Criminal allegations, from the moment you are investigated, through arrest, and trial can be overwhelming for any defendant. The impact of a criminal charge can be even more life-altering if you are convicted. Defendants may be required to pay fines or restitution, face jail sentencing, and be forced to deal with a lasting criminal record. While the primary objective for a defense attorney is to prevent a conviction, an attorney also plays a pivotal role through the criminal process even if a conviction occurs.
Navigating the criminal justice system is complex. Defendants may not always be aware of their rights. Remember that even before arrest, law enforcement officers must follow legal standards to protect your rights as a suspect. In the event of violation, evidence may be suppressed and criminal charges can be dropped in your case. Our experienced and dedicated Birmingham criminal defense attorneys will make every effort to return the best possible outcome in your case. While a primary objective is to avoid a conviction, we will also make every effort to ensure that any restitution order or post-release requirement is not unreasonable or beyond your means.
In United States v. Keele, a defendant plead guilty to crimes involving aiding and abetting to prevent the seizure of information. The defendant appealed his conviction and challenged the restitution order handed down by the court. The court found that after reviewing his record, the valid appeal waiver barred his right to appeal his restitution order. A restitution order requires a defendant to repay money or services to the victims or society. In general, restitution is the act of restoration. It can be applied differently in courts throughout the country, but the effect is the same. In this case, the defendant sought to challenge the restitution order even though he waived his right to appeal the conviction. The court dismissed the appeal and the defendant was forced to pay restitution in his case.
In the criminal justice system, pleading guilty, accepting plea bargains, or waiving the right to an appeal can have broad consequences. For instance in this case, if the defendant doesn’t have the money to pay restitution in a timely manner, he may face additional sanctions, including jail time. It is important to have an experienced attorney who can effectively protect your rights at each stage of your case. Many defendants do not know what rights they have until it is too late. An experienced attorney will be your advocate through the investigation process, at trial, and in the event of a conviction. To prevent waiving certain rights, it is important to work with a trusted criminal defense attorney.
Defendants with undue burdens are more likely to commit future crimes or to face legal trouble in the future. By getting appropriate treatment and minimizing a restitution order in your case, you will be more likely to get back on your feet, even after a conviction and sentence is served. Experienced attorneys may also be able to explore other sentencing options on your behalf, including treatment options if you have been convicted of a drug crime. Remember that without experienced defense, you could risk waiving your rights at certain stages and facing an unreasonable or harsh sentence upon conviction.