Client Focused. Results Driven.
Law Offices of Shannon C. Smith

Criminal Defense Lawyers in Northern Kentucky

Protecting Our Clients’ Futures Through Experienced Legal Representation

While facing criminal charges is never anyone’s idea of fun, it may be more common than you think. Approximately 33% of adults in the United States have some type of criminal record. This only counts convictions, so an even greater percentage have faced criminal charges at some point in their lives. When you’re facing arrest and criminal accusations, a criminal defense attorney can be an invaluable asset, resource, and partner.

Being charged with a crime doesn’t have to affect the rest of your life. With the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney, you can fight back against these accusations and protect your freedom and future. Call the Law Offices of Shannon C. Smith, PLLC, to find out what types of criminal defense cases we take and how we can help you address these charges.

What Is the Difference Between a Misdemeanor and Felony Charge?

Criminal charges are either misdemeanors or felonies, and it’s important to understand the differences between the two and how they can affect your legal strategy. Misdemeanors are lower level charges than felonies. Generally, misdemeanors carry a potential sentence of less than 1 year in jail, but in Kentucky, this is reduced to less than 9 months. A felony conviction can result in a multiyear prison sentence, including and up to life in prison for Class A felony.

Felonies also carry higher fines, ranging from $1,000 to $10,000. In contrast, misdemeanor fines top out at $500 for a Class A misdemeanor conviction. Misdemeanors also generally don’t have the same level of impact on your personal life, such as making it harder to get a job or rent an apartment.

How Does Bail Work?

If the judge decides that you will be held on bail, they will set the bail amount in accordance with the severity of your charges. You generally have three options when it comes to paying bail. The first is to pay the entire amount in cash. You can pay the bail amount yourself, or someone else can pay it for you, such as a bail bondsman. As long as you follow the conditions of your release and show up to all mandatory court appearances, the money is refunded when the case is resolved.

The second option is a property lien. If you own property that has a value of twice the bail amount, you may be able to get a lien placed against the property to pay for your bail. However, if you don’t follow the conditions of your release or fail to appear in court, the property is subject to forfeit.

The third option is a partially secured bail, which only requires that you come up with a percentage of the bail amount. This percentage can vary but is generally 10 percent. This can make it much easier for defendants to post bail because it can turn a $10,000 bail into just $1,000, as an example.

What Happens During Arraignment?

The first time you appear in court after you have been officially arrested and charged is the arraignment. You will appear before a judge who will make sure that you understand what you’re being charged with and what your rights are. Your attorney will be present with you at the arraignment, and you will need to enter your plea. This is also when you will find out if you are eligible for bail and how much the amount is set at if so.

If you are released on your own recognizance or you are able to make bail, you will be free to go home until your trial. In some cases, the judge may set restrictions, such as not being able to contact the alleged victim or having to avoid certain areas or places.

How Can I Help My Case?

While many people think that there’s nothing they can do once they have been arrested for a crime but go along with the flow of the criminal justice system, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, there are several things you can do that can make a direct impact on the outcome of your case. The first is to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. The sooner an attorney is involved in your case, the better. They can ensure that you understand your rights and options and be present during questioning and other key events in your case.

Another way you can improve your chances of a positive outcome is to work as an active partner with your defense team. This includes being 100 percent open and honest with your attorney and following their legal counsel.

What If I’m Convicted?

The possibility of getting convicted is one of the most pressing thoughts for those facing criminal charges, and it is a good idea to understand what’s at stake. The penalties for a conviction vary depending on the charges, but if you are sentenced to jail or prison time, you will be immediately taken into custody when the sentence is imposed. After you serve your time, you will be released and able to return to your normal life. However, this is often more difficult than expected. While there are never any guarantees with the criminal justice system, working with an attorney can help you increase the possibility of having your charges dismissed or reduced.

A criminal conviction can alter the course of your life. Ensure you’re doing everything you can to put forth a strong defense by working with the team at the Law Offices of Shannon C. Smith, PLLC. Call our Covington office at 859-667-1204 to talk to a criminal defense attorney about your case.