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Most criminal cases share a common lifecycle. The specific type of case and needs of a client vary greatly, but the path to justice and the process to defending someone’s liberty are usually similar. At any given moment a criminal case is either in an investigation, pre-filing, filed, discovery, plea bargaining, trial, or post-conviction stage. It’s important to educate yourself on this lifecycle and each stage so that you can help make wise decisions along the way.
No matter if you have been accused, arrested, or investigated, a criminal charge can have serious repercussions for your future. If you find yourself in this dire situation, make sure to seek the services of Fischer Redavid PLLC. We are a premiere firm in Hollywood dedicated to helping clients facing a wide array of criminal charges.
From misdemeanors to felonies, our skilled criminal defense lawyer has a proven track record of obtaining results that are in the best interests of our client. Many of our past cases even resulted in total exoneration despite the physical evidence presented by the prosecution. Let us do the same for you. Our team is committed to aggressively fighting for you from start to finish. We consider it our duty to protect your rights and freedom no matter what.
At Fischer Redavid PLLC, we have always represented the accused. We have never worked with any prosecutors, which means that we’ll not be swayed by any settlement especially if it’s not in your best interests. Our goal has always been to create a solid defense strategy that will ensure the results that you want and deserve.
Our Hollywood defense attorney is ready to go the distance for you. Call (954) 860-8434 to receive a free consultation.
Most criminal cases share a common lifecycle. The specific type of case and needs of a client vary greatly, but the path to justice and the process to defending someone’s liberty are usually similar. At any given moment a criminal case is either in an investigation, pre-filing, filed, discovery, plea bargaining, trial, or post-conviction stage.
Criminal cases are investigated by agents of the executive branch. If the crime being investigated is federal, that is usually done by agents of the FBI, Secret Service, ATF, DEA, etc. If the crimes are under state law, that is usually done by local, city, county, or state police departments. During this stage you may not even know you are being investigated, but usually you will have an idea you are.
An investigator may reach out to you, a loved one, friend, or colleague directly. It is important to retain counsel as soon as you fear an investigation is looming and to not speak to anyone, including the investigator, without speaking to an attorney first. Some cases involve minimal investigation. For example, a DUI or drug offense may be limited to a police officer’s observations in the moment and then an immediate decision to arrest. In other cases, such as fraud, the investigation may take weeks or months. It all depends.
In those cases where you are arrested on scene, you are arrested pursuant to that officer or agent’s determination that they have probable cause to believe that you committed a crime. But that’s not a formal decision on what charges will later be filed, if any. That’s up to the prosecutor. A prosecutor is the attorney that represents the State of Florida or United States Government, depending on the crimes that were investigated. In those cases where you have either not yet been arrested or, if having been arrested, you have not yet been formally charged, it is critical to intervene to try to convince the prosecutor to either not file any charges at all or, if that cannot be done, to file reduced or less serious charges. Not every attorney has an appreciation for this type of anticipatory advocacy. We do. It can sometimes make the difference and ward off charges altogether. This window of opportunity, if it exists at all, is usually very limited.
The federal government formally files criminal charges by way of Indictment. They present their case, privately, to a grand jury (only what they want to share) to convince them to return a “true bill,” at which the Indictment is rendered. The state government usually files criminal charges by way of Information, which does not involve a grand jury at all, just the prosecutor’s discretion.
Once criminal charges are formally filed, the prosecuting authority will have certain obligations under the law to disclose information to you. That’s called discovery. In federal court, discovery is quite limited. In state court, though, it’s quite broad and favorable. The law also imposes a slight burden on the people accused to disclose information, but not nearly as much as the government brining the case. Yours may be limited to things such as identifying any alibi defense or naming any witnesses you intend to call. This is only to avoid surprise at trial. But the government has to disclose much more. In state court, this is also when we can take depositions of government witnesses. Depositions are sworn statements under oath and in response to our questions. It cannot be understated how important the discovery process is.
In every case, the government will likely be open to negotiating a settlement or resolution. Because this involves changing your plea from “not guilty” to “guilty” or “no contest,” we call it plea bargaining. There are a variety of strategies to use depending on the specific facts and needs of each client, so no universal rule applies here, but it is a meaningful part of any case if only to present the client with a choice: here is the best plea offer v. the likelihood of prevailing at trial (or, even if we lose at trial, realistic sentencing scenarios). Our criminal justice system sees more than 90% of people plead guilty. That’s a tragedy. Those figures do not comport with our law firm. Our firm will always entertain negotiations but prepares each case as if it will proceed to a jury trial.
Our law firm takes a lot of cases to trial. We feel as though it is our unique value proposition. A lot of attorneys claim to be trial lawyers but you’d be hard pressed to see them in court. We are not those lawyers. It is our stern belief that trial almost always presents the best chance of success for a client. If we proceed to trial, your case will be decided by 6-12 members of the community who are selected as jurors. Usually a pool of 20-40 potential jurors will be brought into court, asked questions by the judge and attorneys, and then from that pool we select the final jurors. Once a jury is selected, each side presents opening statements; the government puts on its case-in-chief, as it has the burden of proof; then we can present any witnesses, if we decide to, but we don’t need to do anything due presumption of innocence and burden on government; then closing arguments; then jury deliberations and a verdict.
Only if you take a plea bargain or proceed to trial and lose will this stage be applicable. But this is when sentencing happens; it can also be where appeals or motions to ask for post-conviction relief can occur. For example, to set aside a plea due to it being involuntary or because your former lawyer was ineffective.