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FAQ: Criminal Defense

Jay W. Mez, Attorney At Law Dec. 3, 2023

Navigating the complexities of a criminal charge can be a daunting task, particularly when you're trying to face it alone. The emotional strain, coupled with the uncertainty of the legal system, can leave you feeling overwhelmed. This isn't just about the charges you face; it's about your life, your future, and the people who care about you.  

At my firm, Jay W. Mez, Attorney At Law, I understand the pressure and confusion you might be facing. As your criminal defense attorney, I work to answer your questions and keep you informed throughout any criminal defense process, so don't face it alone. If you are in Council Bluffs, Iowa—or the surrounding areas of Pottawattamie County, Cass County, Fremont County, Montgomery County, Page County, Shelby County, Mills County, and more—reach out to me today for support. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Criminal Defense 

When facing criminal charges, it's important you understand your rights and get the answers to your frequently asked questions. These questions span fundamental concepts, common misconceptions, and key procedural aspects that often arise during criminal cases. I aim to clarify these points and equip you with a better understanding of the criminal defense process.  

Do I have to speak to the police after I’m arrested? 

It's essential to know that you have the right to remain silent. While you might feel the urge to explain your side of the story, it's generally advisable to exercise your right to remain silent until you have legal representation. Anything you say to the police can be used against you, so it's best to consult with a criminal law attorney before speaking to law enforcement. 

I just want this to go away. Should I accept a plea deal? 

Deciding whether to accept a plea deal is a vital decision that shouldn't be made lightly. A plea deal might offer a quicker resolution to your case, but it's crucial to understand the potential consequences. Before making a decision, evaluate the details of your case, assess the evidence against you, and understand whether accepting a plea deal is in your best interest. 

What is the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor? 

Felonies are more serious crimes that carry harsher penalties, such as imprisonment for more than one year. Misdemeanors are less severe offenses that typically result in shorter jail sentences or fines. The specific classification of a crime depends on the jurisdiction and the nature of the offense. 

If I'm completely innocent, do I still need a lawyer? 

Even if you believe you're innocent, it's crucial to have a skilled criminal defense attorney by your side. The legal system can be complex, and navigating it without professional representation can be risky. Your attorney can investigate the evidence, gather witnesses, and build a strong defense strategy with the goal of proving your innocence. 

When are police allowed to search my person, vehicle, or home? 

Police generally need a search warrant to conduct a search of your person, vehicle, or home. However, there are exceptions. For example, if you give consent to a search, if the police have probable cause to believe you've committed a crime, or if the search is incident to a lawful arrest, they may be able to conduct a search without a warrant.  

The police didn’t read me my rights. Am I still under arrest? 

The failure of the police to read you your rights doesn't automatically mean you're not under arrest. However, it might have implications for the admissibility of any statements you made during the arrest. If the police failed to read you your Miranda rights and you made self-incriminating statements, your lawyer can challenge the admissibility of those statements in court. 

What happens if I’m charged with a crime in Iowa but live in another state? 

If you're charged with a crime in a state where you don't reside, you'll likely need to appear in court in that state. It's crucial to seek legal representation that is familiar with the laws and procedures of the state where the charges were filed.  

How long does a criminal case typically last? 

The duration of a criminal case varies depending on various factors, such as the complexity of the case, the court's schedule, and the availability of evidence and witnesses. Some cases may be resolved quickly, while others can take months or even years to reach a resolution.  

Can I clear a criminal charge from my record? 

In some cases, it may be possible to clear a criminal charge from your record through processes such as expungement or record sealing. The eligibility and requirements for clearing a criminal record vary depending on the jurisdiction and the nature of the offense. I can help you understand if this is an option for you. 

Do I really need a criminal defense attorney? 

Yes, having a criminal defense attorney is crucial. An attorney understands the complexities of the legal system and can protect your rights, build a solid defense strategy, and guide you through every step of the process. 

Make the Choice That Puts Experience on Your Side 

Remember, having the right legal representation can make all the difference in your case. As Jay W. Mez, Attorney At Law, I'm here to provide you with the detailed attention and dedicated representation you need, serving Council Bluffs, Iowa, and the surrounding areas. Don't hesitate to reach out to me for any concerns or questions you might have. Let's work together to navigate this challenging situation.