Is the lawyer a generalist or a specialist in one type of law?
Mr. Schneider has practiced law for 15 years. He began as a civil trial lawyer. A mentor of Mr. Schneider, who had practiced criminal defense law for 40 years, became sick. Mr. Schneider took on some of his mentor’s cases while the mentor was undergoing chemo therapy. Mr. Schneider soon found out that if he applied his civil litigation skills to criminal defense, the combination delivered excellent results. So, to answer the question, Mr. Schneider is a trial lawyer at heart whom practices civil as well as criminal law.
Has he handled cases like yours?
Mr. Schneider has handled a multitude of different matters from early settlement to trial. Chances are, Mr. Schneider has handled a case just like yours. To be sure, call Mr. Schneider and let him know what you are up against. All initial consultations are free.
What different outcomes can he predict for your case?
There are generally three outcomes in a criminal case. Dismissal of the charges in the pre-trial stage; plea of guilty or acquittal at trial. The facts, law, negotiation and analysis dictates the best possible outcome. Ultimately, the decision rests with the client.
How long should I expect to retain the lawyer’s service?
This depends on the nature of the case. Non-complex cases, like misdemeanors can take several months to resolve. More complex felony cases may take years.
How often will you be billed, and what’s the lawyer’s estimation for service and fees?
Fees are dependent upon the type of case. For example, a misdemeanor defense may be only $500.00; while on the other hand crimes involving the death of another may run in the thousands. Again, it is necessary to sit down and discuss the facts and law with the lawyer to understand the fees and services. Finally, in most criminal cases, fees are due in advance of services. However, there are exceptions to this rule depending on the case.
How will the lawyer inform you of the case progress?
Your lawyer is required to keep in touch with you on a regular basis. In some cases the Judge will required the Defendant to keep in touch with the lawyer on a regular basis.
What style you can expect from the lawyer; Aggressive or open to settlement?
Mr. Schneider is an aggressive litigator. This is not to be mistaken with angry or rude. Aggressive means that he will take your case seriously, research the facts and the law and then vigorously defend you during settlement and at trial. As for settlement, every good lawyer is always open to discuss settlement with the prosecutor. Then communicate the settlement offer to the client. Mr. Schneider will always give you the tools you need to decide whether a plea offer is advantageous or not. However, Mr. Schneider will never try to bully you into pleading guilty, the choice is yours. With Mr. Schneider’s guidance, you will always make an informed decision.
Will others be assisting my case?
Sometimes Mr. Schneider has associates or paralegals assisting him. However, Mr. Schneider will always be the person appearing in court on your behalf.
Is the lawyer covered by malpractice insurance?
Do I have to talk to the police?
The Short Answer is: No! There are many reasons why a law enforcement officer (LEO) may contact you. The answer to this question is based upon the assumption that you are a target of a criminal investigation. Only under a very special set of circumstances should you talk to LEO. On the other hand, there are many reasons why you should not. Knowing whether or not to talk to LEO runs a fine line. To be safe, you should never talk to LEO without an attorney present.
What is the difference between Federal and State criminal investigations?
Federal court cases are typically investigated by federal agencies, including the FBI, DEA, Customs, Treasury, and other federal agencies. Sometimes state and local police agencies work with federal prosecutors if the offenses involve major quantity of drugs, weapons or other contraband. The federal government has more resources to prosecute cases, including special units to prosecute drugs, fraud, and violent crimes. While the state and local government also has special units, they have fewer prosecutors with larger case loads. Also, local law enforcement does not have nearly as many resources to complete investigations with as much thoroughness as federal law enforcement. For the most part, it is definitely in a criminal defendant’s interest to be prosecuted in state, rather than federal court. The state of Vermont’s sentencing system has more flexibility in terms of alternative sentencing options than sentences handed down in Federal Court. We can help you with both Federal and State issues. Please visit www.schneiderfederallaw.com for more information about Federal Cases.
If I get charged with a crime do I go to jail immediately?
Not always. When the investigating officers believe that they have identified a suspect in a criminal case, he presents his evidence to a prosecutor for review. If the prosecutor believes that the report provides sufficient evidence to indicate that the alleged offender has committed a crime he will file a criminal complaint. The criminal complaint is then presented to a judge, who will either issue a warrant authorizing the arrest of the suspect or a summons requiring the suspect to appear in court on a specific day. If law enforcement believes you are a flight risk, you may be arrested and taken to jail.
What happens if I get arrested and go to jail?
If arrested and taken to jail, you must be taken before a judge or commissioner for an initial appearance within twenty-four (24) hours. Often times you are released on your own recognizance (OR), a personal promise to return to court when required to do so. When released on his own recognizance, you are not required to post money bail or a bail bond because it is believed that will show up at your next court appearance. People with serious records, those who have committed dangerous felonies, or those who have a history of not returning to court as required, are either held in jail or released after posting bail.
