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“I have been pleased with the way [Cheryl Chadwick] handled my case. She treated me very fairly, explained everything very well and was willing to do extra to put me at ease about the situation. I’m very grateful.”
“Pat Duff has always been a trusted friend when addressing our legal issues for our family. A class act all the way!”
“We are very happy with Tom Chadwick and the work he has done for us. We refer all of our friend to him ”
“Pat [Duff] is the best. He goes over and above what he has to in order to help his clients. He gives clear advice on the case and he is not only the best lawyer I’ve ever had, he is a friend. Thanks Pat.”
“Tom [Chadwick] assisted us in will preparation and revising previous documents. We were pleased with the amount of time Tom took in explanation of terms and processes. He was very thorough in his explanations and helped us clearly understand what our documents meant. We would definitely work with Tom in the future and are comfortable with referring him to our family and friends for services.”
“Mr. Duff prepared our will and made the entire experience as easy and quick as it could be. He did an excellent job explaining the many scenarios so that we could make an informed decision. We certainly appreciate all his help and his assistant is also wonderful. She was a pleasure to work with.”
“Tom [Chadwick] was great. He explained everything in a way that was easy to understand. He answered all our questions clear and concise. He was very professional but did so on a personal level.”
“It was truly a pleasure! Professional, personable and detail oriented. Asking all the right questions to assure our work would be completed in full and with accuracy.” Patrick Lorvo
“I received the help I needed from Tom Chadwick to fill out my Power of Attorney. He explained it in a language I could understand and went over any questions I had.” Jane Riker
“Cheryl Chadwick is always to the point. If I did not understand something she would take the time to explain it to me. She never hurried me at an appointment. She was thorough with what I needed to give her. She is people friendly! And she smiled a lot! I never felt like she held me beneath her.”
“Mr. Duff handled my Mother’s estate. He answered all of our questions and was very helpful. The office staff was very good also. Thanks very much.”
No two criminal matters are ever the same. However, there is a general pattern that most criminal cases follow, depending upon the facts and circumstances of each case. A great deal of the concern that an individual may have when charged with a crime is confusion about the legal terms and procedures that occur. With that in mind, following a general procedural flow of a typical case, the following explanation of some of these legal terms are described as follows:
Arraignment. There are basically 3 types of Arraignments:
At the Arraignment, the purpose is to advise the defendant of the charge and his/her procedural rights, and to permit the defendant to claim or waive those rights. The District Court Misdemeanor Arraignment allows the defendant to plead guilty, not guilty, or stand mute. The District Court Felony Arraignment allows the defendant to demand or waive a Preliminary Examination.
Misdemeanor - criminal offense where, if convicted, a person may be incarcerated up to one year in jail.
Felony - criminal offense where if convicted a person may be incarcerated in prison for a period exceeding one year, up to life. Both types of crimes and their punishment depend upon the nature of the crime charged.
Preliminary Examination - pertains to felonies. It is a judicial proceeding in the District Court to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to continue proceedings to a Circuit Court Trial. The Preliminary Examination is often waived (not held) for a variety of reasons. In felonies, the matter, if not dismissed or reduced to a misdemeanor, is then bound over to Circuit Court.
Pretrial Conference. As it pertains to District Court, this conference is held for both misdemeanor and felony cases whereby the defendant and/or the defendant’s attorney will discuss and negotiate the criminal matter with the prosecuting attorney to determine whether the case will be resolved through a Plea Bargain, or what future direction the case will go.
Arraignment in Circuit Court. The defendant is provided with a copy of the charging document (the information) whereby the defendant typically enters a not guilty plea, guilty plea or stands mute. The defendant will have been informed of the maximum punishment and may have had an agreement previously worked out at the Pretrial Conference as to the punishment, if a plea of guilty is entered. A not guilty plea or a plea of mute will result in the matter moving forward to trial. There is an assortment of other pleas that may be entered.
Motions. Motions are requests made before the court. The requests may be for additional information, to dismiss the case, to change the venue (location) of the case, to suppress evidence, or to allow certain types of evidence.
Plea Bargaining. Plea bargaining is the process whereby the defendant and/or the defendant’s attorney negotiate with the prosecutor in an effort to resolve the criminal matter. It occurs anywhere in time from before the pre-trial to anytime throughout the remainder of the case.
Trial. A trial, whether in district court or circuit court, is the proceeding whereby a judge or jury (a collection of citizens) determine if it has been shown by the prosecutor, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant is guilty of the offense. If found guilty, the defendant is sentenced.
Sentencing. After a plea of guilt (or nolo contendere, where the defendant does not admit guilt, but the case is treated as a conviction by the court), or a conviction by a judge or jury, a defendant is sentenced. The sentencing can be anything from fines and costs only, to probation and/or incarceration.
Information Courtesy of ICLE, Bruce A. Borton, Basic Criminal Practice
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