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Do You Need the Services of a Criminal Lawyer in Portsmouth, VA?

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Do You Need the Services of a Criminal Lawyer in Portsmouth, VA?

Do you need representation in criminal court? If so, you need to retain the services of a criminal lawyer in Portsmouth, VA. Now is not the time you want to go it alone. You need an advocate on your side so you can face the charge or charges for your offense. If you don’t retain an attorney, you can usually ask the judge for a court-appointed attorney. However, a court-appointed attorney is only made available if jail time is a possibility.

Pleading Guilty or Not Guilty

The plea you provide the judge is of utmost importance and is one that you need to discuss with a criminal lawyer. For example, if your plea is “guilty,” you are admitting to the offense of which you are charged and are also giving up the right to a court trial and the right to remain silent. If you choose to plead guilty then, the judge imposes the sentence.

Deciding on A Court Trial or Jury Trial

Should you plead “not guilty,” the judge will ask whether you want a jury trial or a court trial. During a court trial, the judge hears the evidence presented by your criminal lawyer and makes a decision based on that information. During a jury trial, six people from the community serve as jurors. They hear the evidence in your case and make a decision as to your guilt. If you are found guilty after a jury or court trial, the judge decides the sentencing. While a jury trial lasts a full day, a court trial ends after about an hour.

During your initial appearance or arraignment, the jury or court trial is scheduled for another day. The judge does not listen to a defendant’s testimony during the initial appearance nor does he or she make a decision that day. Naturally, if you retain the services of a lawyer, they can explain the process and support you in your defense. Again, don’t go it alone. You need an attorney to be your advocate and representative when you are facing a serious criminal charge, whether it is a misdemeanor or felony.

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