I (Alex Kriksciun) have drafted these questions and answers myself. Please be aware that these answers are, by design, very general. They are intended to help you understand what your best options may be in the event you find yourself on the wrong side of the criminal justice system. They are NOT intended to be legal advice, nor are they intended to address every situation you may encounter. In order to discuss your case fully, you or a family member would need to contact me directly.
How long does it take for the police to investigate a crime?
It depends on the seriousness of the crime and the course of the investigation. Of course, if the crime is committed in the police officer’s presence, there is essentially no need to investigate, but this does not happen in most cases.
Generally, more serious offenses such as rape and murder take longer to investigate than less serious offenses. Furthermore, those offenses that occurred longer ago typically take longer to investigate than more recent offenses.
If I am asked to make a statement to police for their investigation, what should I do?
It is imperative that you tell the police that you want to speak to a lawyer and that you do not want to answer any questions. If you tell the police these things, they are supposed to stop questioning you immediately. In reality, I can assure you that this never happens. The police will ask you if you are sure. They will try to get you to change your mind. They will try to give you a guilt trip. They will pretend that they are your friend. They will use the “good cop, bad cop” routine. They will do anything to get you to talk.
You must remain resolute and strong. You must be prepared to withstand pressure. There is absolutely no upside to giving the police a statement. The downside is potentially sacrificing your freedom and years of your life in the Department of Corrections.
Keep in mind that the Law Office of Alex Kriksciun is available for you 24/7. If you are called by the police at 3 a.m., rest assured that you will be able to reach the office. I may be asleep, but leave a message with my voicemail. It will delivered straight to me.
Can I hire a criminal defense lawyer if I haven’t been arrested?
Absolutely. My belief is that the sooner a lawyer gets involved, the better. This is true in EVERY case. If you are called by police requesting to make a statement, you should hire a lawyer. If you get a target letter from a federal or state grand jury, you should hire a lawyer. If you are arrested, you should certainly hire a lawyer.
Do not be misled by the thought that if you hire a lawyer, you will appear guilty. It is also a serious mistake to think that just because you are innocent, you will not need a lawyer. This kind of attitude often causes a “wait-and-see” attitude, which can be devastating.
If I am arrested, what should I do?
If you are arrested, it is critical that you NOT SPEAK TO THE POLICE! Keep the words of the late Supreme Court justice Robert Jackson in mind: “Any lawyer worth his salt will tell the suspect, in no uncertain terms, to make no statement to the police under any circumstances.”
Your next step should be to speak to a lawyer. After you are arrested, your liberty is officially at stake. You need resolute representation. You need the Law Office of Alex Kriksciun.
If I am arrested, how do I get out of jail?
In order to be released from custody, you must be released on bail (the term is interchangeable with the term “bond”). The purpose of bail is not to punish you but to ensure your appearance in court. Typically, there are three ways of being released on bond: (1) paying a cash bond (the entire amount of bail), (2) paying a commercial bondsman (which usually comes to about 13% of your bond), or (3) through a property bond (using the equity in property to secure your release from jail).
It is also possible to be released on your own recognizance (called an “ROR”), to be released on a personal surety bond undertaking (called a “PSBU”), or to be released for overcrowding (which occurs when they need your space in jail for someone who committed a more serious offense).
Can a lawyer help with bail or bond issues?
Yes. A good lawyer can file a motion to reduce bail (commonly referred to as a “bond reduction”). Good lawyers like myself also have established connections with bail bond companies that may be able to get you better rates.
What happens to my case after I am arrested?
Law enforcement will turn over the information they have to the appropriate district attorney’s office. Your case will then be assigned to a lawyer known as a “screener.” The screener is responsible for reviewing the information provided to him or her by law enforcement and determining whether or not the district attorney’s office is going to file charges against you. The screener can “refuse” the case or “accept” the case. The former means that the DA’s office will not file charges against you. The latter means that the DA’s office will file charges.
Is it possible to have my case thrown out prior to charges being filed?
Yes. I have had a good deal of success convincing various district attorney’s offices to refuse my client’s case(s). This will not be a viable option in some cases, however.
If the state picks up my charges, what happens next?
Your case will be set for arraignment, which is a hearing where the charges are read to the defendant to inform the defendant of the charges against him or her. In response to arraignment, the accused is expected to enter a guilty or not guilty plea.
If I am guilty of the crimes I have been charged with, can I still enter a not guilty plea?
Yes. It is in fact very rare to enter a guilty plea at arraignment unless some sort of an arrangement has been worked out beforehand. Think of it this way: you can always change your not guilty plea to a guilty plea. It is almost impossible to withdraw a guilty plea. There is no downside to entering a guilty plea when you can enter a not guilty plea.
What are the steps in a criminal prosecution?
As a very general statement, the next step after arraignment is called “discovery.” Discovery is the process by which the state or the government provides your lawyer with the information that it intends to use against you. The next step in the process is called “motions,” where your lawyer can request that certain pieces of information provided in discovery be excluded from trial. Next is the pretrial phase, where your lawyer, the district attorney’s office, and sometimes the judge attempt to resolve your case prior to trial. The last step in the process is trial, where your case is put before a judge or jury to determine whether you are guilty or not guilty of the charges against you.
Please note that there are thousands of variations on this theme. Every case is different and every case proceeds differently. The above paragraph is only intended as a very basic and general description of the process.
How can the Law Office of Alex Kriksciun help me?
I give you my solemn vow that I will do absolutely everything I can to get the best result in your case. I also can promise you that I will work as hard as I possibly can. I can represent you at all phases of criminal prosecution from investigation to trial. I can also represent you in essentially any type of criminal case. The only thing I cannot do is promise you any specific result.
Because of confusion on the part of a family member, what should have been a simple denial became questionable to the investigators. Alex called back immediately, understood the nuances of the family dynamics as well as the law & was able to quickly address the problem. The legal aspects of the case were clarified & dealt with in a timely manner, but, perhaps even more important to us, he also took the time to explain the law to our family member in a way that was clear & compassionate. I highly recommend Alex in any case you may have -- he's smart, well versed in the intricacies of the law & takes the time to not only listen, but to truly understand what the person & family are going through. We can't thank him enough.
Gets the job done!!!
Not from New Orleans and needed a lawyer ASAP! Went to Google and took a chance and glad we found him! He assisted and answered any questions we needed. We were worried being from Florida how things worked but he explained to us everything we needed to know and we were at ease going home. Great communication. He exceeded our expectations! If you need a good lawyer this the man to go to!
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- BNI Member
- LA Association Of Criminal Defense Lawyers
- National Trial Lawyers Top 100
- National Association Of Criminal Defense Lawyers
- American Association For Justice
- American Association Of Premier DUI Attorneys