Criminal charges and convictions can have serious consequences that could impact you for many years to come. Not only could a conviction result in numerous penalties, but it could also impact your entire life and reputation. Convicted felons, for example, often have difficulty gaining admission to school, finding a job, or finding a place to live later on in life.
The experienced Allegan criminal defense lawyers at the Van Den Heuvel Law Office understand the potential consequences associated with a criminal conviction and could represent you during your entire legal matter. In addition to representing you at your trial, a lawyer might be able to negotiate with a prosecutor and work out a favorable charge reduction or plea deal on your behalf.
Most misdemeanor criminal charges are less-serious criminal offenses that could result in fines and up to one year of incarceration if convicted. Felony charges are the most serious charges, and upon conviction, a sentencing judge could impose fines, a long prison sentence, or a term of probation, among other consequences.
In addition to fines and jail time, a judge could also order the accused to complete a certain number of community service hours. The experienced Allegan criminal defense lawyers at the Van Den Heuvel Law Office can work to minimize the consequences associated with your criminal charge or conviction.
Available defenses to a criminal charge depend upon the facts and circumstances involved in your case. The prosecutor is responsible for proving every element of a criminal charge beyond a reasonable doubt. In response, the accused could argue one or more legal defenses. Common defenses to criminal charges include the following:
Lack of intent — Many criminal offenses require that the accused have a particular state of mind at the time he or she commits the alleged crime. For instance, to commit a burglary, the accused must ordinarily have the specific intent to commit a crime in the structure where the burglary takes place. If no such intent actually exists, then the accused could argue that the prosecution did not meet its required burden of proof
Self-defense and defense of others — The accused could also argue that he or she was not the first aggressor and that the accused’s actions were necessary in order to save and protect himself or herself (or someone else) against serious bodily harm or death.
Violation of legal rights — The accused might also argue that police officers or investigators violated his or her constitutional rights. A police officer, for example, might have engaged in an unlawful stop or violated the accused’s right against self-incrimination.
Duress or entrapment — Finally, the accused could argue that another person threatened him or her with death or serious bodily harm if the accused did not follow through with committing the crime. The accused might also contend that the police unlawfully coerced or induced him or her to commit the offense.
Criminal charges and convictions have the potential to impact you for the rest of your life. The knowledgeable attorneys at the Van Den Heuvel Law Office understand this and will do everything possible to help you minimize the consequences associated with your charge and conviction, allowing you to move on with your life.
To schedule a case evaluation and legal consultation with an experienced Allegan criminal defense lawyer, please contact us online today.