If you have been accused of, or charged with a crime, you have three options: You can get a public defender, you can hire an experienced criminal attorney, or you can represent yourself. The decision to be your own lawyer is rarely a good idea, and public defenders tend to be overworked. A good criminal defense attorney can either get rid of or substantially reduce the charge and punishment. Failing to take a criminal charge seriously can create a lot of trouble for you for the rest of your life. You could be sentenced to time in jail or prison, and you could be subject to significant fines. You cannot go into court without a defense. The criminal attorneys at O’Flaherty Law can provide aggressive and experienced criminal law representation to get you the best possible outcome.
We strive to be offer comprehensive legal care, and can handle many areas of law associated with a criminal case, such as:
Covid-19 should not put your legal needs on hold. You can receive a consultation and most legal services without leaving your home. Our attorneys are happy to speak to you by phone, video conference, or e-mail.
Traffic offenses can add up and significantly impact your autonomy. Address the issue and make sure you have an aggressive, experienced traffic law attorney on your side to guide you throughout the entire process.
No one should live in fear of physical violence, harassment, unwanted contact, or digital bullying, especially at home from a family member. Your right to feel safe is our top priority, and we will do everything we can to protect it.
We will aggressively protect your rights and fight on your behalf to achieve an efficient and cost-effective favorable outcome with your DUI case, regardless of any legal issue.
Expunging or sealing your criminal records is a cost-effective process that we will take the time to educate you on whether you are eligible for expungement. We will help you move forward with the best course of action up to and including sealing your records.
Being accused of a crime, especially if you face incarceration, is a frightening situation, and you need clear and understandable answers to your questions. The team at O'Flaherty Law will explain the situation and prepare you for what lies ahead. We will be at your side throughout the entire process. We are very experienced with criminal defense matters, and you can rest assured that the team at O’Flaherty Law will get you the best possible result for your situation. What makes O’Flaherty Law different from other criminal defense firms is our experience and commitment to client support. You will have an experienced team of professionals working for you to solve your legal problems. You do not have to go through the criminal court alone; you will have someone on your side. Contact the criminal defense team at O’Flaherty Law today.
The purpose of a consultation is to determine whether our firm is a good first for your legal needs. Although we often discuss expected results and costs, our attorneys do not give legal advice unless and until you choose to retain us. We take your legal matters very seriously, which is why with each consultation, we strive to ensure you feel confident about the future of your case.
You will meet with an O’Flaherty Law criminal attorney in an initial consultation, where your situation will be discussed and evaluated. Once you have signed an agreement with O’Flaherty Law, your attorney will begin to work on your case. You and your attorney will have a frank discussion about what your legal options are moving forward and how to best navigate the situation you are in. You can expect regular and clear communication about your case and its movement through the court system. Depending on your individual situation, you will also discuss the possibility of a plea bargain or getting charges dropped or reduced. Your attorney will be there to advise you the whole time and tell you if making an agreement will be worth it.
While civil law deals with disputes between people or businesses, criminal law is a dispute between a person or a company and the state where the legal violation occurred. Criminal law also covers disputes between a person or a business and the United States. One way to think about it is that in civil law disputes, the penalty is financial but, with criminal law, the punishment is typically the taking away of the convicted party’s freedom in addition to financial penalties.
A criminal law charge can be state or federal, and there are five general categories of crimes. To have a better understanding of what is considered a crime, here is a general explanation of how crimes are categorized.
Five General Categories:
Crimes Against a Person - some examples would be assault and battery, domestic abuse, kidnapping, sex crimes or murder.
Crimes Against Property - examples of crimes against property would be auto theft, shoplifting or robbery.
Inchoate Crimes - inchoate crimes are crimes such as conspiracy and aiding and abetting a criminal.
Statutory Crimes - these would include drug and alcohol related crimes and traffic offenses.
Financial Crimes - examples would be money laundering, tax evasion and embezzlement.
There are combinations of the above crimes listed above. Your criminal defense lawyer will explain them to you and develop a strategy for defense. It may be possible to get rid of one or more charges in a plea bargain depending on your circumstances, but of course, it is not certain. Your criminal defense attorney will be able to discuss possibilities with you.
Criminal procedure is the rules and practices that govern a criminal case. If proper procedure is not followed, the case may be dismissed. Substantive criminal law is the actual law, the statute, that provides the elements that must be proven by the state or federal government to find someone guilty of a crime. The standard of proof for a criminal case is higher than the standard of proof for a civil case, given that the punishments for the convicted are much harsher. Your criminal defense attorney will be able to explain to you how the two categories, procedural and substantive, will work together in your case.
Think of criminal law as a ladder. The least serious offense and the bottom rung of the ladder is an infraction, then it goes up to a misdemeanor and then up to a felony charge. Just like their severity, the penalties and punishment increase with each rung of the ladder.
