Facing Criminal Charges? Act now.
Of course, no one ever expects to be arrested for a criminal offense, and when it happens it can be an extremely stressful, anxiety-producing experience. There are many facets to criminal charges—most of which the average person would have no idea about. You may have many decisions to make, and you want to ensure you make the very best decision for yourself, your family, your future. An experienced criminal defense attorney from Martinson & Beason can help you make the very best decisions during this difficult time. Our attorneys can help you in the following areas:
At Martinson & Beason we understand that good people sometimes make bad choices. We are compassionate to your situation and will work hard to ensure your criminal charges have the least effect possible on your future.
The Collateral Consequences of a Criminal Conviction
Often, prosecutors in criminal cases may offer a plea deal—you will admit your guilt in return for lesser charges or a reduced sentence. It is extremely important to discuss all the aspects of a plea with your Alabama criminal defense attorney, as there can be repercussions you may not be aware of. Many people are unaware that in addition to the “normal” consequences of being convicted on a criminal charge, there can also be additional civil state penalties. These penalties are apart from the typical criminal consequences such as incarceration, fines or probation yet can be truly life-altering.
The civil actions taken by the state which are triggered by a criminal conviction can include the loss or restriction of a hard-earned professional license, the inability to continue to receive student loans or any Medicaid or welfare benefits, the potential loss of voting rights, and even deportation for those with immigrant status, even those who currently hold permanent resident status. In some cases, a person who has been residing in publicly-funded housing may find themselves evicted following a criminal conviction.
Following the direct and collateral consequences of a criminal conviction most people will also find themselves suffering certain social consequences such as the loss of their employment or social stigma by friends, family or community members. Arrests and legal proceedings are normally considered public record in the United States, meaning the information which is available after such an incident can be extremely detrimental to the person it concerns.
Even if, later on, the charges are found to be false, the social damage may already be done, with no way of undoing it. There are few, if any, legal remedies available for the myriad of collateral consequences which resulted from a criminal arrest, even if the accused is found to be innocent down the line. When severe collateral consequences occur, it is possible that the defendant may be considered to have been punished beyond the sentence issued by the law.
You will discuss your options with your Athens criminal defense attorney, and it is important that you factor in all the potential collateral consequences before making your decision on how to proceed. Your current and future career options must be weighed carefully, especially if you have worked hard for your present position through years of experience or considerable levels of higher education. Certain convictions can completely prohibit you from specific career options. As an example, school districts will not hire those convicted of a sex offense, no matter the circumstances surrounding the conviction.
Agencies which regulate those who handle chemicals may automatically preclude someone who has a drug conviction. Your criminal defense attorney may be able to negotiate a plea which involves a lesser or difference charge which will not end your employment opportunities in your field of expertise. A deferred adjudication may also keep your employer from considering your criminal charges in a negative light.
The prosecutor in a criminal case is responsible for convincing the jury of the defendant’s guilt; technically the defendant is not obligated to say a word in his or her own defense. While it would not be a good strategy, the defendant’s attorney could remain silent, present no witnesses and simply argue at the end of the trial that the prosecution failed to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Unfortunately, despite the fact that in the U.S. we are considered innocent until proven guilty, in reality, many people charged with a crime are thought of as guilty—by society, by the police, and even by jurors unless the defendant’s attorney can convince them otherwise. There are a number of ways an experienced Athens criminal defense attorney can set forth reasonable doubt before a jury, including:
- The Alibi Defense–Possibly one of the most common defenses is the alibi defense which can be utilized when the defendant can prove he or she was somewhere other than the scene of the crime, therefore could not possibly have committed the crime.
- Exonerating circumstances—Even if the defendant is guilty of the crime in question, he or she may be able to avoid punishment by asserting one of the following defenses: self-defense, insanity or an inability to distinguish right from wrong.
- Impairment—While it might seem counterintuitive to claim intoxication when the crime was committed (since there are penalties for that as well), a criminal defense attorney may choose to argue that due to drugs or alcohol your mental functions were so impaired that you cannot be held accountable.
- Coercion or Entrapment—When a person is coerced to commit a crime by an undercover police officer, then technically he or she may not be held accountable for the crime. It should be noted, however, that the entrapment defense rarely works, as police officers are given wide latitude in their actions.
Getting Help for Your Criminal Charges from a Martinson & Beason Attorney
If you have been arrested and charged criminally, it is extremely important that you speak to a highly qualified Athens criminal defense attorney from Martinson & Beason who will aggressively protect your rights during the coming difficult period of time. Contact Martinson & Beason today for a comprehensive evaluation of your criminal charges.