Standing Up For Your Rights

Photo of attorney Stephen Cale


Q: Do I really need a lawyer?

A: Yes. Although you have a right to represent yourself, you shouldn’t.  Criminal and asset forfeiture defense is complex.  Your liberty, reputation, finances, and future are at stake. So, you need an experienced attorney to help you.  If you want to just get a good deal, a prosecutor is more likely to give a good deal to a person with an attorney than one without.  An experience attorney might even be able to get the charge dismissed before even having to go to trial.

Q: What kind of cases do you handle?

A: Criminal charges — misdemeanors and felonies; Probation violations (Applications to Acceleration or Motion to Revoke); Expungements; and Driver’s license revocation hearings.

Q:  Can a felony conviction hurt me even if I get probation?

A: Yes. A felon: cannot vote during the term of the sentence, sit on a jury,  possess firearms; and  have a driver’s license in some instances. A felon might as well forget a becoming a surveyor, physical therapist, chiropractor, real estate agent, architect, nurse, cosmetologist, and security guard. Even if not legally forbidden to have a certain job, a felony conviction will hinder you from getting a job.  Also, a felony conviction can seriously hurt your reputation.

Q:  What is an expungement?

A:  An expungement is a method of erasing a criminal record.  In some instances, not only can the court record be expunged, but the arrest record as well.  Certain legal rules determine whether a person qualifies for an expungement.

Q: What’s the difference between a Motion to Accelerate and a Motion to Revoke?

A:  Both deal with probation violations.  A Motion to Accelerate applies to someone who got a deferred sentence. It seeks to have the defendant serve the sentence (instead of remain on probation) because of a probation violation.  A Motion to Revoke seeks the same thing as a Motion to Accelerate, but it applies to someone with a suspended sentence.

Q: What’s the difference between a deferred sentence and a suspended sentence?

A: They are the same in that both put a person on probation for a crime.  The critical difference is that a suspended sentence counts as a conviction, whereas a deferred sentence does not.  Also, at the end of a deferred sentence, the case will be dismissed.  So, for example, if a person got a two-year deferred sentence, they would following the conditions of probation, and at the end of two years, the case would be dismissed.

Q: What conditions will I have to abide by if I get probation?

A:  It depends. The conditions can vary.  In alcohol-related cases, the probationer will be required to do a drug and alcohol assessment and follow the recommendations. Other conditions may include DUI School, having a job, checking in with the DA’s office every month and paying a supervision fee, community service, and paying fines.