Westport Criminal Lawyer
When a person is accused of breaking a law in Connecticut, the matter is decided in the criminal division of the Connecticut Superior Court. Criminal offenses are all taken very seriously in Westport. The state is represented by the State’s Attorney, while the accused or defendant is represented by a private lawyer, legal aid, or another court-appointed lawyer.
If you are under investigation for a violation of a crime or have already been arrested, you should seek your rightful legal representation from a Westport criminal lawyer. An experienced defense attorney can work hard to build your defense and get a positive outcome in your case.
Criminal cases are classified in one of three ways in Connecticut. Attention is paid to whether the offense involves prison time, a fee, a court appearance, or a combination of the three.
First, felony crimes are the most severe criminal charges and carry a punishment of imprisonment for more than a year to life. Next are misdemeanors, which are crimes with a period of imprisonment of less than one year. In both scenarios, court appearances are required and the final disposition will also involve a fine or court cost. A Westport criminal defense attorney can help to explain the various classifications.
The second type of crime is a violation. The penalty is a fine and court appearances are required. The third type of crime is an infraction. In these cases, a fine is assessed, paid by mail and does not require a court appearance. Traffic tickets are common types of infractions.
All criminal cases in Westport begin with an arrest. An arrest is a suspicion based on observable facts from law enforcement that a crime is being committed or was committed. Law enforcement officials gather evidence and take statements from witnesses in support of an arrest.
While an arrest warrant is an order to arrest an individual, many arrests are made without one under probable cause theory. Probable cause relies on the belief of the arresting law enforcement officer that a crime occurred or is occurring when they intervene.
Following an arrest, an individual is booked or processed. This is the step where fingerprints and a photo are taken, basic biographical information is collected, and background reviewed for prior arrests or outstanding warrants.
Courts are located throughout the state and hear cases by geographic area. For the most part, the presiding court is in the county where the alleged crime occurred. The arraignment is the first time a person accused of violating a law appears before a Superior Court Judge. During this stage of the proceeding, formal charges are read to the person accused of violating a law, a plea of guilty or not guilty is entered, and bail is determined.
The next period involves the Westport defense attorney’s review of evidence, plea bargaining, and motion practice narrowing the issues of the case. If the case is not disposed of in the plea-bargaining phase, then the case proceeds to a preliminary hearing and eventually to a trial.
At trial, a jury decides if the accused is guilty or innocent. The judge sets the punishment at sentencing. Post-sentencing, there may be conditions like a fee or fine to pay and a period of supervision or probation.
How an Attorney Can Help
From arrest to post-conviction, an individual has the right to legal representation in Westport at every stage of the criminal process. An experienced criminal defense attorney in Westport is ready to analyze your case and build a defense. If you have been arrested or are under criminal investigation, consult with a Westport criminal lawyer immediately.