CRIMINAL LAW

You have been arrested. Now what?

  • You have the right to remain silent, and you better use it. What you say can and definitely will be used against you. Do not talk to the police officer, the jailer, your buddy, or your cellmate. Your cellmate will tell everything he knows on you to get a better deal on the charges against him.

  • You have the right to an attorney. You better get a good one. The sooner you get an attorney, the better.

  • You may make a phone call from jail. Call a family member. Tell them you are in jail, which jail you are in and the amount of your bail. Many minor offenses have a preset amount of bail and you do not have to see a judge before making your bail bond.

    BAIL BOND
    A bail bond is the money, or property, that you put up for your release to guarantee that you will appear for future court appearances. Once you make bail you can be released until your next court appearance.

    Do not have any trouble with the law while you are out on bond. Your bail bond can be revoked.

    If you are charged with a crime that does not have a preset amount of bail, you must see the judge before you can make bail. Ask your family members to hire a lawyer for you.

    If you are charged with an offense that does not have a preset amount of bail, and you hire us, we can often help you get the bail set at an amount that you can make.

    ARRAIGNMENT
    You will probably be arraigned in District Court. Arraignment is a simple reading of the charges, or giving a copy of the charges to your lawyer.

    MISDEMEANOR
    If you are charged with a minor crime (misdemeanor), the case will be heard in District Court and the court may set a pretrial conference. At the pretrial conference you try to work out the case between the victim, the County Attorney, you and your lawyer. If the case cannot be worked out, then your case will be set for trial in District Court.

    FELONY
    If you are charged with a major crime (felony), then you may request a preliminary hearing in District Court. The preliminary hearing usually consists of one police officer testifying. It is an opportunity to find out about your case. The police officer can testify to hearsay evidence so you may not find out a lot about your case.

    After the preliminary hearing, if there is probable cause to believe that you committed the crime, then the case will be sent to the Grand Jury. You may waive your preliminary hearing, which will send your case to the Grand Jury.

    The Grand Jury meets in private with the County Attorney, Commonwealth Attorney, police officers and accusing witnesses. The Grand Jury hears testimony. If the Grand Jury finds there is sufficient evidence to believe you committed a crime, they will hand down an indictment. Most cases that go to the Grand Jury result in indictments.

    You will then be arraigned in Circuit Court. If you hire us to represent you, we may be able to get you continued on the same bond as before. A pretrial and a trial date will be set. At the pretrial, you, your lawyer and the Commonwealth Attorney may want to engage in plea negotiations. If a plea bargain is not agreed to then your case will go to trial on the felony charges. (See table for sentencing information on felonies).

    Depending on the type of felony and any prior offenses, you may be eligible for the following if you plead guilty or are found guilty by a jury.

    DIVERSION
    If your felony charge qualifies under the laws of Kentucky then your case may be diverted. Diversion may require some jail time but afterwards you will be released. If you stay out of trouble and do not have your diversion revoked then at the end of your diversion time you can have your record expunged, which will clear your record of the felony.

    PROBATION
    Once you’ve been sentenced you may request probation. Probation means that you will not have to serve the sentence if you remain on good behavior for a certain period of time. If you do not remain on good behavior, then your probation will be revoked. Any charge or crime against you can result in revocation of your probation.

    SHOCK PROBATION
    Shock probation can be granted after you serve from 30 days to 180 days of your sentence. You are granted shock probation on the condition that you stay out of trouble. Any crime can result in revocation of your shock probation and you could serve the rest of your sentence.

    SENTENCING



    FELONY
    KRS 532.060 Sentence of Imprisonment for Felony
    Class A Felony 20 to 50 years
    Class B Felony 10 to 20 years
    Class C Felony 5 to 10 years
    Class D Felony 1 to 5 years

    MISDEMEANOR
    KRS 532.090 Sentence of Imprisonment for Misdemeanor
    Class A Misdemeanor up to 12 months
    Class B Misdemeanor up to 90 days

    Sentences of one year or less are served in the County Jail. Sentences of over one year are served in the penitentiary, or a county jail approved for felony inmates.



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