If you have been arrested, it’s natural to be worried about your future. You need prompt advice and capable advocacy to conduct your defense. At Butler & Flynn, PLLC, our criminal lawyers understand that compassionate counseling can calm your anxiety and make the legal process easier to deal with. We’ve provided answers to some of the most common questions we’re asked:
We hope you find this basic information helpful. We can provide more complete answers to your criminal defense questions at a free consultation.
Butler & Flynn, PLLC represents people accused of a wide variety of misdemeanor and felony charges. Call 405-416-2711 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation at our Oklahoma City office.
Can I be charged with a crime without being arrested?
Oklahoma allows a police officer to issue a citation in lieu of arrest for misdemeanors, especially traffic violations such as reckless driving that are charged as misdemeanors. A citation compels you to appear in court to answer the charge, under penalty of contempt if you fail to do so. In felony cases, the prosecutor may contact you or your attorney after an indictment is issued, giving you the opportunity to surrender rather than be arrested.
Probable cause is a legal requirement that must be met before an officer (or a citizen) can make an arrest. What probable cause means is that circumstances exist that would cause a reasonable person to conclude that a crime was more likely than not committed. An officer can make an arrest even if he or she has some reasonable doubt about whether a crime was committed. However, conviction for a crime requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
What is the difference between an acquittal and a not-guilty verdict?
An acquittal occurs when an accused person is cleared of all charges through the legal process. A not-guilty verdict from a jury, or a judge in a bench trial, is one way to get an acquittal. However, if a jury decides a defendant is guilty, the trial judge might acquit if he or she concludes there was insufficient evidence and the jury acted out of passion or prejudice. Likewise, an appeals court could overrule a conviction and either remand the case for retrial or issue an acquittal.
How long does a criminal case typically take?
The U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to a speedy trial, but the complexities of a case can cause it to drag on for months and sometimes years. The resolution of civil offenses and misdemeanors is often swift, especially when a dismissal of charges or a plea negotiation is possible. Felony cases, because of the severity of punishments, necessarily take longer.
Will I get a harsher sentence if I lose at trial after declining a plea offer?
This is certainly what the prosecutor, who is pressuring you to take the plea deal, wants you to believe. While it is often true, it is not a hard and fast rule. This is an area where you really must be able to rely on the knowledge, experience and judgment of your criminal defense team. You’re paying for advice, so make sure you’re getting advice you can trust.