Infraction - the least serious of criminal offenses. The definition of an infraction can vary depending on your jurisdiction, but an infraction comes with a very low fine and there is no possibility of spending any time in jail, let alone prison.
Misdemeanor - a misdemeanor is also a less severe offense. There are higher fines than for an infraction but depending on the misdemeanor or if there were multiple misdemeanors, you could have a jail sentence.
Felony - the most serious of offenses are felonies. They are serious crimes that include fines and jail or prison time. Often a charge that would typically be a misdemeanor becomes a felony the second or third time an offender engages in that action. Felonies are the most serious offense and stay on your record, influencing your future job prospects and even where you can live. While sometimes a felony can be expunged if enough time has passed or due to other circumstances, a felony will usually stay on your record for life, continuing to have an impact.
Things move depending on the court calendar, the severity of the crime, and negotiations between the attorneys. Here is a general idea of how a criminal case moves through the court system.
Chronology of a criminal case:
Investigation/arrest - the police undertake an investigation that leads to an arrest or arrest at the scene of the crime.
Charging - the district attorney or the US Attorney reviews the facts and evidence and decides if to charge the party with a crime, either state or federal.
Initial appearance/arraignment - an arraignment is where you appear in front of a judge, and you are advised of the charges against you, and the court asks you what your plea is (Guilty/Not Guilty/no contest). The court will set the terms of your release at this time, if any. If you have a criminal defense attorney, they can submit a waiver of arraignment and circulate your plea at the time.
Preliminary hearing - if you pled not guilty at your arraignment, you would have a preliminary hearing date set. A preliminary hearing is like a mini-trial with witnesses and evidence presented.
Discovery - the structured exchange of information between attorneys. Discovery typically includes items planned to use as evidence, leads to dispositive motions or bargaining for a lesser charge, even a motion to dismiss.
Plea bargaining - with the guidance of experienced counsel, you can agree to plead guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for other charges being dropped or lessened.
Pretrial motions - motion to dismiss, motion to suppress, motion for change of venue. An experienced criminal defense attorney will know when to use these motions as tools to boost your defense.
Trial - jury trial or bench trial? Depending on your circumstances, what your defense counsel thinks is the best option to receive a ruling of innocent, you have the right to a jury trial but sometimes a bench trial is the better option. A bench trial is when you only have a judge who makes a ruling on your case.
Your team at O’Flaherty Law will be available to you to answer your questions throughout your case. Although you will have open-door communication with your attorney, we want you to be fully informed. We have created a list of our most frequently asked questions with their answers and include them below.
Depending on the jurisdiction, the penalty for committing a crime classified as an infraction is a fine. There is no jail time for an infraction. It is just a financial penalty, but it will be on your record, which could be considered in the future.
A fine and jail time depend on jurisdiction and the nature of the crime. Some courts will order probation instead of jail time, but again, it depends on what you did and how the state where you committed the misdemeanor handles the crime.
Fine and incarceration depend on the severity and prior history of criminal acts. A felony conviction can mean jail or prison time depending on the conviction. You can expect harsher financial penalties, an extended sentence in either jail or prison, and probation after completing your incarceration. A convicted felon cannot vote, serve on a jury, or own a firearm. It is legal for a potential employer to run a background check on you and look for felony convictions. It can affect your being awarded certain professional licenses in the future. If not expunged, the felony conviction will stay on your record for life.
Criminal cases are not “settled” the same way that civil cases are. In civil cases you can reach a financial agreement with the other side and both parties walk away. In criminal cases, you will probably have to appear before the judge at least once, and you might not go to trial. In a way, the agreement will still need to be approved and placed on record by the court.
Each state has its own set of requirements that must be met in order to have a criminal record expunged. It is more likely that you can get a juvenile criminal record expunged, but getting an adult criminal record expunged can be difficult.
Depending on the severity of the crime, you may be able to have that record expunged. The timeframe and availability of that option varies by jurisdiction. A juvenile record does not affect your adult life unless it is for a significantly violent crime.
It depends. If you are applying for a job that involves a great deal of financial access and responsibility and you have been convicted for fraud and embezzlement, then you’re going to have a challenging time getting that job. It depends on what you were convicted of and the nature of the job you are applying for. One thing that you can be certain of is that if the hiring process requires you to disclose any criminal convictions and you fail to do so, they will find out and you will not be offered the position. A lot of the time people think if they just do not mention it, everything will be fine, but the opposite is true. Not disclosing makes you look dishonest, and therefore, untrustworthy to the hiring office.
As far as getting a loan, few banks look at criminal records because it is more about your credit score and how good you have been in the past about paying back what you owe.