Washington County, Missouri Criminal Defense Attorneys
If you, a loved one, or someone you know has been accused, arrested or charged with committing a crime near Washington County, MO - the dedicated and experienced criminal lawyers at Wegge & Casey, P.C. will work with you to build a strong defense.
Criminal law is a broad, complicated area of the law. There are many facets to a criminal case, and an experienced criminal attorney is crucial in protecting your rights, Criminal law, in its most basic form, involves any effort by the government (whether it be federal, state, county, or local and municipal) to deprive someone of their life, liberty or property due to allegations that the individual has committed an offense that is in violation of either federal, state, or local criminal codes such as the Washington County Municipal Code.
Criminal law can be very serious - the consequences real. The government wields enormous power through the prosecuting attorney, which is a very specific type of lawyer who is paid by the government to enforce local, state, and federal law. The prosecutor decides who and when to charge with criminal offenses - this is a long-standing tradition and a concept known as prosecutorial discretion. Our criminal attorneys are former prosecutors and understand this process well.
Criminal law is complicated, and an understanding of both sides is crucial. The attorneys at Wegge & Casey, P.C., bring many, many years of prosecution experience to our criminal defense practice. Founding partner Forrest Wegge was an elected Prosecuting Attorney for twelve years, and founding partner David Casey served alongside him as an assistant prosecutor. They understand criminal defense, and combined they bring three decades of criminal experience.
Penalties for crimes committed and prosecuted in Washington County, and in Missouri generally, start as "infractions" such as seatbelt tickets punishable by a fine and no jail time, and then progress to misdemeanors and felonies where jail and prison time falls within the range of punishment. The most serious offenses, such as murder in the first degree, still carry the death penalty. That is the most severe punishment in our criminal justice system. The criminal attorneys at Wegge & Casey, P.C. have handled everything from small traffic offenses up to murder and other types of homicide.
A vitally important part of any criminal defense must be the thorough and detailed examination of every piece of evidence the government has and which may be used against the accused at trial. This evidence is called "discovery." Every criminal defendant has a constitutional right to it, and a defense attorney will request it as part of the criminal procedure process. Under state law, the government must turn over any and all discovery in the State's possession, within ten days of a defense lawyer's request. Because our criminal lawyers have significant prosecution experience, we are in an excellent position to review each case with an eye to its strengths and its weaknesses. There are many problems and issues with the government's case that can be uncovered during discovery. Some of these are constitutional in nature, such as whether a defendant's rights were violated during the interrogation process or during the collection of evidence. Others are procedural, such as whether the government possesses sufficient evidence to make its case. The standard burden of proof in every criminal case is "beyond a reasonable doubt," and it is the highest burden in our entire legal system. This means that every person charged with a crime in this country is presumed innocent, unless and until, the government proves that person guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
At Wegge & Casey, P.C. our criminal attorneys have combined decades of experience and have tried dozens of cases over the years, both before a jury and before a judge in what is known as a bench trial. The depth of our experience and understanding of criminal law allows us to craft a wholistic defense strategy. In every case, we will meet with you, request discovery and a recommendation from the prosecutor, then work with you to determine a defense strategy. In many instances, that criminal defense strategy will include pre-trial motions such evidence suppression and motions to address due process violations.
Additionally, in many instances, the defense will include negotiations with the prosecuting attorney to secure the best possible outcome given the facts of the particular case.
Our firm's criminal defense lawyers and former prosecutors offer free consultations. Call us now to schedule an appointment.