply in your case, but should also make sure you exercise your rights when appropriate.
- Advocacy – finally, your criminal defense attorney should be your number one advocate. Precisely what that means in your case will depend on the facts and circumstances as well as the decisions you make as a client. Sometimes, being an advocate means your attorney will challenge actions by law enforcement, such as an illegal search and seizure. At other times, advocacy may mean negotiating a plea agreement with the most favorable terms possible while in still other prosecutions advocacy means defending you at a trial.
- Voice – throughout the prosecution of your case, from the moment your attorney is retained, he/she should be your voice. You should not speak to anyone regarding your case without consulting first with your criminal defense attorney. All that should ever come out of your mouth are four simple words – “Speak to my attorney.”
If you have been charged with a criminal offense in Nebraska your first, and most important, step should be to retain the services of an experienced Nebraska criminal defense attorney. Contact Petersen Criminal Defense Law 24 hours a day at 402-509-8070 to discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney.