FAQ: Delaware Criminal Law
Depending on what the charges are, your next court date may be a preliminary hearing, or an arraignment. Regardless of which, it is important to know what to expect at these hearings and to have legal counsel to guide you. It is vital to have an attorney in these early stages to avoid making decisions that could cost you later in the case.
You have the right to remain silent and have a lawyer present with you during any questioning by police. During any pre-arrest investigation, it is critical to have an attorney to protect your rights and avoid making decisions that could result in criminal charges, or that would be against your best interests later in the case. These are just some potential aspects of pre-arrest representation by a criminal law attorney:
- Communicating with law enforcement agents on your behalf.
- Making arrangements to turn you in once an arrest warrant has been issued and represent you at that initial appearance where bail will be set.
- Giving legal advice during any police questioning.
- Contacting the State’s Attorney to discuss the case, and potentially prevent charges from being filed.
- Explaining the criminal process, from your first to last potential court dates and hearings and what to expect.
Accepting responsibility by pleading guilty may ultimately be the best course of action, but it is important to have a lawyer review your case and other options. For instance, the resulting conviction and sentence may be far more devastating than you expected. Even if accepting a guilty plea is the decision, it is important to have an attorney to negotiate a guilty plea that is in your best interests and represent you at sentencing. It is important to have an experienced lawyer to review your case and explain your options before making a decision that could have the potential life-long consequences of a criminal conviction.