The Law offices of J. Vincent Perryman

Memphis Criminal Law

What is Criminal Law?

Memphis Criminal law is the area of the law dealing specifically with statutory crimes. These crimes are committed against the public as a whole without a specific victim. Crimes such as murder also fall under criminal law because it an offense against the people's interest even though there is a specific victim. Generally crimes against each other are covered under civil law.

What are the differences between Criminal Law and Civil Law?

Criminal Law in Memphis

There are several important differences between Memphis criminal law and Memphis civil law. First, in a criminal case, the prosecutor represents the State of Tennessee. Where civil suits are usually brought by Memphis individuals, Memphis organizations, or Memphis companies, criminal charges are always brought by the government, either State or Federal. Criminal laws vary by each State, so it is important to retain an attorney knowledgeable about the laws of the state in which you are charged. Another important distinction between criminal and civil law is the penalty. In most civil suits, a defendant stands to lose money, a right, or a privilege. He or she may also be ordered by the court to take specific action. In criminal proceedings, however, the Memphis defendant stands to lose some liberty, meaning he or she may face jail time, in addition to possible fines. The last major difference between these areas of law is the long term results of a criminal conviction. With a few exceptions, nearly all criminal charges become part of a person’s permanent record. In addition, the possible penalties for each crime increase according one’s criminal record. This can have serious consequences in applying for school and jobs.

Which Court should I expect to appear in?

  • General Sessions Court - Most Memphis criminal cases begin in General Sessions Court. At your initial appearance in court, called an arraignment, the Judge will inform you of the charges against you. He or she will then inform you of your right to a Memphis attorney, and give you another court date. On that date, you are expected have a Memphis attorney if you are able to afford one. Once you have hired one the Memphis Attorney can begin immediately by discussing your charges with the prosecution, planning an investigation if necessary, and outlining a plan for your defense. Every case presents a unique set of facts and circumstances, and each will require a different resolution.
  • Circuit Court - Cases in Memphis Circuit Court begin when an individual is indicted by the grand jury. This is a court of record, meaning that a court reporter will record statements that will be made available if later review is necessary. Additionally, in this court, you have the option of discovery, meaning that you can obtain information about the State’s case against you. In Memphis Circuit Court, cases are most often resolved through plea agreements and trials, either in front of the judge only, or present to a jury. You need to retain a Memphis attorney to negotiate a plea agreement or to advocate on your behalf in front of the judge and/or jury.

What are some examples of Memphis Criminal Law Crimes and Punishment?

All state crimes are either misdemeanors or felonies. Misdemeanors carry up to one day short of a year in jail, while felonies carry one year to life in prison or death, in some cases. For some crimes, such as Theft of Property, the monetary value of the property alleged to have been stolen determines whether or not someone is charged with a misdemeanor or felony. For each crime, there is a range of punishment. The amount of time a person will serve depends upon his or her criminal record and any mitigating factors. This is where retaining of the experienced attorney of The Law Offices of J. Vincent Perryman is critical, as we can advocate on your behalf to keep sentencing and other penalties as minimal as possible. In addition to possible jail time, one of the most frightening aspects of being charged with a crime is navigating the state criminal court system.

What do I do if I am arrested?

First, you will need to seek legal advice from a Memphis Attorney. If you are arrested and issued a Misdemeanor Citation in Lieu of Arrest, is to locate two important pieces of information on that document. One is the date that you are required to appear for booking and processing. If you do not submit to that procedure, an additional charge of Failure to Appear for Booking and Processing may be added. The second important piece of information on that document is your court date. Be sure to show up to court a few minutes early and follow instructions. Unfortunately, being in court can be a long and frustrating experience. It is in your best interest to be patient and to be respectful to the Deputies, attorneys, court staff, and other defendants. Be sure to turn off your cell phone.

What do I do if there is a warrant for my arrest?

Having a Memphis attorney can greatly affect the treatment you receive when there is a warrant for your arrest. You must turn yourself in, and having a Memphis Attorney to negotiate incarceration details will help your case.

You do have options, however, and when you retain one of the Attorneys of The Law Offices of J. Vincent Perryman, we will thoroughly research your case and fight for the best resolution possible. If you or a loved one has been charged, it is essential that you obtain an experienced Memphis attorney to work on your behalf from the very beginning of your case until the end. Being arrested and charged with a crime is a frightening experience. We can help you navigate the system and will with work hard to ensure all of your Constitutional rights are exercised and protected.

If you would like more information or if you are in need of legal advice or legal assistance, please contact a Memphis Attorney.

4719 Spottswood
Memphis, TN 38117

PH: 901-347-0647
FX: 901-255-0745

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4719 Spottswood, Memphis, TN 38117
Ph: 901-347-0647
Fx: 901-255-0745

Providing legal services for Memphis Tennessee and surrounding areas.
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