The Criminal Defense Process in Iowa
In order to assure that criminal trials are fair, both prosecutors and defense attorneys are held to a complicated set of rules and regulations. The complexity of these cases requires that a defense attorney should have expertise and experience in criminal law. A defense attorney should be involved in a case as soon as possible—ideally, even before the police have interrogated a person.
When an individual is arrested, the law enforcement officers that arrest them are required to inform the arrested person of their right to an attorney and to have an attorney appointed if they cannot afford legal representation. These warnings are called “Miranda warnings,” after the 1960s Supreme Court case that first required them.
Often, cases involving child defendants are handled by the juvenile justice system. This system is less formal and focuses on rehabilitation over punishment. Many criminal defense lawyers work in both justice systems, while others focus on one type or the other.
It is sometimes possible for a defendant or defense attorney to negotiate with the government. The prosecutor may agree to drop charges if the defendant pleads guilty to a lesser charge. In all cases, the decision to plead innocent or guilty rests with the defendant.
If a defendant is found guilty, he or she may be sentenced to a period of probation, a fine, community service, restitution or other payment, or prison time. In some states, crimes such as rape or murder are punishable by death. A small number of federal crimes (such as treason) are also punishable by death. An experienced Iowa criminal defense lawyer can work to find the best possible deal for their client. If this is not possible, the lawyer will fight in court for their client to convince the jury that there is reasonable doubt as to whether the defendant is guilty.
Rights of Persons Accused in Iowa
Article I, section 10 is entitled “Rights of persons accused.” It contains two clauses that do not appear in the Sixth Amendment, which are italicized below:
In all criminal prosecutions, and in cases involving the life, or liberty of an individual the accused shall have a right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury; to be informed of the accusation against him, to have a copy of the same when demanded; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for his witnesses; and, to have the assistance of counsel.
Attorney for Criminal Cases in Iowa
The possible consequences of a criminal conviction are extremely serious, and if accused of a crime, you can find yourself in confusing and frightening circumstances. To protect your legal rights and your future opportunities, you should immediately seek the assistance of an Iowa criminal attorney with experience in criminal defense.
Even if the charge seems minor or you are convinced your innocence means you have nothing to hide, the seriousness of the situation demands that you contact an attorney.