Criminal Defense FAQ

If you have been arrested, you likely have many questions. At Smalley Law Firm in Norman, we are happy to provide answers. To start with, here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about criminal defense:

What If I Am Questioned By Police?

You do not have to talk to police. No matter how friendly they may seem, you are likely better off not answering any questions unless you have an attorney present. People are often surprised at how their words can be turned around and used against them. You could do damage to your case that is difficult or impossible to repair. Even if police say that you are not a target, even if they tell you they just want to have a conversation, you can invoke your right to remain silent and your right to an attorney.

What If The Police Conduct An Illegal Search?

Police have specific rules to follow when searching a person, a car, a residence, or any place else. They must not violate your rights. Illegal items must be in plain view, there must be probable cause or there must be a warrant. Unfortunately, police often overstep their bounds and conduct illegal searches and seizures. If you believe you have been searched illegally, it is critical that you have an experienced lawyer review your case to see if any evidence obtained by illegal search can be thrown out or if the entire case can be dismissed.

What Do I Do If I Am Arrested?

If you are arrested, it is worthwhile to learn about the process. As you move forward, remember to maintain your composure and invoke your right to remain silent and your right to an attorney. Learn more about what to do when arrested.

What Is The Difference Between State And Federal Charges?

There are dramatic differences between state and federal charges, from the law enforcement agencies that prosecute them to the courts they are tried in. There are different laws, different rules, different procedures. One of the distinctions that becomes apparent immediately is the amount of work that federal law enforcement agencies do prior to an arrest. They often do not even file charges until they have conducted a thorough investigation and believe they have everything lined up to obtain a conviction. You must use caution to enlist a law firm that is experienced in dealing with both state and federal charges.

What Is Plea Bargaining?

Plea bargaining is negotiating with a prosecutor to obtain a better outcome. Most criminal defense cases are resolved through plea negotiation. However, it is important to understand that some sort of leverage is necessary to succeed in any negotiation. Prosecutors are unlikely to offer a positive outcome simply because you ask for it. Success tends to rely on being able to leverage careful investigation that shows the weaknesses in the prosecution's case, as well as the ability to take the case to trial if the prosecution is unwilling to offer a favorable plea deal. Lawyers with a history of trial success who are able to show prosecutors exactly why they should cut a good deal may obtain a better plea bargain.

Will My Case Go To Trial?

Most criminal defense cases are resolved through plea bargaining. However, you should use care to choose an attorney who has the experience and skill to argue your case at trial in case the prosecution is unwilling to offer an acceptable plea deal. A reputation for trial success often proves advantageous because prosecutors will understand that if they do not offer a good deal in plea negotiation, they will have to fight the case out in trial. Many prosecutors would prefer to avoid that.

When Should I Get A Lawyer?

It is never too soon to get an experienced lawyer on your side. Even if you believe you are under investigation and have not been charged with a crime, a lawyer may be able to help by either working to prevent charges from being filed or laying the groundwork for a successful criminal defense strategy. Getting a lawyer involved early means that no opportunity for a positive outcome will pass you by. It means that the prosecution will not get a head start.

We encourage you to call us at Smalley Law Firm in Norman at 405-322-5653 or send an email so we can begin protecting your rights immediately.