Erie Criminal Defense Lawyers
Being charged with a criminal offense that carries jail time, criminal penalties, and/or fines or have been arrested for suspicion of having committed a crime, is an event that means hiring a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
Whether the charges are minor or much more serious, the consequences of being involved in the criminal justice system can include going to jail, acquiring a criminal record, being faced with paying fines, losing a job or losing any future chances to be employed, destroy your reputation, your family, and, take your freedom.
It’s important to know that the Constitution guarantees an accused to the right to counsel in criminal prosecutions and if the accused cannot afford an attorney, one is appointed for them. There are instances where the court may decide an accused can hire a criminal defense lawyers based on his or her income.
How Much Does a Criminal Defense Attorney Cost?
Each criminal case is unique unto itself, with varying circumstances and details that make it entirely different than another case, even though both accused may be charged with the same offence.
In light of the differing circumstances of each case, the costs of hiring an Erie criminal defense attorney may vary. There are a number of factors that may affect what a criminal defense lawyer charges. Those factors may include:
- The accused’s salary – income is relevant because it determines if a defendants is eligible for a court-appointed attorney, or able to hire one on their own. In the event the accused qualifies for a court-appointed attorney, the court appoints a public defender.
- Experts and investigations – many criminal-defense cases involve complex issues and that may mean making use of investigators and/or expert witnesses to help strengthen a case.
- Criminal defense attorney’s fees – since each case is different, each case is usually billed according to its complexity, time, the skill and experience of the criminal-defense attorney, how serious the offense is, the amount of time involved in the criminal discovery process, how many tasks for delegated to paralegals or law clerks, whether or not the case has to go to trial and whether or not the criminal-defense attorney charges by the hour or charges a flat fee.
- Most criminal-defense attorneys charge an hourly rate, but may charge a flat fee for representation in a simple misdemeanor charge that may range from $1,000 to $3,000.
- Criminal-defense attorneys who bill hourly may charge from $150 to $700 an hour and may require a retainer.
Representing Yourself in a Criminal Matter is not a Good Idea
Criminal law is exceedingly complicated and complex. Representing yourself, also referred to as “pro se,” means arguing on your own behalf in a legal proceeding. If that is the route you wish to attempt, it is wise to consult with an experienced Erie criminal-defense attorney prior to responding to any criminal prosecution.
Consulting a criminal-defense attorney ensures that the charges being brought are appropriate, in light of the facts of the case, and the attorney may also be able to advocate on your behalf for a lower penalty if warranted. A great deal is riding on the circumstances of a criminal charge and if the information is not correct, or complete, it may affect the outcome.
An example would be if an individual was caught shoplifting a watch worth over $2,000 but the proprietor stated it was a Gucci watch and worth at least $5,500. The values cited for the watch are the difference between petty theft, a misdemeanor and grand theft, which is a felony. This is why consulting an experienced criminal-defense attorney is a good idea.
When to Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney
The best decision you can make to defend yourself is by hiring a criminal-defense lawyer when there is the possibility of being incarcerated. Do not wait. You need to know how serious your charges are, what your rights are, what the possible consequences may be and to completely understand the nature of the charges against you. You need to speak to a criminal-defense attorney prior to an arraignment.
A plea is entered at arraignment. It may be no contest, not guilty or guilty. By speaking to a Melaragno, Placidi & Parini criminal-defense attorney before arraignment, you get a recommendation on how to plead and representation in the hearing. The attorney is either going to ask that you be released on your own recognizance or request bail.
However, if you plead guilty, no contest or enter a plea bargain, the court schedules a date for sentencing. If you plead not guilty, a pre-trial conference comes next.
During a pre-trial conference, if it does not end with a solution or a plea bargain, then a judge or a jury trial hears the case. This is when the attorney can try to get your case thrown out due to lack of evidence, or may get a plea deal to reduce the charges, possibly resulting in probation and no jail or a reduction in the amount of time spent in jail.
Going to a trial means that you work closely with your criminal-defense attorney to develop a solid case strategy. Your attorney speaks for you, calls witnesses and cross examines prosecution witnesses. At trial, the state carries the burden of proof and has to convince a jury that you committed the stated crime, beyond a reasonable doubt.
Your criminal-defense attorney demonstrates to the jury that the burden of proof has not been met and therefore there is not sufficient evidence to convict you of the crime you were charged with. The case then goes to the judge or jury in order for them to render a decision.
If it turns out that you are convicted of the crime you were charged with, or if you accept a plea bargain, your Melaragno, Placidi & Parini criminal-defense attorney attempts to get a minimum sentence for you. If the judge/jury decided you have to serve jail time, the criminal-defense attorney attempts to convince the judge that either an alternative incarceration is in the better interests of justice or that probation would be more suitable.
While the process may sound relatively straightforward on paper, when it is in motion in the criminal court system, it is anything but straightforward. You need a criminal-defense attorney who keeps your best interests at heart and works to achieve them.
Cases We Handle at Melaragno, Placidi & Parini
Melaragno, Placidi & Parini have a former prosecutor on staff, and we have successfully handled thousands of cases, taking several hundred to trial. When you’re in a jam, facing charges, possibly facing jail and fines, you need an aggressive, effective and highly experienced criminal-defense attorney on your side.
We are available to discuss your case no matter where you are. Just call us for a free consultation. We handle the following types of cases:
- Criminal Defense Help
- Drug Crimes
- Homicide/Manslaughter cases
- Major Traffic Crimes
- Robbery and Burglary
- White Collar Crimes
Our attorneys have a superior reputation in the legal community and do everything in our power to obtain the best possible outcome for you. Call today for a free consultation.
I would recommend them to anyone and have!
John is a great attorney. John and his staff promptly return calls and emails when you have questions and concerns not only when the process starts but all the way to completion. John and his staff have been a godsend throughout. I would recommend them to anyone and have.