In Arkansas and beyond, criminal charges can bring significant consequences, including incarceration, community service and probation. A criminal conviction can affect you for the rest of your life, making it more difficult to find employment or housing or even to obtain financial aid for college. An experienced Arkansas criminal defense lawyer can help you defend yourself against criminal charges, preserving your right to freedom and your future opportunities.
There are two basic types of criminal charges: misdemeanors and felonies. A misdemeanor is a less serious offense, punishable by up to one year in county or local jail. Misdemeanors are divided into three classes (A, B and C) based on the severity of the crime. Felonies are crimes that can result in incarceration in state prison. They are also divided into classifications, including Y — the most serious type of felony — A, B, C and D. There are also unclassified felonies; the punishment for these crimes is set out in Arkansas law.
When it comes to both felony and misdemeanor charges, knowing your rights is crucial to preserving them. At Vernetti Law, we strongly believe that clients who know their rights are in a better position to defend themselves against criminal charges. Under the United States and Arkansas constitutions, you are guaranteed certain rights. This includes the right to remain silent, which you should exercise immediately. In many cases, a suspect in a crime may believe that he or she can explain away the problem. This is rarely true. The police are skilled at interrogation and might use their knowledge of the law to get you to incriminate yourself. There is little benefit to talking to the police without an attorney present, but a huge potential to hurt your own interests. Instead, you should assert your right to remain silent and request an attorney.
Similarly, you are not required to consent to a search of your own body, your home or your vehicle. The police may have the legal right to search you or your property, and they may be able to obtain a warrant. Nonetheless, if they ask you to agree to a search, your answer should be no. Refusing to consent to a search may be important to defending yourself against the criminal charges. For example, if the police illegally searched your home, the evidence that they found may be suppressed, which means that it cannot be used at trial. However, if you consented to that search, then you lose the right to object to the admission of that evidence. That is why you should never consent to a search of your property or your own body -- even if you believe that you have nothing to hide.
A seasoned criminal defense attorney can examine the facts of your case to determine if your rights have been violated and can raise arguments to keep illegal evidence out of the courtroom. At Vernetti Law, our attorneys have experience as prosecutors and as defense lawyers. We understand how crimes are charged, and how to put together the best possible argument to get our clients’ charges reduced or dismissed. By working hand in hand with our clients, we fight to protect their rights and preserve their freedom.