If you’ve been accused of a serious crime such as DUI, drug possession, or assault, your future could be at stake. Fortunately, you don’t have to face the criminal justice system alone. Our skilled and trusted criminal defense lawyers can protect your rights and safeguard your freedom.
Hotz & Associates, P.C. is dedicated to providing our clients with the aggressive legal representation they need to challenge the prosecution’s case. Our legal team understands the gravity of your situation, and we’re prepared to help you seek the best possible outcome no matter what the criminal justice system throws your way.
The type of charge you face will determine the type of defense you need. At Hotz & Associates, P.C., we have extensive experience defending clients against a range of criminal charges which allows us to craft an effective defense strategy tailored to your case.
While misdemeanors carry lighter penalties than felonies, a misdemeanor conviction can have serious consequences, some of which can land you in jail for nearly one year and significant fees. A criminal conviction, even for a misdemeanor charge, can have a negative effect on many aspects of your life such as employment and even obtaining housing.
That being said, a misdemeanor conviction is still a far more favorable outcome than a felony conviction. The uncovering of a single detail by a skilled defense attorney is sometimes all it takes to reduce a felony to a misdemeanor.
In Tennessee, misdemeanor charges fall into three different classes of severity with Class A being the most serious.
There’s no room for error when it comes to defending felony charges. Cases involving felonies require a highly skilled Knoxville criminal defense lawyer who can challenge the prosecution’s evidence and make sure no stone is left unturned.
Crimes classified as felonies often have life-altering consequences due to their particularly violent or damaging nature. Examples of felonies in Tennessee include:
Like with misdemeanors, the punishments for felony convictions depend on the class of the offense. Tennessee has six designated classes of felonies.
A Class A felony, which includes crimes such as terrorism and rape of a child younger than 13, carries a sentence of 15 to 60 years in prison and up to $50,000 in fines.
Class B felonies are punishable by up to 30 years in prison and fines of up to $25,000. The penalties continue to drop in severity as the class of felony moves down.
Class E felonies — the lowest-level felony class that includes certain theft crimes — carry a penalty of up to six years in prison and fines of up to $3,000.
First-degree murder falls into a class of its own and is the only offense in Tennessee that’s punishable by the death penalty. If the death penalty isn’t sought, the defendant will face a life sentence, and parole may not be an option.
Keep in mind that if the defendant has any prior convictions, the penalties for a felony can be harsher than the sentencing guidelines dictate. The state of Tennessee has implemented a three-strikes law for certain felonies, where an offender can face life imprisonment if they’re convicted of three violent felony offenses. Over a dozen violent offenses are listed under this law, including murder, rape, and aggravated robbery.
How we can help defend you against your criminal charge
Depending on the circumstances of your case, there are a variety of defense strategies that can be implemented by your attorney to help minimize the impact of a conviction — or even avoid one altogether.
All criminal cases are based on a principle called the burden of proof, meaning that the prosecution must satisfactorily prove every element of its case beyond a reasonable doubt in order for you to be convicted.
Your attorney can use this to your advantage by challenging weak evidence and casting doubt on the prosecution’s version of events. When successful, this could result in a felony being reduced to a misdemeanor or the charges against you being dismissed altogether.
If the prosecution has a strong case, other tactics may be employed to minimize the penalties you face. For example, diversionary programs allow certain non-violent offenders to receive community service mandates or substance use treatment in place of jail time.
Other sentencing alternatives may also be available such as probation or restitution payments to victims. When all else fails, it’s also possible to advocate for the minimum sentence allowed for your particular conviction which can shave months or years off a sentence.
No matter the details of your case, never underestimate the importance of having a knowledgeable attorney by your side. The criminal justice system is often harsh and unforgiving, but a skilled criminal defense lawyer in Knoxville, TN from Hotz & Associates, P.C. can provide you with the support and guidance you need to come out on top.
When to hire an attorney
Many defendants attempt to handle their criminal cases on their own — only to find out too late that they should’ve sought qualified legal help in the beginning. Criminal defense law has many nuances that are impossible to learn and apply without a comprehensive education and years of experience. The risk of making mistakes that could result in serious penalties is far too great to not hire a qualified attorney.
The court may appoint you a public defender if you can’t afford to hire an attorney, but they’re often overworked and are unable to provide the same level of attention that you need. Additionally, you don’t get to choose who represents you in public defender cases, and switching public defenders might not be possible.
Private criminal defense lawyers are the ideal choice for most defendants because they are fully devoted to representing their clients and have a demonstrated track record of success in the courtroom. While cost is often a concern for individuals facing criminal charges, flexible payment options are sometimes available — and the cost of a conviction is usually far greater than the cost of hiring an attorney in the first place.
With that being said, the sooner you hire a criminal defense lawyer, the better your chances are of a favorable outcome. Interrogations and other criminal proceedings can begin almost immediately after an arrest, and anything you say may be used against you. It’s best to have a lawyer present during these conversations so they can protect your rights and ensure that any statements you make are in your best interest.
If your case has already progressed beyond the initial proceedings, don’t lose hope. As long as you haven’t yet been convicted, it’s never too late to enlist the help of a criminal defense lawyer in Knoxville, TN, and explore the options available to you.
At Hotz & Associates, P.C., we understand what’s at stake for our clients and work tirelessly to build a comprehensive defense strategy. We have decades of experience and an in-depth understanding of Tennessee criminal law which allows us to find creative solutions for even the most complex cases.
Criminal charges can leave you feeling helpless and vulnerable, but with our attorneys in your corner, you can feel confident knowing that you have a powerful advocate fighting for your best interests at every turn.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime in the Knoxville area, contact us today at (865) 582-0042 to set up a free, confidential consultation. Our knowledgeable attorneys are here to answer your questions and provide you with the trustworthy guidance you need during this challenging time.