Facing Criminal Charges? Protect Your Rights With Strong Defense Counsel
If you are under investigation or have been arrested, it is important to speak with an experienced lawyer as soon as possible to protect your constitutional rights. West Chester, Pennsylvania, criminal defense attorney Heather J. Mattes has 30 years of criminal law experience. She has successfully litigated misdemeanor and felony crimes including drunk driving, white collar crime, domestic assault charges, DUI defense, violent crimes, homicide and drug crimes.
Contact the Law Offices of Heather J. Mattes today for aggressive criminal defense by calling 610-431-7900. The initial consultation is free.
Criminal Defense – An Overview
The criminal justice system can be overwhelming and frightening. Investigating agencies use citizens’ ignorance of their constitutional rights against them to obtain incriminating statements and physical evidence. A criminal defense lawyer can work to protect your constitutional rights from such ploys. At all stages of investigation and prosecution, citizens are entitled to an advocate who will prevent them from being prejudiced by their own errors or the actions of investigating and prosecuting agencies such as district attorney’s offices or sometimes even the court itself.
Defending a client’s rights while investigating the case requires skill, experience and knowledge of the law. Heather J. Mattes has invested her career in developing the capacity to insulate clients under investigation, defend those charged with criminal offenses and protect those whose guilt is undeniable and negotiate on their behalf toward the best available outcome. She believes every individual should receive the full benefit of his or her constitutional rights.
Stages Of A Criminal Case
The process in criminal cases is complex and can be intimidating for those facing arrest and conviction. The stages of your case can include:
- Investigation: The police review the facts, interview witnesses and gather evidence against suspect(s). If the police uncover enough evidence, they move to arrest a suspect.
- Arrest: An individual is taken into custody.
- Arraignment and bail: The accused first appears before the judge at an arraignment. The judge informs the accused of the criminal charges against him or her, asks the accused whether he or she has an attorney, asks how the accused will plead to the charges and sets bail. Bail is an amount of money that the suspect must post so that he or she can get out of jail. The court also schedules future court dates.
- Preliminary hearing: A preliminary hearing is an initial hearing where the prosecution must show enough evidence against the defendant for the case to proceed to trial. This hearing is an adversarial proceeding, and the defendant’s attorney has the right to cross-examine the prosecution’s witnesses.
- Plea negotiation: Sometimes a criminal defendant and the prosecution negotiate an agreement that resolves the criminal matter. Usually, the prosecutor agrees to reduce a charge, drop some charges or recommend a more lenient sentence in exchange for the defendant’s guilty plea.
- Trial and sentencing: At trial, the prosecutor and defense attorney will give opening and closing statements, introduce evidence and question witnesses. If a defendant is convicted, the court will impose a sentence that may include incarceration, fines, court costs, restitution and probation. For serious crimes, the prosecution and defense will submit evidence and make arguments about what the appropriate sentence should be.
Schedule A Free Initial Consultation With An Experienced West Chester Criminal Defender
To better protect yourself throughout your involvement with the criminal justice system, consult with an informed, knowledgeable criminal defense attorney at the Law Offices of Heather J. Mattes in West Chester, Pennsylvania. Your lawyer can work hard on your behalf to see that you are protected. Call us at 610-431-7900, or contact us online.