Kentucky Criminal Defense
It is extremely common for a person living in the United States to be arrested. This is a country highly focused on law and order; some believe overly so. If you have been arrested or questioned regarding a crime, you may be feeling embarrassed and fearful for the quality of your future. Aside from possible time in jail and the obvious damage to your reputation, having a criminal conviction on your record can severely limit your options for the future, creating an obstacle to finding employment, obtaining housing, and even having access to certain educational opportunities. An arrest and conviction can wreak havoc with your finances, break up your family, and strip you of your civil rights. A criminal conviction is something to be avoided whenever possible, which means that if you are facing criminal charges of any kind, you owe it to yourself to hire an experienced criminal lawyer with a detailed understanding of Kentucky’s criminal statutes, the time to devote to your case, and a commitment to protecting your constitutional rights.
No country in the world incarcerates a higher percentage of its population. The International Centre for Prison Studies reported in 2013 that 716 out of every 100,000 people in the U.S. spend time in prison or jail, giving us the dubious distinction of holding first place worldwide in incarcerations. Israel, who is second, does not even come close, with an incarceration rate of 223 per 100,000.
Exercise Your Constitutional Rights
Today there are 2.3 million people incarcerated in U.S. state and federal jails, prisons, and detention centers. If you have been charged with a crime, it will be shockingly easy for you to join that number if you don’t pull out all the stops (legally, of course) to exercise your constitutional rights. These are among the most important:
- The right to remain silent when questioned by law enforcement.
- The right to be represented by counsel.
Verbally state your intention to assert these rights whenever law enforcement officers attempt to question you. Don’t fall for the line that asserting your rights indicates guilt. It doesn’t work that way. It is shocking how many arrestees waive their rights, and ultimately suffer for doing so.
Don’t assume that because you are innocent, you cannot be convicted of a crime. Wrongful convictions happen every day. While perhaps not the majority, plenty of prison inmates are not guilty of the crime for which they are serving time. A publication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science reported that 4.1 percent of defendants sentenced to death are later found to be innocent. Innocence projects focus more intensely on wrongful death sentences, so they are better documented than other wrongful convictions, but wrongful convictions occur at every level.
At the lower end of the range of crimes – misdemeanors – virtually everyone ends up with a conviction—guilty or not—because it is so much quicker to dispose of the charges by allowing yourself to be bullied into a plea bargain than to go through the entire legal process—even if you are not guilty.
Plea Bargains: A Useful Tool or Obstacle to Justice?
Ninety-seven percent of state criminal cases and 94 percent of federal cases are resolved through plea bargains. Now, we are in no way against plea bargains altogether. Sometimes a well-crafted plea deal is the best way to dispose of a particular case, with the least unpleasant consequences for the accused. But in other cases, when the evidence against a defendant is weak, being railroaded into a plea bargain can be a miscarriage of justice. Plea bargaining is a tool that has its place. A plea deal may or may not be right for you. But if you know you are not guilty, and if the prosecution does not have overwhelming evidence against you, you have the right to a jury trial— a right you should not waive without a lot of careful thought and the input of an experienced criminal defense trial lawyer. Make sure the lawyer you choose has a lot of courtroom experience, proven trial acumen, and is not timid about facing a jury.
Get the Help You Need When Facing Criminal Charges in Western Kentucky
If you have been charged with a crime or brought in for questioning by the police, it is natural to be worried and uncertain about how to proceed. There is too much at stake to go it alone. At the Bowling Green, Kentucky, law firm of Lowder & McGill, PLLC, our experienced and successful criminal defense attorneys handle a wide variety of criminal cases, including but not limited to:
- Drug crimes
- Weapons crimes
- Sex crimes
- Domestic violence
- Theft crimes
- White collar crimes
- Traffic Violations
These are the types of cases we see most often, but we are thoroughly capable of providing an aggressive and effective defense against criminal charges of every kind.
If You’ve Been Detained . . .
If you’ve been arrested or think you are about to be, remain calm, and clearly state that you want to call a lawyer and will not speak to police until you are represented by counsel—and hold firm. Resist the urge to tell your side of the story before talking to your lawyer. It can work against you. And remember, an arrest does not automatically mean a conviction.
Call Lowder & McGill immediately and tell us what has happened. A delay can be lethal. There are many potential defenses available, depending on the circumstances of your arrest and the evidence that the prosecution has. We know which defenses are most likely to work in your case. We will look at police procedure during and after the arrest process to determine if your rights were respected, and if they were not, we will move to suppress any evidence wrongfully obtained and move for a dismissal. In some cases, we can prevent charges from being filed at all; in others, we can have them dismissed or reduced. Whenever necessary, we can present a thoroughly prepared and persuasive defense at trial, where we have a record of success in winning acquittals for our clients.
We understand that you may have trouble coming up with a large retainer all at once, so if this is an issue for you, let us know. We are often able to work out a payment arrangement that you and your family can handle. Make the call now that can save your life as you know it.