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Mississippi Criminal Law Questions

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At Danks, Miller & Cory, we provide experienced criminal defense for people charged with state and federal crimes throughout the State of Mississippi. Whether you have been charged with a crime against another person or property, contact us online or call our office at 601-957-3101 to arrange a free consultation.

Frequently Asked Criminal Law Questions

What rights do I have after I am arrested?

1. The right to know what charges have been brought against you.

2. The right to speak with an attorney.

3. The right to remain silent when questioned by police unless you have an attorney present.

What is the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony?

Felonies are usually more serious than misdemeanors. Felonies are crimes that carry a sentence of more than one year. Misdemeanors are punishable by a sentence of one year or less.

Should you have a lawyer present when you are questioned?

If you are being investigated for potential criminal activity, the best course to have a lawyer present. When someone wants to question you while in custody or out, you should request the opportunity to have a lawyer present. If you desire an attorney but cannot afford one, the court will appoint one for you.

Should you remain silent?

Whether in custody or not you should usually refuse to answer any substantive questions. This is done by affirmatively stating that you are asserting your rights against self incrimination and requesting the opportunity to speak with a lawyer. If you do talk, your words may be twisted around and used against you. You may waive your right to remain silent by going ahead and answering questions after you have asserted the right to remain silent.

What is bail?

Bail is money or property paid to the court to make sure that you show back up when ordered to do so. Bail can generally be made in the following forms: (1) cash or check for the full amount; (2) property worth the full amount of the bail; or (3) securing a bail bond. If you do not show up, the court keeps the bail and issues a warrant for your arrest.

How is bail set?

Judges are normally responsible for setting bail. The Eighth Amendment prohibits the setting of an excessive bail. The amount of the bail should not exceed what is reasonably necessary. However, in certain case (like those involving violent crimes) it is not unusual for bail to be set very high or not allowed at all. There are also situations where people who are not a flight risk are released “on their own recognizance” without bail.

What is a preliminary hearing?

If the prosecutor decides to bring charges rather than present the case to a grand jury, the person charged is entitled to a preliminary hearing at which time the prosecutor must show that there is enough evidence of the crime to warrant a trial. f the judge finds that there is enough evidence to support the charges, then the case will move forward.

What is a grand jury?

In felony cases, prosecutors may present evidence to a grand jury who will decide whether an indictment should be returned. The proceedings are secret.

What is an arraignment?

Your first appearance in court is often at an arraignment. You have a right to be arraigned without unnecessary delay. At the arraignment the court will tell you what you are charged with; you will enter a plea of guilty or not guilty; bail can be raised or lowered; and a trial date may be set.

How are attorney fees paid?

The lawyers at Danks, Miller & Cory normally provide legal services in criminal cases by charging a flat fee. However, in certain situations we will agree to charge a retainer and bill against that retainer at an agreed hourly rate. When a flat fee is charged, the amount is determined based on our estimate of the amount of time and work that will be required to defend the case through trial.

What is sentencing?

Sentencing is the procedure where the punishment is decided and imposed. Sentencing occurs after a guilty plea or after a conviction.

What are Federal Sentencing Guidelines?

The Federal Sentencing Guidelines provide a recommended range of incarceration time. They involve a complex formula that takes into consideration various factors. The Sentencing Guidelines are advisory, not mandatory. The court may find that your particular case requires an upward or downward departure from what is provided for by the guidelines.

What is a white collar crime?

“White collar crime” generally refers to a crime committed by a business person, professional or public official which involves allegations of dishonesty and deception for one’s personal financial benefit.

Experienced Mississippi Criminal Defense Lawyers

For an experienced criminal defense attorney, contact us online. We welcome the opportunity to meet with you to discuss your specific case.

Our office is conveniently located in downtown Jackson, just off I-55. Parking is available behind the building.

We schedule evening and weekend appointments on request.