FAQs of a RI Criminal Defense Lawyer
What should I expect from a RI Criminal Defense Lawyer?
At Robert E. Craven & Associates you can expect to be completely informed about your criminal charge, the defenses to that charge, and the different methods of resolving your case in RI criminal court. Our priority is to provide you with informed representation throughout your case. Additionally, you should expect that our attorneys understand RI criminal law and the idiosyncrasies of each RI criminal court.
What rights do I have if I'm arrested?
If you are arrested, you have a number of rights under the Rhode Island and Federal Constitution. At the time of arrest, your most important rights are the right to an attorney and the right to remain silent. You should in all cases exercise your right to remain silent and should not give any statements to the police. You should immediately request an attorney and not say anything else.
What is the typical procedure in a criminal case?
Every RI criminal case begins with an arraignment in which a plea of not guilty is usually entered. Our attorneys will discuss your options with you so that you may make an informed decision regarding your initial plea. At your arraignment, the issue of custody status will be argued by your attorney and decided by the judge (i.e., the amount of bail, whether bail can be reduced, whether the defendant can travel outside of Rhode Island, and whether the defendant can be released from custody on his or her own recognizance pending resolution of the case or trial). After the arraignment, there are further court hearings, called pretrial conferences. The purpose of the pretrial conference or readiness conference is to attempt to negotiate a plea bargain, dismissal, or other resolution of the case. Everything is subject to negotiation. Negotiations could result in some charges being dismissed in exchange for a plea to other charges, or reduction of a felony to a misdemeanor, or an agreement that a certain offense be reduced to a less serious offense, or outright dismissal. Negotiations often result in an agreement as to the sentence a defendant will receive if he or she pleads to a certain offense. If the case does not resolve because the defendant and the prosecutor cannot agree on an appropriate resolution, then the case will proceed to trial. You have the right to a jury trial in which the prosecutor has to prove the alleged charges against you. You have the right to present witnesses and evidence on your own behalf at the trial, and the right to confront and cross-examine witnesses against you. You can only be found guilty if the jury unanimously agrees that the prosecutor has proven the case against you beyond a reasonable doubt.
What if this is just a misdemeanor charge? Can't I just plead guilty without a lawyer?
You can always plead in a criminal case; however, there is often a better way to resolve the case that would be much better for you. Our attorneys are often able to minimize or eliminate the punishment you are facing. In today's economy, many of our clients have concerns about their employer finding out about a criminal case or having a criminal record. We will zealously advocate on your behalf to potentially avoid any criminal record or put you in a position to have the charge expunged as soon as possible.
What if I'm not sure I want to hire an attorney?
Whether you hire Robert E. Craven & Associates or not, your consultation with our attorneys is always FREE. The only way to properly decide if you need representation is to speak with a RI attorney. At your free consultation we will discuss the case with you, explain the relevant RI criminal law, and explore possible resolutions that would best benefit you.
Can't I just go into the courtroom and talk directly to the prosecutor?
Absolutely, many RI criminal defendants do. The prosecutor will be happy to talk with you about your RI criminal charge. However, the prosecutor is not on your side and will not consider your Constitutional rights and speaking with a prosecutor can actually result in your statements being used against you. A criminal offense in RI courts is a serious matter and it's ideal to be represented by a seasoned attorney experienced in RI criminal law. Allow us to represent and guide you throughout the process.
Has the attorney handled a case like mine before?
At Robert E. Craven & Associates, our RI criminal law attorneys have handled cases from misdemeanor drug possession to murder as well as most criminal charges in-between. All of our attorneys are licensed in all of the RI State Courts as well as United States Federal Court. It is very likely that we have handled a case similar to yours in the past.
Have you been charged with a crime in Rhode Island?
Contact Robert E. Craven & Associates today at (401) 453-2700.