If you are charged with a crime, you need to hire a lawyer. And not just any lawyer. You need to hire a lawyer who will defend you in the true sense of the word. Mark Freeman and Joseph Fuson are trial lawyers that defend their clients. They understand that bad things happen to good people. Mark and Joseph are dedicated to getting to know each client they represent and spending whatever amount of time necessary to gain a true understanding of each client’s goals. They will sit down with you, go over the elements of the criminal charges that have been alleged, get to understand the facts of the case, explain to you each and every step of the process, and create a game plan to defend you against the criminal charges. Joseph or Mark will be personally handling your case from start to finish. Throughout the process, you will have complete access to your lawyer. Joseph or Mark will be available to counsel you through the stages of the criminal process. Having access to your lawyer when you have been charged with a crime can prove invaluable when dealing with personal issues, employment issues, and other issues that arise following an arrest. Contact Mark or Joseph directly by phone or email and let Freeman and Fuson defend you.KNOW YOUR RIGHTS
Knowing your constitutional rights is important. First, you have the right to be represented by a lawyer at all stage of the criminal process. You also have other rights, including:
- Right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures
- Right to remain silent at all stages of the criminal process
- Right to a preliminary hearing if charged with a crime
- Right to have your case reviewed by a Grand Jury
- Right to confront your accuser
- Right to compel witnesses to testify on your behalf
- Right to a trial by jury
- Right to appeal any conviction to a higher court
Stage 1 - ARREST
An officer must have probable cause to believe that a crime is being, or has been, committed. For misdemeanor crimes, the alleged criminal conduct must have been committed in the presence of the officer.
Stage 2 – INITIAL APPEARANCE
This stage is handled differently throughout the different counties in Tennessee. This stage is designed to advise the defendant of the charges against them, that they have the right to hire counsel, set a bond and advise the defendant of his next court date. It is advised to hire an attorney prior to this stage.
Stage 3 – SETTLEMENT/PRELIMINARY HEARING
If a settlement cannot be reached in General Sessions Court after discussions with the district attorney, then the defendant has the right to a preliminary hearing. At this stage, the State must show that probable cause exists that a crime was committed and the defendant is more likely than not the person who committed the crime. This is a low standard. In General Session Court, misdemeanor cases can sometime be tried by the judge. If a defendant is charged with a felony, these cases usually require a preliminary hearing as the General Sessions Court does not have the authority to rule of felony cases.
Stage 4 – GRAND JURY
This is a stage is one in which the lawyers and defendant have no involvement. A group of 13 citizens are presented with evidence by the district attorney who must again show that a crime was probably committed and the defendant is more likely the person who committed the crime. If a True Bill is executed by the Grand Jury, an indictment is issued against the defendant.
Stage 5 – INDICTMENT
This stage is where the defendant is presented with the formal charges in the form of an indictment. The court will require the defendant to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. Usually, a scheduling order will be entered by the court setting deadlines for settlement, plea and trial.
Stage 6 – JURY TRIAL
If a settlement cannot be reached in Criminal Court, a defendant has the right to have a trial by a jury of his or her peers. Prior to trial, a defendant has the right to file motions and obtain all evidence to be presented against them at trial. A defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty. If proven guilty beyond all reasonable doubt by a jury, a defendant has the right to appeal the conviction to a higher court.