Criminal Process

Get out of trouble and get back to life. We defend the rights and liberties of good people who are accused of bad things.

Des Moines Criminal Process Lawyers

Defendants often need help in navigating the criminal process here  throughout the Polk County system. Whether the alleged crime is a felony or a misdemeanor and whether the risk is a modest fine or a lengthy prison sentence, there are basic ways the system works–and doesn’t work. A Des Moines criminal process lawyer that understands both the rights and opportunities that are afforded to defendants at every stage can give the accused a fighting chance for a just outcome.

Clark & Sears Law understands that every step of the criminal process is an opportunity to protect our clients’ constitutional rights. From our Des Moines office, we serve all of Polk County and across Story, Boone, Warren, & Dallas Counties. 

Call today at (515) 200-2787 or contact us online to set up a free consultation.

They were dedicated to me and my case while handling other cases at the same time and never gave me the impression that my issue was any less important than the others.

- Cliff B.

What Should I Do If I Get Arrested in Des Moines?

It’s natural for an arrested person to feel some fear, especially if they’re isolated at the police station. The fear can be anything from the legal consequences of the charges to what family and friends may think. The fear can be exacerbated by the accused being isolated from those they care about at the police station.

Authorities may try and use this fear to their advantage, to get a defendant to start talking. But the best thing an accused person can do after an arrest is simply stay quiet and invoke their right to a lawyer. The evidence the police have may be weaker than they let on. A Des Moines criminal process lawyer will be able to get a good handle on how strong the charges really are.

A defense lawyer can focus on the issues of bond, bail and preparing the defendant for the arraignment, which is a formal hearing where the charges will officially be made .

What Is Search & Seizure Law?

Search and seizure law might be a defendant’s best friend. The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects everyone from search and seizure from the authorities unless a warrant has been issued.

This means police can’t come into someone’s house or they can’t search the computer–without a warrant, an officer is generally limited to what is in “plain sight”. There’s a reduced expectation of privacy in cars.  During a traffic stop, cars are subject to searches with only probable cause.

What does this mean after someone has been arrested? It means that any evidence that was obtained without following proper procedure under the Fourth Amendment cannot be introduced in court. If drugs were found in someone’s glove compartment, but there was no warrant to search the vehicle, the drugs are not admissible as evidence.

Furthermore, a warrant itself has to be undergirded by probable cause. A judge cannot give an office a search warrant on a whim and hope something turns up. The officer must show some level of evidence that gives a reasonable basis for thinking that a search of someone’s private property is justified. If the warrant was issued without probable cause, anything obtained from the search is inadmissible.

A Polk County criminal process lawyer that’s diligent on behalf of their clients will meticulously examine how the authorities gathered their evidence and challenge its legitimacy when appropriate.

Whether the charge is a felony or a misdemeanor, whether the possible sentence is a modest fine or a lengthy prison term, Clark & Sears Law understands the importance of giving each client vigorous advocacy and steady legal leadership. Call our Des Moines office today at (515) 200-2787 or contact us online to set up a free consultation.

Bench Warrants in Polk County

A bench warrant occurs when a judge (“the bench”) formally instructs police officers to arrest someone. This can happen for a variety of reasons, from probation violation to failing to appear in court or other offenses against the process. 

The circumstances of these cases mean that police might not turn on the sirens and came racing to arrest someone. But the next time the person is pulled over for speeding, the end result could be jail. A Polk County criminal process lawyer can take proactive steps to resolve a bench warrant in advance of an arrest

Protecting Your Assets After an Arrest

Asset forfeiture is the legal terminology for a process that essentially lets the government take the property of people who have not even been convicted. The only requirement for asset forfeiture is that the assets in question be suspected as the part of a crime.

Another means of financial penalty, one that comes after a court conviction, is restitution. A defendant may be ordered to pay restitution to the victim.

Asset forfeiture and restitution are both subject to possible abuse. People not even charged can lose the ability to access their own property. Restitution amounts might well be outrageously high. A part of understanding the Polk County criminal process is knowing the steps that can be taken to try and protect defendants.

How Is a Criminal Sentence Decided in Polk County?

A guilty verdict doesn’t mean the case is over. The jury can only decide guilt or acquittal. The judge determines sentencing. This is based on guidelines from both the state of Iowa and the U.S. government that lay out sentencing parameters for different crimes. But judges have flexibility and sentencing is an important part of the Des Moines criminal process.

A pre-sentencing investigation allows the legal defense the opportunity to make their case for a lower sentence, for probation (if possible) and for prison placement that will be more favorable. It’s easy and understandable for a defendant to feel discouraged if a guilty verdict has come back. But the quality of work their Polk County criminal process lawyer does in sentencing might well determine the defendant’s quality of life after their time is served.

Criminal process work involves knowing the important details that are involved at each stage and understanding the pressure points within the system that can be leveraged on a defendant’s behalf. Clark & Sears Law exists so defendants can get more than just a lawyer–they can get someone who will fight for their rights every step of the way.

Call Clark & Sears Law today at (515) 200-2787 or contact us online to set up a consultation.

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Call us today at (515) 200-2787 for a free initial consultation

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