COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Q: What if I was acting in self defense?
A: Self defense can be a complete justification for your conduct and may result in a dismissal of all charges. However, this is a very complicated and nuanced area of the law. If you believe you were acting in self defense in your case, you should consult an attorney immediately. If possible, contact an attorney BEFORE you have any conversations with law enforcement regarding your conduct.
Q: Should I testify at my trial that I acted in self-defense?
A: Every defendant in a criminal trial has the right to testify or not to testify, and whether or not you take the stand in your own defense is a decision to be made between you and your lawyer. While it may be surprising, experienced attorneys often encourage their clients not to take the stand and testify. Even if you want to tell your side of the story to a judge and jury, it is not always the best way to win your case. Getting on the stand opens you up to intense questioning by the prosecution; depending on your criminal history and your ability to stay cool under pressure, such scrutiny can sometimes hurt your case rather than help it. It’s your lawyer’s job to poke holes in the prosecution’s case against you, and a good attorney can sometimes do this effectively without putting you on the stand.
Q: Will I go to jail?
A: These types of offenses, because they include acts of violence, will often result in the prosecution asking for jail time. If you are facing a felony, even a probationary sentence can carry significant jail time, often 4-6 months in custody. A good lawyer will help you get little to no jail time.
Q: How will these types of offenses affect my ability to seek employment?
A: Assault and battery related offenses are often crimes of moral turpitude, which basically means that these types of offenses have a negative impact on your character. Therefore, a conviction can have a devastating effect on your ability to find a job.
Important: Once you have successfully completed probation, you can have many of these convictions expunged, thereby preventing private parties, including potential employers, from learning about your record.
Q: If convicted of a felony, what are my chances of getting probation instead of State Prison?
A: This will depend on your criminal record and the seriousness of the offense charged. If you have a minimal or no criminal record and the crime did not result in serious injury, there is a very good chance you will avoid State Prison and get a probationary sentence.
Important: A probationary sentence does NOT mean no jail time. You can be sentenced to both jail AND probation.
Q: What is the difference between probation and parole?
A: Parole applies only after you have served a State Prison sentence. Probation will apply to all other misdemeanor and felony sentences
DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent counsel for advice on any legal matter.