Criminal Defense Archives

Reviewing sentencing guidelines

The first question that most of those that come to us here at the Scott C. Brown Law Office after having been charged with a crime in Wheeling have is what sort of sentence they may be facing. If you find yourself in the same situation, then you likely have similar concerns. Typically, the laws detailing criminal offenses will also state what sort of punitive action is associated with them. While that information can serve as a baseline to form an estimation, the actual sentence imposed can be much different. 

What is hearsay?

While watching movies or shows depicting courtroom proceedings, you likely hear a lot of jargon that, while sounding technical (and thus legitimate), probably means little to you. Yet now that you are facing your own criminal trial in Wheeling, the meanings of those words and statements should now be of great interest to you. 

Mountaineer hoopster facing misdemeanor charges

Most in Wheeling may describe themselves as being fully capable of remaining calm and composed, and able to maintain that composure even in stressful situations. Yet many may not understand the limits that a "stressful situation" can push them to. Depending on the circumstances, one could feel as though a scenario forces him or her to react in a way that many would describe as being aggressive and even potentially criminal. Once one's carefully crafted composure abandons him or her (if even for a brief moment), he or she could resort to actions to could net some potentially serious consequences

How does a plea bargain work?

Plea bargaining is the way many criminal cases in West Virginia and throughout the U.S are settled. In fact, plea bargaining is the way most criminal cases get resolved, according to the American Bar Association. There are many practical reasons for the prevalence of plea bargaining, including time and money. Prosecutors in many jurisdictions use plea bargaining for the following reasons.

Detailing the Miranda Warning

Popular media has likely taught most in Wheeling that if one is arrested, he or she should immediately be informed of his or her rights. Most could probably even recite the exact repetition of the words :"You have the right to remain silent...," etc. Yet even though most are familiar with this procedure, few may actually understand its purpose, or why it is even required at all. 

Understanding attorney-client privilege

When one has been accused of and arrested for a crime in Wheeling, he or she will need all of the help and support that is available in order to endure the ordeal that may be ahead. A major source of that assistance may come from his or her attorney. Thus, it is essential that an attorney and an accused share a trusting relationship. The principle of attorney client privilege allows for this. According to the American Bar Association, attorney-client privilege prohibits a lawyer from sharing any information revealed to him or her by a client related to that client's representation (without, that is, the client's consent). 

Seeking a change of venue

Facing criminal charges in any setting is never easy. However, there are certain cases where the unique nature of a supposed crime might make proceedings even more difficult. One of the basic tenets of the American criminal justice system is that every defendant is entitled to receive a fair trial in order to determine his or her guilt or innocence. The pursuit of that right can prompt changes to what sort of evidence is presented at trial, what exact charges one may face, or even where a trial is held. 

How does the appeals process work?

The appeals process is one of the areas of law that is often widely misunderstood. However, if you are convicted of or facing charges for a crime in West Virginia, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with it just in case you ever need to use your appeal rights. According to the American Bar Association, the biggest misunderstanding about the appeals process is that the case is retried. This is not true because that would mean double jeopardy, which is illegal under your constitutional rights. The appeals process instead is based on examining errors the defense found in the first trial.

The Kennedy plea explained

Residents of Wheeling who are facing criminal charges often have the daunting task of weighing the benefits of pursuing a trial in order to prove their innocence or accepting a deal that will allow their ordeals to be over. Typically, accepting a plea agreement requires that one plead guilty to an offense. Doing so may result in him or her facing reduced charges, yet that guilty plea may end haunting them down the road. The only alternative may be to face a jury trial, which could result in one still being found guilty. Are there any other options? 

What is felony possession of a weapon?

“If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.” Many people in West Virginia know this saying; it is well-known and well-used by the National Rifle Association and gun owners across the nation. As the decades-long debate continues over gun control, it is important that gun owners and collectors know the laws in the Mountain State to avoid violations.

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