One of the harshest experiences a Windham resident can face is being charged with a crime. A shock like this shakes even the most even-tempered individual to the roots. Criminal charges have the potential to change the views of family members, colleagues, employers and others, while negatively altering defendants' views of themselves.
This can be one of the most harrowing times of a person's life. However, the legal process is not an experience you are required to face alone. Criminal defense attorneys represent defendants, protect their rights and work toward easing or eliminating hardships.
The Constitution guarantees your right to be represented by legal counsel in a criminal case. A court will appoint a lawyer if you cannot afford legal services. Many Connecticut defendants are unaware of the rights they have during an investigation and following an arrest until they speak with a lawyer.
A valuable right to exercise is the right to remain silent. You are not obligated to speak with a police officer during an investigation, an arrest or in any subsequent interview. Officers may not enter or search your home without a warrant.
An attorney investigates facts, examines and uncovers evidence, interviews witnesses and negotiates on a defendant's behalf. Defense attorneys are knowledgeable about jurisdictional rules and how to operate within the microcosm of its legal system.
Criminal defense lawyers are invaluable during plea bargaining. A plea deal involves the exchange of a guilty plea for a charge reduction or withdrawal or the softening of a sentence. Attorneys also are aware of alternative programs, like rehabilitative drug court programs, that can be beneficial to a defendant's case and well-being.
Contact a defense attorney as soon as possible if you believe you are the target of a police investigation or have been arrested. A lawyer will ensure your rights are not violated, no matter what crime you've been charged with committing.