Facing any criminal charge can be a serious matter. A conviction could mean jail time, steep fines, a driver’s license suspension, probation, or other severe penalties, depending on the nature of the charges. A criminal defense lawyer in Pottstown can aggressively defend your reputation and fight to clear your record. A lawyer may be able to prevent a conviction from going on your permanent record or reduce the severity of the punishment you face.
There is no reason you need to face the criminal justice process alone. Defense attorney David C. McKenzie III will ensure your rights remain protected and provide guidance and support. He will be by your side during your arraignment, your criminal trial, and beyond. If you currently face charges or believe you will face them soon, reach out to the McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., today at 610-680-7842 for a free consultation and case review.
The Role of a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Pottstown
Our defense team knows the local judges, prosecutors, and other players in the criminal justice system. We know how the process works, and what to expect each step of the way. We can use to this our advantage, helping you understand what comes next and reducing the stress and anxiety associated with going to court. We know when to expect complications and can sometimes help avoid them.
If we take on your case, we will explain:
- The possible outcomes of your case;
- The most likely consequences based on each possible outcome;
- What happens if you plead guilty and if there are advantages in doing so;
- If a plea deal is possible in your case;
- The pros and cons of any proposed plea agreement;
- The pros and cons of taking your case to trial;
- The best strategy for getting a more favorable outcome; and
- Our options for limiting the impact of a conviction.
While we will represent you to the judge and jury, and fight for the best possible outcome in your case, we will also serve in many other roles, including acting as support and adviser and ensuring your rights remain protected and intact.
Understanding the Pennsylvania Criminal Justice Process
Our team will represent and defend you throughout each step of the Pennsylvania criminal justice process.
Arrest and Preliminary Arraignment
When you face accusations of a serious crime, the police will likely arrest you. Several hours after your arrest and booking, you will go before a judge for the first time. This appearance is called the preliminary arraignment. The judge will announce the charges, tell you about your right to a criminal defense lawyer, and set bail.
The Preliminary Hearing
The next court appearance following your preliminary arraignment is the preliminary hearing. If you have not already arranged to meet with a criminal defense lawyer, you should do so before this hearing. During the preliminary hearing, the prosecution presents evidence to show someone committed a crime and explain why they believe it was you. This presentation gives us the opportunity to see what type of evidence they have against you for the first time.
We can also present some evidence of our own during this hearing. While laws limit how much and what type of evidence we can present, we may be able to show it is unlikely you committed the crime. This action could lead the judge to drop the charges. If not, they will formally arraign you and make the charges official.
Once they officially charge you with a crime during your formal arraignment, we will turn our efforts to working out a plea deal with prosecutors. A successfully negotiated plea agreement allows you to plead guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for a more lenient sentence. This agreement helps us avoid the cost, time, and unpredictable outcome of a criminal trial.
The Trial and Sentencing
If we cannot successfully negotiate a plea deal in your case, or if we believe we can create reasonable doubt in the minds of jurors, we will turn our attention to preparing for trial.
Juries decide the fate of most people who face a criminal trial. We will present a solid defense to the judge and jury, representing you and defending you against the allegations you face.
During the trial, each side presents their case. Then the jury takes time to deliberate their verdict. If the jury returns a guilty verdict, the court will move on to sentencing.
Defending a Criminal Case in Pottstown
Having a solid defense strategy in place is key to getting the most favorable outcome possible. When you enlist our help, we will immediately investigate the situation that resulted in your arrest. One of three things usually result from this investigation:
- We discover evidence to show the police violated your rights, conducted a search without a warrant, or otherwise gathered evidence illegally;
- We identify strong evidence proving someone else committed the crime, or that you could not have committed it; or
- We get a well-rounded view of the case against you and can work to formulate a plan to reduce the possible penalties you will face.
Often we work with the court and the prosecution to wrap things up before your case ever goes to court. We may be able to:
- Convince the prosecution to drop the charges against you;
- Ask the judge to throw out the evidence against you; or
- Negotiate a plea bargain for a lesser charge.
In some cases, the best option is to take the case to trial. If there is a reason to believe the jury may acquit you, we will present your case during the trial and attempt to create reasonable doubt in the minds of jurors.
Contact a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Pottstown Today
Attorney David C. McKenzie III and the rest of the criminal defense team at the McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., is here to help you fight the accusations or criminal charges you face. We will investigate your case and take aggressive action to get the most favorable outcome possible given the circumstances of your arrest. Call us today at 610-680-7842 to learn more.