What is bail/bond?
Bail is financial assurance that you will return to court after being released from custody. There are two ways to post bail. First, “cash” bail may be posted with the custodial agency to cover the entire amount of the bail. At the end of the case, if bail is exonerated and you will receive a check for the entire amount posted. Second, a “bond” through a bail company may be posted. You will be required to pay 10% of the entire amount to a bail company, which will put up the entire bail amount in the form of a bond. If this bail is later exonerated, you will not receive the money you paid the bail bondsman back because that is the cost of the service of posting a bond.
How much bail do I have to pay?
The amount of the bond set by the judge or commissioner depends on the crime for which the person has been arrested. Most defendants are released after the initial appearance, but their travel is limited. Contact between the defendant and victims or witnesses is also restricted.
What is an arraignment?
An arraignment is the first appearance in court. The arraignment serves several purposes. This is the first time you are informed of the exact nature of the charges against you. At this time you are asked to enter a plea to the charges against you. Normally a plea of “not guilty” is entered and a trial date is set. Defendants are entitled to a speedy trial and if the defendant remains in custody, a trial date must be set within sixty (60) days of the arraignment.
Does it hurt me to plead “not guilty” at an arraignment?
The Short Answer is: No.! Unless you have entered into an agreement to plead guilty that is advantageous to you, you should always plead not guilty at an arraignment. In fact, if you appear before a judge without an attorney present and you tell the judge that you are not certain what to do, he will assume you are pleading not guilty anyway. Again, there are many good reasons to plead NG, aside from the fact that you did not commit the crime. And again there are only a few good reasons to plead straight to the crime. However, you should never enter a plea without he advice of a lawyer.
What happens after an arraignment?
After the arraignment, the prosecutor gives the defense attorney copies of the state’s case file which includes witness statements and police reports. Witnesses may be contacted by representatives of either the state or the defense for an interview before the trial.
What is a plea agreement?
Before the trial, it is also routine for the attorney prosecuting the case to discuss the possibility of a negotiated case settlement with your attorney. Your attorney must communicate any offers by the prosecutor to you prior to acceptance of any settlement. Your attorney may seek a dismissal of certain charges, a commitment from the prosecutor not to file any other charges, an agreement enabling your to plead guilty to some of the original charges or to some lesser charges or an agreement to recommend a particular sentence. If an agreement is reached, you, your attorney and the prosecutor appear before a judge. You state that you are guilty for the negotiated charge and signs a form declaring that he or she is knowingly giving up various constitutional rights, including his your right to a trial.
What happens if I plead guilty?
If you pleads guilty, or if you are found guilty by the judge or jury, the judge may schedule a sentencing hearing. In simple misdemeanor cases the judge may sentence you at the time of the plea. Otherwise, the court will request a pre-sentence report about you from the probation department.
This report discusses your life and any other crimes you may have committed, and will contain a recommendation for a specific sentence. The probation officer will contact the victim(s) and major witnesses as part of his investigation. Furthermore, the victim may submit a statement to the judge through the probation officer. This statement may contain a request for restitution (repayment of monetary losses suffered by the victim). In some situations, testimony especially relevant to the sentence may be heard at a special hearing, when either the prosecutor or your attorney have strong feelings about the situation.
Some victims have chosen to organize petition drives asking for a speedy and just sentence in the criminal case in which they are involved. These petitions are presented to the probation officer who is handling the case prior to sentencing. If you are sentenced to jail or prison, you may not have to pay restitution. If you are placed on probation, the judge may order you to pay for out-of-pocket losses suffered by the victim. Restitution payments are paid to the Clerk of the Court who sends the payments to the victims.
What happens if I am placed on probation?
If you are placed on probation, you may be under many restrictions of conduct and travel. Any inappropriate action by you while on probation, including unauthorized contact with victims and witnesses to his crime, may be reported to the probation office. If you violate the terms of your probation during your probationary period, you will be considered to have violated probation. Any concessions you may have received at sentencing (i.e. the court staying jail time), may be revoked and you may go to jail to serve part or all of your remaining sentence.
If at sentencing you were sent to the Arizona State Prison, you may become eligible for parole (community supervision) after serving approximately 85% of your maximum sentence, or the minimum sentence you received, whichever is shorter. If released on parole, the Arizona Department of Corrections, Parole Division is responsible for supervising you.
This set of questions is general information and not legal advice. If you believe that you are a target of a criminal investigation or if you have been charged with a crime, please seek legal advice. If you are a victim of a crime, call law enforcement.