Serving North Alabama
Exercise Your Right to Remain Silent
Facing a tough legal situation is bound to bring up a number of questions. We, at Tony Hughes Law have taken the time to compile answers to some of our most frequently asked questions related to criminal defense and family law. These questions and answers are not meant to replace advice from our dependable attorney.
Give us a call at 256-349-5694 to schedule your consultation so that we can fully answer any questions you may have. You’ll gain a better understanding of the approach you need to take with your case.
Q. What are the consequences of being charged with a criminal offense?
A. Although the consequences of an arrest largely depend on the specifics of the case, you may be facing jail time and significant fines if convicted. If you are convicted of a felony, you can lose your right to vote or own a handgun. Challenges in seeking employment or renting a home are not unusual following a conviction. Other consequences may include parole, mandatory attendance at a drug or alcohol education classes, victims' impact panels or long-term electronic monitoring.
Q. What rights do I have if I am arrested?
A. As the police should have informed you, under the 5th Amendment you have the right to remain silent and not incriminate yourself following an arrest. You also have the right to a phone call and an attorney.
Q. Why should I hire a criminal defense attorney if the State of Alabama will assign me an attorney?
A. Public defenders are notoriously overworked. In spite of the best intentions, they frequently try to persuade their clients to accept plea bargains in order to avoid lengthy and costly trials. This is true even when they believe their clients are innocent or whether their arrests were invalid.
Q. What is a plea bargain?
A. A plea bargain involves the arrested individual pleading guilty as charged or to a lesser offense. This avoids a trial but still often brings with it jail time and expensive fines. Sometimes it makes sense to accept a plea bargain, but you should speak to a dedicated criminal defense attorney before doing so.
Q. I suspect that the police violated my rights when I was arrested. What should I do?
A. You can't expect police to admit their mistakes and unarrest you. Let an experienced criminal defense attorney examine your case and find out if you were, in fact, arrested illegally due to violations of your constitutional rights. If so, we can explore these violations and proceed accordingly.
Q. What if I choose to represent myself in court?
A. Although you can do this, unless you are a seasoned criminal defense attorney, it is not recommended. It's not enough to "know" that you are innocent. You need to be able to demonstrate this in court and do so according to court procedure and protocol. Prosecutors rely on the inexperience of those charged with criminal offenses in order to secure convictions.
Q. How can I afford a criminal defense lawyer?
A. Your initial consultation with our office is always free. We will evaluate your circumstances in an environment where you are safe and free from the possibility of self-incrimination, and from that point we will figure out if we can help you. If so, you will find that our rates are much more affordable than you think.
Q. How long will my case take to be resolved?
A. Most cases involving criminal charges can be resolved in a few months. Your criminal defense lawyer may be able to give you a more accurate assessment of the timeframe involved in your situation in your initial consultation.
Q. Do I have to have an attorney if I want to get divorced?
A. The simple answer is no, but given the complexities of Alabama family law, partnering with a family law attorney is highly recommended for you if divorce becomes a reality. Even when a couple is in agreement about the basic outcomes of the process, the legal paperwork and court procedures involved in filing for divorce in the State of Alabama can be very intimidating. An innocent mistake can have grave repercussions down the line when it comes to protecting the rights and property of either spouse. An Alabama family law attorney can help make sure that your divorce goes as smoothly as possible and help prevent unnecessary stress in the future.
Q. What if I want my marriage annulled?
A. You are permitted to seek an annulment of a marriage in Alabama if you believe that there exists a "fraud that goes into the essence of the marriage relationship" and other limited circumstances. An example of this would be a situation in which a married woman denies her husband an intimate relationship, even though this relationship was mutually guaranteed as a condition of the marriage. Unlike a divorce, having a marriage successfully annulled means that in the eyes of the law the marriage was never valid. A dedicated family law attorney can help you decide if the circumstances of your marriage might qualify you in seeking an annulment.
Q. What criteria does the court use when determining the division of assets in a divorce settlement?
A. There are numerous factors involved in determining how a couple's finances and property will be split up in a court-ordered divorce settlement. These factors may include how long the couple was married, their respective ages and degree of health, and what standard of living the couple enjoyed while married. You can expect that the longer you and your spouse have been together, the more equally a judge will choose to distribute your joint assets as part of a settlement.
Q. How much time is required for a divorce to be finalized?
A. It can take anywhere from six months to a year or more for a divorce to be finalized. The specific time frame involved depends on many variables, including to what degree the divorcing spouses are at odds over the final settlement.
Q. Can I request to see my children more often or for longer periods of time than I currently am?
A. A compassionate Alabama family law attorney can help you modify an existing child custody order to better reflect what is in the best interest of you and your children.
Q. How does a court establish child custody in the State of Alabama?
A. The type of custody the Alabama family law court chooses to grant depends on what the court considers to be in the best interest of the child(ren). Custody can be either physical or legal and either awarded jointly or solely. An Alabama family law attorney can explain the different types of custody to you in greater detail.
As a former detective and investigator, you can trust that Tony Hughes has the experience to effectively represent you.
Schedule your FREE initial consultation.