Having an Attorney by Your Side Makes Things More Efficient
Video Transcribed: My name is Ryan Cannonie, I am the Tahlequah criminal defense attorney for Wirth Law Office in Cherokee County. We do everything from family and criminal to civil rights litigation up to if you have a medical marijuana issues.
But right now I want to talk about a situation I’ve kind of been doing some videos on in regard to the criminal justice process.
What can you be expecting? What’s the timeline, kind of what comes after? After you’re arrested what happens after that? So I’ve already talked about arrest. I’ve talked about bail or your bond actually. Bond’s, considered the actual money or what you pay.
I’ve talked about your initial appearance. Now after your initial appearance, what comes next?
Well in felonies and misdemeanors, they both have a situation where it’s, depending on your county, they call it different things. They call it a status docket, a disposition docket, a sounding docket.
Every county I’ve worked in which I was a prosecutor for seven years. So I worked in quite a few counties over in Northeast, Oklahoma.
Every one of them usually call it a different thing, but it all means the same thing. Basically, these are dockets for you and your attorney to go in and talk with the district attorney’s office, figure out what’s their case, what their stance is and work on a plea agreement.
Now, if you have an attorney representing you, a lot of times, they’ll go in prior to that docket on their own to the DA’s office, try and make an appointment with them, call them in some of the more rural counties, it’s a lot easier.
You just, you know the prosecutors, you just pick up your phone and call them. And talk about some type of plea or dismissal. Now, when you go into those dockets, your attorney’s going to have anything that they can use to try to whittle down your charges.
Meaning any evidence, victim’s not cooperative. I wasn’t even in the area, you weren’t even in the area at the time. Different things like that, that they can argue to get charges, hopefully dismissed.
But if not dismissed, then a better plea offer for you. And I saw this all the time. People came in and thought they could negotiate without an attorney.
And they ended up a lot of times with a lot more, either fines and costs, or sometimes more time on probation.
A difference in six months is a pretty big difference sometimes compared to people that had attorneys going in there pointing out different aspects of the law, different problems with the police reports, maybe problems with the evidence that the prosecutor it’s more hassle than it’s worth. Okay, we’ll reduce this down. We’ll get rid of this count. Different things like that.
The whole process is kind of a negotiation at this stage. And these dockets, you’re doing that. You’re also, at that time, maybe pleading, you might be filling out the plea paperwork with your attorney either that day, or hopefully prior to that.
What I like to do with my clients is bring them into the office. Even, this COVID things kind of messed with that, but for the most part, bring them in, go over their paperwork. And that way, when we go into court, we’re not going to a back room to fill stuff out and explain it.
It’s just, we walk in, I say, “Do you have any questions?” “Nope.” “Let’s get in front of the judge, and let’s both get out of here.” It’s a little more efficient and it’s a little quicker doing it that way.
But that’s what having an attorney helps with. It helps not only get you in and out quicker, hopefully, but it also helps you understand what’s going on. If you don’t have an attorney, that kind of depends on what county you’re in.
But a lot of times what’ll happen is you have to wait until the attorneys are done talking to the prosecutor because that’s who they’re going to talk to first.
Then after that, the prosecutor is just going to go down a list. When they get to your name, they’re going to give you a plea offer. Most of the time, they’re extremely busy.
They’ve got a lot of stuff on their plate. So they’ll give you a real quick rundown of it. Say, “Do you want this or not? Do you want more time? Do you want to talk to an attorney? What do you want?”
And you have to make a decision right there. If you want to take the offer, if you want to go talk and try to hire an attorney, or if you want to set it for a trial or a hearing. Now misdemeanors and felonies are basically the same onus, you’re going through kind of the same process.
The only difference is, is if you don’t want to take the state, the prosecutor’s offer on a misdemeanor, at that point, you’re setting it for either a jury or non-jury trial. That’s up to you. You get a choice there. If it’s a felony, you’re going to be setting it for what’s called a preliminary hearing.
And I’ll talk about those in a separate video. So, going in with an attorney is important because like I said, attorneys can negotiate down, get you a better plea offer.
In fact, in your waiver of attorney, if you go in and decide to do it on your own, you’ll notice there’s actually wording in a lot of those waivers that say, you’re waving an attorney, even though it’s possible, your attorney could have got you a better plea or even a dismissal.
That’s usually wording in some of those waivers to still let you know that, “Hey, this is … you’re on your own. You don’t know what you’re doing most of the time. So heads up.” So that’s what an attorney can do for you. Hopefully they can go in and they know the law and we know the law down here.
We’re very skilled in criminal defense work. We’ve worked in not just myself in this office, but we have the Tulsa office backing us up.
We have over a dozen attorneys up there that also are familiar with criminal law matters that have all this experience from attorneys to retired judges that can help you on your case. So if you need help, if you find yourself in a situation where you have criminal charges, then please give us a call. We can help.