Given the likelihood of severe penalties and the long-term implications of a conviction, a criminal charge is something that you need to treat with a lot of seriousness and urgency. The prospect of incurring hefty fines, serving years in prison, and permanently ruining your personal and professional reputation can be incredibly stressful and distressing. This is why you need all the legal assistance you can get. If you have been formally accused of a crime, you need to get in touch with an experienced Lebanon criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to protect your rights and ensure the best outcome in your case.
It is your right to defend yourself against any charges laid against you. However, navigating the complex Tennessee justice system on your own can be intimidating and is often fruitless. The police and prosecutors will be relying on your ignorance to help put you behind bars. Keep in mind that even the slightest mistake can seal your fate.
Our skilled criminal defense attorneys at Nash Law have extensive experience dealing with criminal cases and they interact with police, prosecutors, and judges on an almost regular basis – it is essentially part of their work. Our attorneys understand exactly how all these parties operate and they will use that as well as their knowledge and vast resources to craft the best legal defense for you.
If you’ve been arrested and charged with a crime, it doesn’t mean the end of the world for you. We are fully prepared to offer you the necessary legal assistance and we’ll leave no stone unturned when finding the best defense options in your case. Call us today at 615-627-4529 to protect your rights and minimize potential penalties.
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What Are Your Rights as a Criminal Defendant in Tennessee?
Once you are arrested and charged with a crime, you officially become a criminal defendant. And as a criminal defendant, you are entitled to certain rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution. However, as many people aren’t familiar with the law, they usually aren’t aware of their rights, which puts them at a great disadvantage.
A Lebanon criminal defense attorney will help you understand your rights and help you avoid some common pitfalls that can jeopardize your case. With that being said, here are your rights as a criminal defendant:
The Fourth Amendment Rights
The Fourth Amendment protects you against any unwarranted searches and seizures. Under this amendment, the police can not search you without probable cause. Additionally, any evidence against you that has been obtained illegally can’t be used against you in a court of law.
The Fifth Amendment Rights
The Fifth Amendment provides the right to remain silent and the right not to be placed in double jeopardy. The right to remain silent, also known as Miranda Rights, is meant to protect criminal defendants against self-incrimination both during arrest and at trial. In addition, you can’t be forced to testify.
Your right not to be placed in double jeopardy protects you from being on trial more than one time for the same offense.
The Sixth Amendment Rights
The Sixth Amendment provides several rights including:
- The right to representation: This guarantees your right to enjoy the assistance of an attorney.
- The right to a speedy trial: While there is no specified time limit, the judge will determine whether your case was unconstitutionally delayed.
- The right to a public jury trial: You have the right to be tried by a jury of your peers. It also guarantees the right to have family, friends, and the press present during the trial.
- The right to confront witnesses: Under the Sixth Amendment, you are allowed to confront your accuser and witnesses in court. This gives you the opportunity to counter any testimony made against you.
The Eighth Amendment Rights
The Eighth Amendment provides you with the right to reasonable bail as well as protection against cruel and unusual punishment.
What Is a Misdemeanor Vs a Felony in Tennessee?
In the State of Tennessee, crime is classified into two categories: misdemeanors and felonies. This is based on the severity of the offense. A misdemeanor is a less serious crime and carries lighter penalties including a jail sentence not exceeding one year, probation, community service, rehabilitation, and fines.
On the other hand, a felony is a more serious crime that carries more severe penalties including a minimum of one year in jail and the forfeiture of certain civil rights or constitutional rights, for instance, losing your right to carry certain state licenses and you right to bear arms.
The two also differ in terms of legal procedures. In a misdemeanor case, the defendant doesn’t stand trial before a jury while in a felony case, they can potentially face a jury.
Should I Consult a Lawyer Before Speaking to the Police?
Once you are put under arrest, it is utterly important that you exercise your Miranda Rights and wait for guidance from your attorney. While you may think that talking to the police will help ease the suspicion, this is never the case. Even if you are innocent of the crime that you are accused of, you may provide statements that may put you at risk of being charged with other related or unrelated crimes that weren’t part of the investigation.
Also, keep in mind that the police are allowed to use various tactics including lying and manipulation to try and get a confession out of you. An experienced Lebanon criminal defense attorney is well familiar with these tactics and will help protect you from manipulation, self-incrimination, and constitutional violation. You should definitely consider consulting an attorney before speaking to the police.
What Is the Habitual Offender Law?
