Attorney Paul O’Rourke’s Guide when arrested.
Say “I wish to speak to my Attorney Paul O’Rourke at 636-323-5010. Until then, I will make no verbal or written statements.””
DO NOT explain over the phone at a county jail why the arrest happened. The calls ARE RECORDED.”
Do NOT talk to or write about anything until your criminal defense attorney is present.”
Know the name of the jail where you are held.”
Know the name of the criminal charge. Share NO details over the phone.”
Do you have additional outstanding warrants? (YES or NO and where only).”
Consider hiring a lawyer before posting bail. A lawyer can file a Bail Bond Reduction Motion or have the bail removed.”
Posting bail in Missouri automatically cancels your right to a public defender. You should not have to choose between getting out of jail or hiring a top criminal defense lawyer.”
Missouri Legal Guide: Protect Your Rights
If you’re facing a criminal charge, which includes traffic violations, knowing your legal rights – and protecting them – is paramount. One of the most important steps you can take under these circumstances is to consult with an experienced Missouri criminal defense attorney early in the process.
Having a skilled criminal defense lawyer in your corner can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case, which makes reaching out for professional legal counsel at the outset in your best interest. Because a criminal conviction can have lasting consequences, you shouldn’t delay finding the right criminal defense attorney for you.
Some of the most common criminal charges include:
- DWI – A DWI conviction can lead to jail time, hefty fines, and license suspension. Bringing your strongest defense can directly affect the outcome of your case – work closely with a seasoned attorney.
- Minor in possession – The charge of minor in possession may strike you as relatively insignificant, but it’s important to understand that it can interfere with your future, including matters such as higher education and job prospects.
- Drug Crimes – Charges related to drug crimes are serious charges that come with serious fines, penalties, and losses related to social standing. Building your strongest case requires legal skill.
- Assault Charges – Assault charges are serious criminal violations that can land you behind bars. Reach out for professional legal guidance as soon as you’re able.
- Sex Crimes – Being convicted of a sex crime can lead to a prison sentence, considerable fines, a serious downturn in terms of social standing, and registration on the sex offender registry. You need a trusted criminal defense attorney on your side.
- Weapons Violations – A weapons violation conviction can have lasting consequences that shouldn’t be ignored
- Property and Theft Crimes – Property and theft crimes like burglary, robbery, stealing, and trespassing are serious matters that require serious legal attention.
- Probation violations – A probation violation can mean serving out your original sentence behind bars. A savvy criminal defense attorney can help.
- Traffic Violations – Having traffic violations on your record can significantly increase your insurance premiums, which can add up quickly. This is not to mention the fact that convictions come with their own financial penalties and can lead to license suspension or revocation.
The Legal Process
If you’re facing a criminal charge in Missouri, your case will follow its own unique path, but you should know the basic steps forward:
- Investigation – Officer may try to question you. Your response should be “I would love to speak to you about this, but I want my attorney present for any and all questioning” Then remain silent.
- Arrest and booking – You are taken into custody, fingerprinted, and photographed. You may have your DNA taken. While you cannot physically stop this do not consent to it.
- Arraignment – At which you’ll make your initial appearance in court and will be informed of the charge against you.
- IF A FELONY – There is a Preliminary hearing in the Associate Circuit Court for the State to prove that there is PROBABLE CAUSE to send it to the Circuit Court.
- Plea bargaining – Which involves your formidable criminal defense attorney attempting to skillfully negotiate a favorable deal with the state that may involve dropping the charges altogether, reducing the charges, or reducing the sentence.
- Trial – This involves either a judge or jury hearing your case and handing down a verdict.
- Sentencing – This is guided by statute and must follow the relevant parameters.
Finding the Right Attorney for You
The sooner you obtain legal counsel, the better protected your rights will be, but finding the right attorney for you can be challenging. Some tips to consider include:
- Do your research, which involves searching online, checking out websites, and reading reviews.
- Ask for recommendations from trusted family members and friends.
- Schedule consultations with prospective attorneys who grab your attention.
You’re looking for an experienced, professional, and focused criminal defense lawyer whom you’re comfortable opening up to and who inspires your trust and confidence. Putting a bit of effort into finding the right attorney for you can greatly improve the outcome of your case.
Probation and Parole
If you are on either probation or parole, even a minor infraction can lead to incarceration, which makes working with a practiced criminal defense attorney in your best interest. Probation refers to a sentence that’s ordered by the court in lieu of a prison sentence. Parole, on the other hand, is granted by the parole board and represents an early release from prison.
Common Terms and Conditions
The terms and conditions of both probation and parole are strict and tend to focus on matters like the following:
- Paying fines
- Attending counseling
- Performing community service
- Reporting to one’s Probation/Parole officer
- Paying restitution
- Adhering to restrictions on drugs, alcohol, and weapons, which can include drug testing
Tips for Success
Tips for successfully navigating probation and parole all the way through to completion include the following:
- Take the matter as seriously as the law does.
- Maintain an optimistic attitude, which will serve you well throughout this legal process.
- Know and understand your probation or parole order and ask questions as they arise.
- Carefully follow all the rules and restrictions outlined in your order.
- Keep a calendar of where you’re supposed to be when – and be where you’re supposed to be when you’re supposed to be there.
- Make sure that your community service is properly recorded.
- Avoid others with criminal records and all criminal activity.
- Foster a solid working relationship with your supervising officer.
- Have a dedicated criminal defense attorney in your corner.
Traffic violations break down into moving violations and nonmoving violations, such as parking violations, expired plates, failure to register a vehicle, and the like. Moving violations are more serious and come with heftier fines as well as points against your license. Consider the following examples:
- Speeding adds up to 3 points.
- Careless and imprudent driving racks up 4 points.
- Driving with a suspended or revoked license packs a whopping 12 points.
- Driving while intoxicated adds 8 points for a first offense and 12 points for subsequent offenses.
- Endangering a highway worker or emergency responder carries 4 points.
- Failure to produce an insurance ID comes with 4 points.
License Suspension and Revocation
If you receive 8 or more points in the space of 18 months, your license can be suspended for up to 90 days for a third suspension and up to 30 days for a first. If any of the following apply, your license can be revoked for a full year:
- You tally 12 or more points in the course of 12 months.
- You tally 18 or more points in the course of 24 months.
- You tally 24 or more points in the course of 36 months.
Your Legal Options
If you face a traffic violation charge, you have options. For example, you can simply pay the fine, which translates to pleading guilty and accepting the points on your license. Attending traffic school is also an option, and while it does allow you to bypass the accumulation of points, you’ll have to plead guilty, pay the associated fines, and pay for the required class.
A better option may be hiring an accomplished criminal defense attorney and fighting the charge head-on. This involves forging a strong defense that incorporates the available evidence and engaging in skilled legal strategizing.
If you’re facing a criminal charge, Paul O’Rourke at The O’Rourke Law Firm in O’Fallon is a distinguished criminal defense attorney who has the experience, legal insight, and skill to help guide your case toward an advantageous outcome that upholds your rights and best interests. Learn more by contacting or calling us at 636-323-5010 today.