This is often one of the first questions that runs through the minds of individuals who are charged with a felony in Oklahoma. You have been arrested for a felony and bailed out, and you are now part of a criminal investigation. A daunting weight is on your shoulders. If you have never been arrested before, the entire process can be petrifying and confusing. Would hiring an experienced Oklahoma criminal defense attorney be in your best interest or will doing that make you look guilty?
Will Having a Criminal Lawyer Make Me Look Guilty?
On the contrary, hiring a lawyer to represent you during the criminal defense process for a felony is not an indication or admission of guilt, but rather it is your right to seek legal counsel. Getting an attorney is in your best interest, especially if you have been charged with a serious crime, because your lawyer will ensure that you do not make errors that will negatively affect the outcome of your case. Additionally, your attorney will protect your rights, offer you peace of mind and advise you throughout the entire criminal court process, and make certain that you are not prosecuted unjustly.
Your Arraignment Date
Once your bail has been posted and you are released from jail, you will have a court date called the arraignment date. This is a fairly simple court appearance, wherein you will be charged formally for the crime or crimes you are accused of. The judge will ask you for your plea at your arraignment date – guilty or not guilty, so be prepared to state your plea. You will then be given the date of your next court appearance, which is called the preliminary hearing conference.
Your Preliminary Hearing Conference
You can expect your preliminary hearing conference to take place approximately 30 to 60 days after you have been arraigned. During this court date, your lawyer and the prosecuting attorney will evaluate and discuss your case. In many cases, the prosecuting attorney will present your lawyer with a plea deal. If you and your lawyer decide that the plea offer is fair, you can plead guilty at this point. However, if you are indeed innocent, you should not accept the plea bargain. If you want to continue to fight to maintain your innocence, you will then move onto the preliminary hearing.
Your Preliminary Hearing
In your preliminary hearing, the prosecuting attorney will be asked to show probable cause that you committed the felony (or felonies) that you have been charged with. This does not mean that they have to prove that you actually committed the felony, but that there is reason to believe that you have committed the alleged felony (or felonies). If the prosecuting attorney cannot present probable cause at this hearing, the case will be dismissed and you remain innocent of the charges. However, because probable cause is set at such a low standard, the prosecuting attorney prevails in most preliminary hearings, which means that you will be set a date for the jury trial.
Your Jury Trial
The jury trial is the part of the criminal trial process that you see on the television shows and movies. Both the prosecuting attorney and the defense attorney will tell their side of the story, presenting evidence, witness, and even experts, to support their point of view. Because each and every cases tends to be unique, it is crucial that you hire an Oklahoma criminal defense attorney who understands the procedures of the courtroom and is skilled in handling criminal trials. You will need a lawyer with courtroom experience that has been continuously successful.
At the Law Offices of Robert R. Robles, you get legal trial counsel with over 30 years of criminal trial experience. Contact the office for a case evaluation at (405) 232-7980.