Premier Murfreesboro Criminal Defense Attorneys Answer Your Common Questions
If you have been arrested, trust our experienced criminal attorneys to protect your best interests
The arrest process is intended to be difficult for the accused, and those arrested are often pressured into making important decisions within a very narrow time frame. The Murfreesboro criminal defense attorneys at the firm of Kidwell, South, Beasley and Haley have successfully represented hundreds of Murfreesboro and surrounding area residents over the past forty years. Some of the questions we are most frequently asked about arrests and criminal defense matters include:
- When should I contact an attorney?
- What should I do if I’m arrested?
- I’ve been given a citation for a crime, but not arrested. What should I do?
- Can I represent myself?
- Should I plead guilty or not guilty?
- Is there any way to keep an arrest off my record?
When should I contact an attorney?
It is never too early to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney. Even if you only believe that you might be arrested, or if the police tell you that they only want to question you about a crime, an attorney can help you to determine both the validity of any possible case against you, and your best course of action during any active police investigation in which you may be involved.
What should I do if I am arrested?
The United States Constitution not only provides you with the right to remain silent, but also that exercising that right cannot be held against you in court. Therefore, it is critical that you not speak with the police without an experienced criminal defense attorney present. Even if you are innocent of the crime with which you have been charged, it is to your advantage that you allow an attorney to profess your innocence on your behalf.
I’ve been given a citation for a crime, but not arrested. What should I do?
In Tennessee, written citations are often issued for certain crimes. Although such a citation may resemble a parking ticket, it is considerably more serious. These citations are issued “in lieu of an arrest”, and may not only require you to attend a court proceeding on a particular date, but possibly even to report to a local detention center to be booked, photographed, and fingerprinted. In addition, missing a court hearing in Tennessee is considered “Failure to Appear”—an additional crime for which you can be arrested. Therefore, even if you have only been issued a citation, it is still a good idea to consult with an experienced Tennessee criminal defense attorney to determine your wisest response to the charge.
Can I represent myself?
A major misconception of many arrested in Tennessee is that police, prosecutors and judges are moresomehow more understanding and lenient with defendants who are defending themselves, rather than using defense attorneys. While you certainly have the right to represent yourself, the right to be represented by experienced counsel should not be disregarded. Even if you are familiar with some of your rights, you may not fully understand all of them, and how they may (or may not) apply to your case, as criminal law can be complicated both in procedure and in application. A knowledgeable criminal defense attorney is knowledgeable about both your constitutional rights and the Tennessee criminal code. By analyzing the particular nuances of your case, our experienced Murfreesboro criminal attorneys can determine your best possible course of action.
Should I plead guilty or not guilty?
It is not a good idea to plead guilty at a preliminary hearing without first consulting an attorney. An experienced Murfreesboro criminal attorney, familiar with the Tennessee criminal justice system as well as all of the defenses available to you, can recommend to your best plea option, based upon the circumstances of your arrest and careful analysis of the case being presented against you.
Is there any way to keep an arrest off my record?
Possibly. In Tennessee, certain crimes may provide for “diversion” as part of your sentence. This diversion may consist of probation, a class, or a program of drug testing. Successful completion of such a program may result in a dismissal of charges, while a violation of the terms of such a program may result in a guilty plea. A knowledgeable Murfreesboro criminal defense attorney, experienced with negotiating such agreements with local prosecutors and judges, can determine based on the facts of your case whether your case qualifies for such an agreement.
Contact premier Murfreesboro criminal attorneys if you have been arrested
The experienced criminal attorneys at Kidwell, South, Beasley and Haley have been dedicated to representing Murfreesboro residents in criminal actions for more than forty years. If you are facing criminal charges and are unsure of your rights or your best course of action, we urge you to contact us today for a free consultation at 615-893-1331.