There’s probably nothing that matters more than your civil rights when your freedom is at stake. A criminal conviction, regardless of how minor, can significantly affect every aspect of your life- including your job, reputation, relationships, and future.
A criminal sentence can have you facing collateral consequences, including hefty fines, probation, and incarceration. You need a lawyer familiar with local criminal law to get a positive outcome.
Fortunately, we can link you up with experienced Milford criminal attorneys dedicated to protecting the rights of those charged with various crimes.
Whether you’ve been recently charged or you just discovered you’re under investigation for a felony, don’t risk your freedom by handling it on your own. Our felony lawyers Milton, DE, can step in and fight for you to the end.
But first, let’s look at local criminal law and lawyers.
Facing Criminal Charges in Milford?
A criminal arrest in Milford, DE, occurs when a police officer has probable cause to suspect that an individual committed a crime. Police may detain the accused for questioning and will often read them their Miranda rights at the time of the arrest.
The law enforcement officer may search the suspect or their property, but this can only be done with a warrant or under urgent circumstances.
Police can also obtain evidence leading to a lawful arrest without a warrant if they follow specific procedures, such as securing the scene.
What’s The Difference Between a Felony and a Misdemeanor?
Criminal charges in Milford are generally divided into two categories: felonies and misdemeanors.
Misdemeanors are less severe than felonies, but they are punishable. Depending on the crime, a misdemeanor charge in Milford can carry up to a one-year prison sentence and a $10,00 fine.
Common examples of misdemeanor crimes committed in Milford include:
- Drug possession
- Resisting arrest
- Petty theft
- Driving while intoxicated
- Disorderly conduct
- Simple assault, among others
First-time offenders with non-violent misdemeanors may be eligible for probation as an alternative to jail. If you show a good track record on probation, your charges may be dismissed, and you could maintain a clean criminal record.
There’s little to no leniency in handling felony cases in Milford. Felony charges can lead to an arrest warrant instead of a summon, like the case of misdemeanors.
A felony carries severe penalties, including high bail amounts and detainment, and involves complex court procedures.
You should hire a lawyer soon after their felony charges are filed. The sooner you get a Milford, DE felony lawyer, the better the chances of a favorable trial outcome.
What Are the Criminal Charging Methods Used in Milford, DE?
The criminal charging methods, as outlined by the Delaware Department of Justice, include:
An indictment is where a Grand Jury determines whether a crime happened, and charges may be pressed against the suspect.
The Grand Jury consists of a group of Delaware citizens selected randomly to evaluate the evidence to determine whether an indictment is necessary. In most cases, only the law enforcement officer testifies.
If the Grand Jury does not indict, the case will be nullified. But if indicted, you’ll be informed of imminent court proceedings.
The bail review aims to establish whether the bail may be lowered to release the defendant from pretrial detention.
Bail review can be held in Magistrate Court, Municipal Court, or the Court of Common Pleas if the offender is yet to be indicted. The bail review will be held in Supreme Court if you’re yet to be indicted.
Arraignment takes place at the Supreme Court. Here, the charges are read to the defendant, who makes a guilty or not guilty plea.
The defendant can waiver this hearing- meaning you can choose not to have this hearing and go straight to trial.
This is a casual meeting between the prosecuting attorney and defense attorney to negotiate plea agreement alternatives and establish if they are ready for trial.
After signing the plea agreement, the defendant is taken to court to take a formal plea.
Only felony trials are held in Supreme Court and are presided over by a jury. The trial is typically scheduled 70 days after the indictment or filing of information if there were no continuances granted.
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But owing to court backlogs, most cases take over a year to come to trial. The jury at trial can declare the offender guilty, guilty of a lesser charge, or not guilty.
If the jury fails to reach a unanimous decision, they can declare a mistrial.
What Services do Criminal Law Attorneys Provide in Criminal Cases?
Criminal law attorneys work with clients on various criminal charges, ranging from misdemeanors and felonies to more complex issues. A skilled criminal lawyer will lead their client through the legal process and help them assert any possible criminal defenses.
Criminal defense lawyers help with various legal issues, including:
- Drunk driving, DUI, or DWI
- Drugs and narcotics
- Juvenile crimes
- Domestic violence
- Firearm offenses
- Sexual assault
- Homicide and murder, among others
It is best to work with an experienced Milford criminal lawyer who thoroughly understands the charges you’re facing and their consequences.
More importantly, a local lawyer is familiar with the jurisdiction where your case will be heard. That’s where Legal Giant comes in.
How Much Does a Criminal Lawyer Cost?
Various factors influence the cost of a defense attorney, including the severity of the charges, the lawyer’s experience, whether the case will go to trial, and other factors.
Because of these variations, discussing attorney fees before hiring them for their services is essential. Lawyers typically use three types of fee plans:
Contingency fees are hardly used in criminal cases. These fees are commonly used in personal injury cases, where attorney charges come from a percentage of the settlement awarded in a lawsuit.
An attorney’s percentage varies depending on the state and details of the arrangement. Milford limits attorney fees to 35 percent of the damages award.
Most attorneys will not agree to flat fee payment arrangements because of the varying nature of the criminal case process. But a few may agree because it allows them to increase the fee if the case goes to trial.
A flat fee can range from $1,000 to $3,000 to complete a case. Attorneys use this fee for uncomplicated issues like simple moving violations or speeding ticket cases.
The hourly billing rate is the most common fee arrangement used by criminal lawyers.
The cost of a criminal lawyer who charges an hourly rate will vary depending on factors surrounding the case. But on average, you can expect to pay between $150 and $700 per hour for a defense attorney’s services.
Lawyers charging an hourly rate may also require clients to pay a retainer fee. A retainer fee is an up-front payment that the lawyer will use for the costs of the case.
Overall, there are considerable variations in fees. It is, therefore, crucial to discuss the charges before hiring a local attorney to defend you in court.
Why hire a Local Criminal Defense Lawyer?
If facing theft, assault, or DUI-related charges in Milford, DE, you may consider hiring a local attorney. Using legal representation from your community offers so many advantages over choosing an attorney from a sizeable city-based law firm.
Here are some benefits of retaining a local Milford, DE misdemeanor lawyer.
1. Targeted knowledge
A local criminal lawyer has expensive knowledge of the procedural rules in the area courts. Local lawyers will be familiar with state laws and municipal codes that apply to your case.
These factors contribute to creating an informed defense.
2. Community connections
If your lawyer lives and works in the locality, they most likely know the officer who arrested you, the prosecutor in your jurisdiction, and the judge who will hear your case.
The attorney can use this professional network to your advantage when trying to settle the charges against you. And if your case requires local resources, your lawyer will have easy access to them.
3. Personal convenience
Defendants must work closely with their lawyers to plan their defense. Traveling to appointments can be tiring if your lawyer’s office is in another city.
Save money and time by hiring a local criminal defense attorney.
Hire a Milford Criminal Defense Attorney Today
Have you or your loved one been charged with a crime in Milford, DE? It is time to find an experienced criminal defense attorney in Milford to guide you through the case.
At Legal Giant, we can connect you with local attorneys who know the state laws and are familiar with the local court procedures. Contact us today to speak to a lawyer and increase your chance of a favorable outcome.