Pre-arrest advice includes encouraging to be forthcoming with all relevant information with the attorney. Being truthful is important as it will enable the lawyer to prepare effectively and not be blindsided by the prosecution. Mr. Steele should not evade arrest because it will unnecessarily prolong the inquiry and trigger the issue of a warrant of arrest against him. An arrest warrant against him turns him into a fugitive and adds on potential charges that can be brought against him. Similarly, he should not resist arrest because such action will result in the addition of more criminal charges against him, particularly for the obstruction of justice.
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Secondly, since Mr. Steele has already sought legal advice, it would be more prudent if he allowed the attorneys to organize and coordinate with the police to facilitate a smooth and uneventful transition to police custody. Such an arrangement would ensure that Mr. Steele is handled in a respectful manner. Further, the arresting officer will most likely adhere to the Miranda requirements in the presence of the suspect’s attorney. Nonetheless, failure to Mirandize the suspect properly may provide an additional basis for a motion against the charges.
Post-arrest advice would be for Mr. Steele to exercise his right to remain silent as a means to avoid self-incrimination. He should also insist on his attorney being present during any form of interrogation. He should also maintain civility and be respectful towards interrogators during the questioning, not as a legal requirement but to avoid unnecessary inconvenience.
Major Steps in Preparing Defence
Laying the groundwork is the most important phase in the preparation of the defense. First, one must gather and peruse all the relevant facts that underlie the case. The facts can be acquired through communication with the client, through independent investigation by the attorney, or through the discovery process in which the prosecution provides the defense with the material that supports the charge against an accused person.
The second phase in preparing the defense constitutes the analysis and interpretation of the evidence in order to facilitate the third step, the development of a defense strategy. Fourth, if the nature and complexity of the case demand it, the attorney can also seek extrinsic help in the form of the jury or trial consultants, or expert witnesses. Finally, the attorney can prepare the defense and any other relevant motions.
The pre-trial phase begins with the arrest of the suspect following police investigations. Once arrested, the police place the suspect in custody for processing in preparation for the first court appearance. The arresting officer must Mirandize suspect during an arrest. Mirandizing involves informing the suspect of the right to remain silent and to legal assistance and that, anything he says may be used as evidence against him in court.
Formal charges are brought against the suspect during the first arraignment during which the accused takes a plea, the presiding judge sets the bail or bond terms, and delineates the date for the next court appearance. Pre-trial conferences and motions follow the initial appearance and the prosecution and defense have an opportunity to assess the respective strengths and weaknesses of the case. They can also opt for a plea bargain at this point. A successful plea negotiation effectively brings the matter to an end. However, the failure of plea negotiations leads to the jury selection phase that ushers the trial (Krutz, 2019).
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Motion to suppress evidence-This motion is justified by the uncertainty surrounding the recovery of the BB gun under Mr. Steele’s bed. It is unclear whether Mr. Steele’s 13-year-old nephew let the police officers into the house or they forced their way in. Being a child, the nephew lacks the capacity to manifest proper consent for search and seizure.
A motion to suppress evidence may also be viable in the event the arresting officer fails to Mirandize Mr. Steele who makes subsequent self-incriminating statements. The motions would be targeted at excluding all such self-incriminating statements as evidence at trial.
A motion to dismiss charges may also be viable following successful motions to suppress evidence. If the prosecution lacks adequate evidence to sustain the charges of robbery with violence against Mr. Steele, the court would dismiss the charges.
Mr. Steele has three options with regard to his trial. The first is avoiding a trial altogether by accepting a plea deal offered by the prosecution. Successful plea bargaining means there is no need for a trial. However, if there is no plea deal, Mr. Steele is entitled to a jury trial considering that a charge of armed robbery attracts imprisonment for more than 6 months. However, he can waive his right to a jury trial and, instead, opt for a bench trial (Lippman, 2020).
Possible Sentence for Armed Robbery
Imprisonment and fines are the typical sentences for criminal offenses. Armed robbery is a serious felony in the US and a charge attracts an imprisonment term of not less than six years (depending on the circumstances). Life imprisonment for armed robbery is possible if aggravating circumstances exist. The sentencing judge can also impose a pecuniary fine.
Plea-in criminal proceedings either mean an accused person’s indication of guilt or otherwise during their first appearance in court or the result of negotiations between the prosecution and defense for a reduced sentence in lieu of trial.
Arraignment denotes an accused person’s appearance in court.
Motions are the applications made to the court by parties to a case in which they seek orders designed to advance their cause.
Krutz, G. (2019). American government. Openstax.
Lippman, M. (2020). Criminal procedure (4th ed.). University of Illinois.