If you have been arrested for a DUI, criminal or drug charge in Mobile, Alabama, you need to consult a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. A conviction can mean the loss of your job, driver’s license or even your freedom. I offer affordable and quality legal representation for people with cases pending in state and municipal court such as in Mobile Municipal Court and in Gulf Shores Municipal Court. The initial consultation is free.
What Are the Steps in the Criminal Process?
- Bond Hearing
- At a bond hearing, the judge set your bond amount and any conditions of your bond as long as it is a bailable offense. Simply put, a bond is used to assure the defendant’s appearance in court as ordered. Generally, there are four different types of bonds, but normally, the judge will set a cash or corporate surety bond. A cash bond means that you have to pay the entire amount of bond into the court. With a corporate surety bond, you will have to pay a bonding company a percentage of your bond and the bonding company will post your bond. Bonding companies usually charge anywhere from 5 to 15 percent the amount of the bond set by the judge to get you out of jail. Sometimes, the judge or magistrate will let you sign your own bond. This is sometimes called a “signature bond”. If you post a bond and do not appear in court, the court could order that your posted bond be forfeited. Furthermore, the court could order that you be incarcerated until your trial date.
- At the arraignment, you will enter your plea. In other words, you will plead guilty or not guilty. If you are charged with a felony, you will not be able to plead guilty at an arraignment in district court. Even if you think you are guilty, I would recommend you plead not guilty and seek the advise of a criminal defense lawyer.
- Preliminary Hearing
- Preliminary hearings only for when you have a felony charge pending. At a preliminary hearing the judge will determine whether there was probable cause to arrest you. The hearing is not to determine if you are guilty or innocent of the charges against you. In laymen’s terms, the hearing is simply to determine if there was enough evidence to arrest you.
- In municipal and district court, you will have a trial if you do not accept a plea agreement. You will not have jury trial in this level. The prosecutor will present evidence of your guilty. Your attorney will present you side of the case. Furthermore, at the trial you have the right to testify or not. If you choose not to testify, no inference that you are guilty can be drawn from you not testifying. If you decide to testify, you will be subject to cross examination which simply means the prosecutor can ask you questions and you must answer them under oath. These answers can be used against you.
- If you were found guilty after a trial in either municipal court or district court, you have the right to appeal this matter to circuit court but you must do that within 14 days of the judgment.
What is a plea agreement?
A plea agreement is simply an offer from the prosecutor given to the defense attorney. The manner in which the plea agreement is handled varies from court to court.
What is the range punishment for a Misdemeanor?
The range of punishment for misdemeanor charges varies depending on whether your charge is pending in municipal court or state court.The range of punishment in state court generally for misdemeanors are:
- Up to a year in jail
- Fine up to $6,000 plus court costs
Except for DUI charges, generally the range of punishment in municipal court for misdemeanors are:
- Up to 6 months in jail
- Fine up to $500 plus court cost
Reasons to Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer
- Ensure that the prosecutor can legally prove the case against you.
- Argue your side of the case to prosecutor, court and jury.
- Negotiate a plea agreement.
- Help keep fines and court costs to a minimum.
- Help eliminate jail time or keep it to a minimum.
I have 15 years experience in practicing law. Let me put that experience to work for you. No matter what your charge is, whether you have a criminal charge or have a serious traffic ticket, learn why you should hire an lawyer. At the Monk Law Firm, the firm understands that sometimes problems don’t occur nine to five. Consequently, the firm is available on a limited basis to take your calls on the weekend and after hours. Please call the firm and leave a message. A lawyer will call you back as soon as possible.