A criminal defense attorney in Ponte Vedra can help anyone arrested. The main reason people hire attorneys is to represent them in court, but there are many other things an attorney can do as well. The first thing to do is a consultation. That provides the attorney with all the information from the point of view of the accused. It can also help determine if any rights were violated at any point in the process. Law enforcement officers, for example, have to have probable cause before they can pull over a vehicle or search a person. If there was no cause, anything discovered might be inadmissible in court. That means the charges have to be dropped. Filing a complaint, or a motion to dismiss the charges, comes from the criminal defense attorney.
If valid charges are filed, the degree of those charges can make a big difference in possible consequences. A misdemeanor, for example, is a minor crime that does not carry substantial penalties. A felony, such as murder, has variations that can make the charge more serious. A second-degree murder may carry a prison sentence of five to fifteen years, while a first-degree case means a minimum sentence of twenty years. A capital murder case means the death penalty. The circumstances of the crime determine the degree of seriousness. A criminal defense attorney in Ponte Vedra can work toward getting charges reduced before the case goes to court. If unsuccessful, the attorney can build a case that supports a lesser charge. The difference can be life or death.
Experienced attorneys, such as those at Canan Law, for example, can build a strong defense case, represent the accused in court, and work toward any appeals, if necessary. Contacting an attorney when first arrested will allow time to build a case and also prevent valuable evidence from being overlooked. Taking pictures of the scene of the crime, for example, should be done as soon as possible to get an accurate view. The same location, a week or two later, may look entirely different.
An attorney can also help by letting the accused know what to expect, answer any questions during the process, and address any issues or complications as they arise.