Violent crime charges are handled with great seriousness in the criminal justice system and may be judged by either the state or federal courts depending upon the severity of the crime. Homicide, aggravated robbery and assault resulting in serious bodily injury are several violent crime charges that can carry lifetime sentences. If you are facing charges regarding a violent act, then here are the first steps to take when handling your case.
Gather the Facts
A violent crime case is often complex and involves intensive investigation into the details of the crime. Forensic evidence, statements from witnesses and your past criminal history will all play a role in how your case is presented to the court. During the initial stages of prosecution, you should know exactly what charges you are facing along with the circumstances that led up to your arrest. The process of gathering the facts can be streamlined with the help of an attorney experienced in handling violent crime charges.
Know Your Rights
From the moment your charges are filed until your case has been judged, you have rights granted to you under the U.S. Constitution. Per Cornell University Law School, substantive due process holds that these rights should be made known to you by the arresting officers if any statements you make may be used against you in the courts. The rights of the accused also grant you the right to a fair and speedy trial with representation by qualified legal counsel.
Prepare the Defense
Once your charges have been filed, it is important to begin working with an attorney immediately to prepare a strong defense. In violent crime cases, the courts frequently appoint the toughest prosecutors to the case and will have conducted a thorough investigation. Therefore, your attorney will work with you to identify any facts that can help you to lessen the charges or associated penalties while working in your defense.
The first steps you take after being charged with a violent crime can have a significant impact upon the outcome of your case. Therefore, it is important to respond with urgency to any claims that you committed a violent crime. By knowing your rights and making sure that they are upheld with the assistance of an attorney, you will be able to defend your case in court while knowing that you have taken the appropriate measures to ensure the best possible future.