Criminal Defense — An Overview
Criminal law does not concern itself with private disputes between individuals, but rather to offenses against the public order as defined by the laws of the state. An individual who commits an alleged crime is arrested and then faces a formal criminal charge if the facts are sufficient enough to charge him or her with a crime. Individuals accused of a crime are called defendants, and they are represented by criminal defense attorneys. A prosecutor, who represents the people or the “state”, pursues the charges against the defendant.
The Defense Process
The criminal law process involves a strict set of rules and procedures both the defense attorney and prosecutor must follow to ensure a fair trial for the accused. If the case goes to trial, the prosecutor has the burden to prove to either a judge or jury of peers that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
A conviction or “guilty verdict” results if the prosecution proves the crime was committed. A defendant will be “acquitted” if a jury or judge does not believe the facts are sufficient enough to convict the person on trial beyond a reasonable doubt.
Many cases in the criminal justice system resolve by way of plea agreement between the prosecutor and the defense. Negotiating plea deals is a critical skill a criminal defense attorney must possess in addition to strong legal knowledge and exemplary trial skills.
Getting an Experienced Attorney on Your Side
The procedures involving criminal law are complicated. To mitigate the consequences you could face, hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney is very important.
At Canan Law, our attorneys have over 60 years of combined experience defending individuals in St. Augustine, St. Johns County, and Northeast Florida facing a wide variety of both misdemeanors and felonies, including but not limited to:
- DUI arrests and accidents
- Leaving the scene of a crash
- DUI serious bodily injury or DUI manslaughter charges
- Drug offenses, including trafficking, sale, and possession
- Sex offenses as misdemeanors or felony charges
- Felony or misdemeanor assault and battery
- Juvenile or college crimes
- Kidnapping or homicide
- All federal crimes
- Burglary and car theft
- Traffic offenses, including license suspensions
We also represent individuals during arraignment or bond hearings. A bond hearing is where those arrested are brought before the court to be informed of the charges for arrest and to determine eligibility for release on bond. Arraignment is where those arrested are next brought before the court upon formal charges to enter their plea.
Board-Certified in Criminal Defense
Our lawyer, Daniel Hilbert, is a board-certified criminal defense attorney by The Florida Bar. Mr. Hilbert and several of our other criminal defense attorneys are all former state prosecutors who have the trial experience and skills necessary to defend criminal allegations of all types.
If you have been arrested or need an attorney to defend against your felony or misdemeanor offense or traffic citation, contact our team to learn about what we have done for clients in similar situations and how we can help protect your rights now and in the future.
Experienced Advocacy You Need
No matter how minor the charge, you should be represented by knowledgeable, competent counsel who can work through the criminal justice system, give you zealous representation, and minimize the impact of the proceedings on your life.
Some cases may result in imprisonment, house arrest, or probation. Many situations affect an individual’s life long after the person has paid a fine or served time in jail or prison, such as loss of employment or housing.
We will fight for you in court, or if it is the right solution, we will work to settle the case. Our team always uses a two-tiered approach where we analyze what is best for you in order to achieve your goals.
You may be wondering if you will go to jail or how much hiring an attorney will cost. At Canan Law, experienced legal help can be more affordable than you think. It can be a huge help to consult with us before you are arrested, such as when the police begin investigating you or speaking to your friends and family.
If the arrest comes as a surprise, follow these steps to ease the process:
- Stay silent. You do not need to answer police questions or incriminate yourself. Trying to explain the situation can backfire quickly. Follow police commands immediately, such as walk, sit, or stand. Do not resist arrest, or it may hinder your case.
- Ask for your lawyer immediately. Continue asking until granted this right. This is the only thing you should say to the police.
- If you are arrested, contact a bail bondsman or a friend to help get you out.
- Gather evidence for your case. You will need to identify witnesses and any relevant evidence to give to your attorney. This will help form their defense for the case.
- Be honest with your lawyer. Anything you say is kept confidential from everyone else, including the police. A lawyer does not use what you say against you.
Call Our Office 24/7: (904) 849-2266
The police do not work 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., so neither do we. If you have been arrested or need an attorney to defend against your criminal or traffic offense, contact our team to learn about what we have done for clients in similar situations and how we can help protect your rights now and in the future. We offer free consultations for your criminal law case.