Do I need to hire a lawyer if I am arrested or accused of a crime in the Lafayette, LA area?
It is absolutely in your best interest to consult a lawyer as early as possible if you find yourself in the criminal justice system. An attorney knows the law, understands the proceedings, and is familiar with the players involved on all sides. A lawyer will fight for your legal and constitutional rights, and will monitor the proceedings for legality and fairness. If you cannot afford an attorney, you may be eligible for free legal counsel with the public defender’s office. Right to counsel is a constitutionally guaranteed – and for good reason.
What is the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor?
Exact definitions vary by jurisdiction, but the current definition of a felony in Louisiana is a crime that is punishable “by death or imprisonment at hard labor.” A misdemeanor is any crime other than a felony. Felonies are more serious crimes than misdemeanors, and have different short and long term consequences.
What should I do if I am arrested?
If the police arrest you, immediately ask to speak with an attorney. Be clear and straightforward – say, “I want to speak with an attorney.” If you clearly and expressly say that you want to speak to an attorney, the police must stop any questioning or interrogation.
Do not say things like, “Maybe I should talk to a lawyer,” or “Do you think I should speak with an attorney?” If your statement is ambiguous, the police may continue to question you and will try to obtain harmful statements against you.
Never speak to the police without your criminal defense attorney present; doing so could result in you incriminating yourself. Everything you say or do from the moment you come into contact with the officer can and will be used against you.
I’ve been arrested, when should I contact a lawyer?
Immediately. We like to meet with clients as soon as possible after arrest. Our clients can provide the most useful facts when their memory is best. Your lawyer also may need to gather evidence which may become lost, and finally, your lawyer can begin working with the client in reaching the best result possible.
What is bail?
Bail is money or other property that is deposited with the court to ensure that the person accused will return to court when he or she is required to do so. If the defendant returns to court as required, the bail will be returned at the end of the case, even if the defendant is ultimately convicted. The amount of the bail or bond (sometimes used interchangeably) is set by a judge or commissioner after arrest.
Many people use a bondsman to post bail. The fee paid to the bondsman (usually 10-12%) will not be returned.
On small bails ($1,000-3,000), I typically recommend people post a cash bond if possible, as it will be returned in full at the conclusion of the case or can be used to pay fines or court costs.
In Louisiana, a person can also post a property bond if the property is not mortgaged or encumbered and the value of the property is equal to or exceeds the amount of the bond.
Sometimes a bail amount or bond is too high and a lawyer can work to file a motion and have a hearing where the lawyer asks for the judge to reduce the bond on behalf of the defendant.
How much will it cost for representation?
It depends. The cost of defending against criminal charges will vary depending upon the charges, the facts of the case, and other factors. We usually charge a single flat fee for the entire representation. We will quote you an exact fee once we know the details about your charges and the facts of your case.
Why do you represent people accused of crimes?
We believe in the law and people.
Obviously, we want to ensure that no innocent person is convicted of a crime. We believe there is no greater injustice than for a society to allow innocent people to be imprisoned.
Next, regardless of guilt or innocence, we want to ensure that the State of Louisiana correctly performs its duties. The Constitution affords great rights to citizens. When the State oversteps its bounds, we take it personally. As citizens, we have to protect our rights or else we will lose them.
Finally, regardless of guilt, we try to help my clients become better people and citizens. we take great pride in saying that most of my clients become better – if only a little – after our representation.
Contact us today for a free consultation!
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