Things to Know if Charged With a San Jose Felony
If you have been charged with committing a San Jose felony, you will want to educate yourself about your legal rights, your legal options and the San Jose felony process.
This article will explain what you should know if you have been charged with a San Jose felony.
The San Jose Felony Process: Arrest & Booking
The San Jose felony process begins when you are arrested. At this point, you retain several rights that are intended to protect you from incriminating yourself.
One of these is the right to remain silent. This means that you do not have to answer questions from police, other law enforcement officials or investigators without an attorney present. However, you may voluntarily give up this right at any time.
You also have the right to a San Jose criminal attorney. If you do not already have an attorney, you should try to hire one as early in the felony process as possible. The sooner you hire a criminal lawyer, the sooner that lawyer can become familiar with your case and provide you with legal advice.
If you are incarcerated and are unable to investigate San Jose criminal attorneys on your own, you can entrust a friend or family member to search for lawyers on your behalf. You can also use Attorneys.com to find a San Jose criminal lawyer near you. Whether you are charged with a felony in Alviso, Willow Glen, Cambrian Park or another part of Santa Clara County, Attorneys.com can connect you to a San Jose criminal attorney. Just fill out the form on this site, or call 1-877-913-7222. After answering a few questions, Attorneys.com will provide you with the contact information of at least one criminal attorney in your area. The attorney will then contact you within two business days, or you can reach out to him at your own convenience.
If you cannot afford an attorney, you have the right to have one appointed to you. This type of attorney is known as a public defender.
The San Jose Felony Process: The Arraignment
Next, you will be arraigned in court. This is when the felony charges are read aloud, and you have the chance to respond by entering your plea.
There are several pleas available to you in San Jose, including:
- Guilty: This means you do not dispute the charges and admit guilt. The judge will sentence you.
- No contest: This means you do not dispute the charges, but you do not admit guilt. A guilty plea will be entered, and the judge will sentence you.
- Not guilty: This means you dispute the charges and do not admit guilt. The judge will schedule a trial date.
- Mute: This means you enter no plea. The court will enter a not guilty plea, and you will have the opportunity to dispute the criminal process up to that point. The judge will schedule a trial date.
If you have a trial date, the judge will also set bail. Bail is money you put up as security to ensure you show up for your trial.
The San Jose Felony Process: The Trial
You and your San Jose criminal attorney will go to trial to try to prove to a judge or jury that you are not guilty. However, prior to trial, your attorney may be able to enter into a plea agreement with the prosecution, the party in charge of convincing the jury of your guilt.
A plea agreement is when you plead guilty to lesser charges in order to receive a lighter sentence. For example, if you have been charged with felony assault, your attorney may be able to talk down your charge to a misdemeanor assault. If you do enter into a plea agreement, you will have to show up at court to plead guilty to the new, lesser charge.
If no plea agreement has been made, then your attorney will have to attempt to assert a criminal defense to convince the jury you are not guilty. The criminal defense used will depend on the charges against you. For example, if you have been charged with committing assault, your attorney may argue you were acting in self-defense.
San Jose felony law is complex. If you have questions about your case or about the felony process in general, do not hesitate to contact a San Jose criminal attorney.