What is Criminal Law?
Criminal law involves government prosecution of an individual for what has been classified as a crime. The case is tried by a state prosecutor who initiates the criminal law case. If a person is convicted of a crime they may face incarceration, fines or both.
What is A Crime?
A crime is defined as either an act or omission of an act that is in violation of a local, state or federal law. Criminal laws vary from state to state and include both felonies and misdemeanors. Felonies are the more serious of the two classifications of crimes. A felony is punishable by a minimum of one year in prison and punishment extends up to the death penalty. A misdemeanor is punishable by less than one year in prison. Both categories may also include fines.
Criminal law consists of two key elements, an act and a mental state. For an individual to be convicted the prosecution must prove all elements of the crime charged beyond a reasonable doubt.
The Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the Constitution are the Amendments that are involved in all criminal matters.
Fourth Amendment - The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Fifth Amendment - No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
Sixth Amendment - In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.
How We Can Help
The Law Firm of Clark King & Michel, P.C. can help guide you through the complex legal proceedings once you have been arrested for a crime. Through an agressive defense we will make sure your voice is heard and your rights are not violated.
What Happens if I am Arrested or Questioned by the Police?
If you are arrested or if you are approached or questioned by the police do not talk. Make no statements regarding their investigation even if you feel intimidated. Remember, you have an absolute right to remain silent. While statements you initially make may seem harmless to you they can damage any defense that will be presented on your behalf.
Request that all questioning cease and you be allowed to contact an attorney. Retain an attorney who specializes in criminal defense as soon as possible.
Remember the following:
1. The Police can lie to you.
2. The police have no legal power to make a promise regarding your prosecution, they cannot "make a deal" with you, this can only be done by the state prosecutor.
3. The police cannot search your home without a warrant or your consent. Do not give them consent.
4. Do not discuss your case with anyone except your attorney.
5. Under the 4th Amendment you have a right not to be searched without a legally valid reason. You can refuse to consent to a police search. If the police search you anyways they must be able to show the Judge, in Court, why they had "probable cause" to search you.
6. You have a right to remain silent. The police, the prosecutor and agents of the State cannot force you to speak or answer questions.
7. Under the 6th Amendment you have a right to be represented by an attorney.