A traffic stop for a broken tail light as you leave Newport on the Levy Arena may seem like a minor matter—and it usually is, except your burned out light becomes an opportunity for the arresting officer to begin an investigation into a possible DUI or other crime.
Even a hint of alcohol on your breath will unleash a barrage of tests and procedures to determine DUI. Additionally, if the officer suspects drugs, he may determine probable cause to search your vehicle. What began as an inconsequential infraction may become multiple felony charges.
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Experienced Criminal Defense Attorneys in Northern Kentucky
Whether you face additional charges along with your DUI or have separate criminal charges, the attorneys at Suhre & Associates are here to help. From the beginning of the process to the end, we are there for you.
We Are Here For You On Your Criminal Offense
Regardless of whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or felony, our criminal attorneys have the experience to help. With our help, we can defend you against any criminal charge, including the ones below:
- Aiding & Abetting / Accessory
- Alcohol Intoxication
- Assault / Battery
- Carrying Concealed Deadly Weapon
- Criminal Abuse
- Criminal Mischief
- Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument
- Criminal Trespass
- Custodial Interference
- Defrauding Creditors
- Disorderly Conduct
- Disturbing the Peace
- Domestic Violence
- Drug Manufacturing and Cultivation
- Drug Possession
- Drug Trafficking / Distribution
- Fleeing or Evading
- Identity Theft
- Indecent Exposure
- Juvenile Offenses
- Open Container Law
- Obstructing Governmental Operations
- Probation Violation
- Public Intoxication
- Resisting Arrest
- Sexual Abuse
- Terroristic Threatening
- Unlawful Imprisonment
- Unlawful Transaction with a Minor
- Wanton Endangerment
- White Collar Crimes
The Kentucky Criminal Justice System Process
Although the criminal justice process may look intimidating, we can guide and prepare you for each step. Through the next couple of paragraphs are the steps involved and how we can assist you in each stage of the process and the options that may be available.
The first time you are in court is called the arraignment, whether it is the day after you are charged or weeks later and regardless of what you are charged with. All charges are sent for this first appearance in District Court. It is at this court appearance where you have the choice of pleading guilty or not guilty. The judge will also review the bond if you are in jail or upon your attorney’s request. A judge has several options when it comes to bond including:
- Release on Own Recognizance (released on promise that you will come back)
- Require Signature Bond (can sign yourself for unsecured bond amount)
- Require cash bond in a particular amount (must pay cash on bond to be released)
- Require property bond (property must have a certain value)
* If you don’t return, you will either owe or forfeit bond except when you are released on your own recognizance. *
The Court will also schedule your next appearance in court should you plead not guilty. For misdemeanors and traffic violations, the next court date will either be that of trial or a pre-trial conference.
For those facing felony charges, it will be for what is called a preliminary hearing, which is where the prosecution puts on evidence to show there is probable cause that you committed the crime for which you are charged. Usually, the prosecution accomplishes this by having the arresting officer testify in open court and from there, the case is sent to a grand jury to issue a formal indictment.
Once a formal indictment has been issued by the grand jury, the case will be sent to the Circuit Court and you will go through another arraignment in Circuit Court.
Pre-trial Conferences are held prior to trial and give your attorneys the opportunity to accomplish or work towards several goals. First, these conferences are a great opportunity to pursue and work on negotiating a plea agreement. This plea agreement could include an unlimited variety of options including:
- Court Costs
- Random Drug Testing
- Probated Jail Time
- Drug & Alcohol Evaluation/Treatment
- Active Jail Time
- No Contact with person or premises
- 3rd Party Mediation
- License Suspension
These types of sentences could either be part of a plea or part of a diverted case where upon showing proof of completion, the charge is dismissed.
Pre-trial Conferences are also the time when your attorney can confirm the request and/or receipt of evidence in your case. Through discussions with the prosecutor, the attorney can gauge what evidence the prosecution has against you, what evidence that they intend to use against you, their strategy for how they plan to present the evidence in trial, and if there is evidence, they have been given a copy of the evidence by the prosecution.
Lastly, Pre-trial Conferences are also a time when the Court can hear motions from either side on a variety of topics including the inclusion or exclusion of certain evidence, requests for the type of trial to be had, or changes in restrictions placed by the court on the Defendant.
These hearings can sometimes be very quick and administrative, where other times they are very long and intricate, and involve testimony and the introduction of evidence to support each side’s argument.
No matter what you are charged with, in Kentucky you are allowed to have a jury trial by your peers. You may also waive that right and have what is called a bench trial, which is where the Judge plays the role of the jury and decides the case.
Depending on the facts of your case, your attorney will select the option that gives you the best chance of winning your case. There are several advantages and disadvantages to having either a bench trial or a jury trial based on the goals of representation and your specific case strategy.
In a bench trial, the prosecution will be the first to present evidence, followed by the defense at their choosing and short arguments may be made by either side to the judge before a decision is rendered.
In a jury trial, the process involves several steps in order to properly prepare and educate the jury on the questions they must answer and the evidence they may consider. In particular, the jury must answer whether you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. These steps include conducting voir dire, which is the process of selecting a jury, then opening statements by each side, prosecutions presentation of evidence, the defense’s presentation of evidence if they so choose, closing arguments, instructions to the jury, jury deliberations, and finally, the jury’s decision.
Although the trial is over and you have either been found guilty or not guilty, there may be several actions that need to be accomplished. This may include motions for a judgment to be reconsidered, a notice of appeal documents, and expungement requests. In addition, in the event you are found guilty, it may include payments of fines and costs along with providing proof to the court of completion of different sentencing obligations.
Expungement requests may be needed regardless of whether you are found guilty or innocent. This is because court records will still show that you were charged, even though you were found not guilty of the charge. By filing an expungement request, all records related to the incident can be sealed if the expungement is granted by the court.
Our experience will make the difference
When you are facing criminal charges, it may feel like you are being attacked from all sides. We take that feeling away since we have experience in all types of criminal cases. As our client, we will handle it all for you.
Our practice focuses on DUI, but we also have extensive experience defending all manner of criminal charges. Whether your case involves a DUI and a companion criminal charge or just criminal charges – the criminal attorneys at Suhre & Associates can help. Call us today to schedule a no obligation no cost consultation.