The Habitual Offender Law is a law that allows the judge to award stiffer penalties on repeat offenders. In the State of Tennessee, drivers are considered repeat offenders if they are convicted of certain motor vehicle-related offenses (including DUI, vehicular assault, vehicular homicide, voluntary manslaughter with a vehicle, etc.,) three or more times within a period of five years or five times within a period of ten years. In such cases, the judge can revoke their license for a period of three years.
How Can a Criminal Defense Lawyer Help Me?
When facing a criminal charge, it is in your best interests to hire a Lebanon criminal defense attorney. An attorney will not only provide you with expert legal guidance, but they will also take all the necessary steps to ensure that your rights are protected. They will help minimize the potential negative consequences that you might face by working out a favorable plea deal or help you get back your life by proving your innocence or having your case dismissed by proving a violation of your rights. Here’s what you can expect from an attorney:
Your attorney will assess your case thoroughly and conduct investigations to collect as much information as possible about the case in order to build a strong defense for you. They will interview witnesses, work with investigators and expert witnesses to support their theory.
In most cases, when facing a criminal charge, your best option is to enter a plea bargain, especially if there is sufficient evidence to find you at fault for the crime. An attorney will be instrumental in negotiating a favorable plea bargain on your behalf. The aim here will be to lessen your charges or potential sentence.
Ability to Gauge Case Outcomes
Our attorneys have years of experience dealing with criminal cases. This experience combined with their knowledge of the law will help them determine the most possible outcome in your case. They will help you determine if it’s worth going to trial or taking a plea bargain.
Knowledge of Law Court Rules
Your attorney has a clear understanding of the criminal justice system. They have in-depth knowledge of criminal law and are accustomed to court procedures. They will be able to identify any loopholes or inconsistencies that can be used in your favor. In addition, they are familiar with the prosecutors and judges and they will be able to tailor your defense to ensure the best outcome.
If a plea deal isn’t applicable in your case, your attorney will prepare to present your side of the case before the court and jury. Our attorneys have long-standing trial experience and know-how to present a persuasive well-documented case to secure a not-guilty verdict.
What Is the Cost of Legal Representation?
The cost of retaining a Lebanon criminal defense attorney will vary depending on the uniqueness and severity of your case. We will discuss money matters with you after an evaluation of your case.
Is There a Benefit to Having a Private Attorney vs. a Court-Appointed Attorney?
There are many benefits to having your own private attorney rather than a court-appointed attorney. For starters, a public defender won’t be fully committed to your case given the large number of cases that they have to deal with. They don’t have enough time to properly investigate your case, collect and analyze evidence, and build a strong defense for you. On the other hand, a private attorney has the time and the resources needed to ensure the defense for you. Since they only work on a limited number of cases, your attorney will remain devoted to you and your case throughout.
Can You Represent Yourself?
You have the option to represent yourself in court, but for your own sake, you shouldn’t consider this option. Prosecutors know how much easier it is for them to deal with defendants who choose to represent themselves compared to one who has an experienced attorney working for them. They will be preying on your ignorance and incompetence and will be determined to tear your case to shreds. In addition, the court isn’t likely to take you as seriously as it would when you have an aggressive attorney fighting for you.
Should I Accept a Plea Bargain?
Whether or not you should accept a plea bargain will mainly depend on the specific facts of your case, the plea deal itself, and the consequences of a potential conviction. While there are many advantages to accepting a plea deal, the rule of thumb is to only do so after consulting an experienced criminal defense attorney. Your attorney will help you weigh the pros and cons and advise you on the best way forward. They may advise you to accept the deal, negotiate a better deal, or prepare for trial.
Appealing a Conviction in Tennessee
If you’ve Lebanon court has found you guilty of a crime, you may be eligible to file a direct appeal with the Court of Criminal Appeals. Here, you need to explain what you believe went wrong in the trial or sentencing. The Attorney General’s Office will then file a brief with their response.
The Court of Criminal Appeals will review your case and issue their decision. At this stage, either of the parties can seek permission to appeal the decision with the Tennessee Supreme Court. If permission isn’t granted the decision of the Court of Criminal Appeal will stand.
For defendants who didn’t file an appeal or lost their direct appeal, they will have one year from the date of final judgment to file for post-conviction relief. This is a request to overturn a sentence based on constitutional violations.
Talk to a Professional Lebanon Criminal Defense Attorney Today!
If you’ve been accused of committing a crime, you need to take immediate action and talk to an experienced criminal defense attorney at Nash Law. Given the high stakes involved, you need someone reliable and experienced enough to help handle your situation effectively and ensure that your rights and best interests are protected. While no attorney can guarantee your freedom, we have what it takes to guarantee the best and most favorable outcome in your case. Call us today at 615-627-4529 for a free evaluation of your case.