Somerset Criminal Lawyer

A Somerset criminal lawyer is there for you at a frightening time in your life. Being accused of a crime can be devastating. Criminal charges can mean arrest, a record, the loss of a job, and even the loss of your freedom. You deserve to have an advocate helping you as you cope with the charges against you and try to fight for the best outcome possible. A criminal lawyer in Maryland knows the laws that protect your rights and will be there for you at every step, whether providing you with advice or making arguments on your behalf to a judge, jury, or prosecutor.

The guarantee of due process comes with the right to a lawyer in the United States for a reason: you need a Somerset criminal attorney to help you navigate the complicated rules of the criminal justice system. When your future is at stake, you owe it to yourself to get help from an experienced lawyer who is passionate about fighting for the rights of the accused.

How a Somerset Criminal Lawyer Can Help

A Somerset criminal lawyer can provide guidance as you make decisions that shape how your case unfolds. You will need to decide:

  • Whether a jury trial or a bench trial is likely to help you arrive at a better outcome
  • What pretrial motions to present to the court
  • What witnesses to interview
  • What arguments to make or defenses to raise during your trial
  • What evidence to present at a trial
  • Whether to accept a plea agreement

An attorney is extremely valuable in criminal proceedings. Your lawyer will help you to understand your options, will carefully investigate to determine if your rights were violated, and will review the evidence to help you decide on a response to charges.

Every case is different and the decisions you make need to be shaped by the evidence against you and the type of crime you are being prosecuted for. Your Somerset criminal defense attorney will bring legal knowledge and experience to the table as you make the choices that could mean the difference between a not guilty verdict and a criminal conviction.

Criminal Laws in Somerset

The Maryland Criminal Code defines behaviors in Maryland that are considered criminal. There are many different types of crimes including:

There are hundreds of different criminal offenses listed in the criminal code, many of which are summarized on Maryland’s Table of Offenses.

Each crime has a specific definition in the criminal code. A Somerset criminal lawyer will help you to determine what the elements of the charge are that a prosecutor has to prove. Many crimes require willfulness or intent, and your attorney can help you argue that the prosecutor has not proved your motivations.

Penalties for Criminal Laws in Somerset

Penalties for crimes in Somerset depend upon whether you are charged with a felony or a misdemeanor, and whether you have had any prior criminal charges in the past. Defendants who are charged with offenses involving violence usually face the most serious penalties. Maryland judges may refer to voluntary sentencing guidelines when determining penalties for an offense.  According to these guidelines, the possible offenses can include:

  • Jail time
  • Probation
  • Outpatient or inpatient drug or alcohol counseling or treatment
  • House arrest
  • Community service
  • Fines
  • Restitution

A conviction can cost both time and money. In addition, it could show up on background checks and affect your job opportunities. There are deferred prosecution and deferred judgment programs for many offenses that your attorney can help you try to qualify for, such as probation before judgment (PBJ). PBJ means you keep a clean record if you meet the terms of probation. Your Somerset criminal lawyer will advise you on whether this is an option and will work hard to try to help you avoid a record.

Defenses to Criminal Charges in Somerset

Getting charges dropped before going to trial can be the best outcome in a criminal case. Your Somerset criminal lawyer can petition the court to have the charges dropped if no prima face case exists. This can occur if a witness recants testimony, if an attorney is able to keep evidence from being used because it was illegally obtained, or if the prosecutor was simply aggressive in moving forward without sufficient evidence to show you may have committed a crime.

If your case goes to court, your attorney can help you introduce reasonable doubt about guilt. You can raise affirmative defenses or try to make the jury question the evidence the prosecutor is presenting. Defenses vary depending upon the crime and the evidence against you.

Finally, if you don’t want to take a chance at trial, your attorney will help you explore deferred prosecution or a favorable plea agreement.

At every step, no matter how your case is resolved, a Somerset criminal lawyer will work hard to try to help you get the best outcome possible based on your situation. Call today to learn more.