Balestrini, Barnes, Jaber & Wood, PLLC
Attorneys at Law • Memphis, TN
The Memphis criminal defense attorneys at Balestrini, Barnes, Jaber & Wood, PLLC have spent years defending those individuals charged with crimes. Attorneys Jason Balestrini, Patrick Barnes, Iclem Jaber and Mitchell Wood strive to provide the best possible representation to each and every client regardless of guilt or innocence. Whether you have been charged with possession of marijuana, domestic assault, or a felony offense, we give you the time, resources and dedicated legal counsel you deserve. Our Memphis criminal defense attorneys understand the severe strain a criminal charge can have on you or a loved one. A criminal charge may mean the loss of your freedom, job or driver’s license. Whatever the charge, when the chips are down, the Memphis criminal defense attorneys at Balestrini, Barnes, Jaber & Wood, PLLC will provide you with a knowledgeable and tenacious legal defense that mitigates the effects of your criminal charge. Read below to learn more about what a Memphis criminal defense attorney can do for you.
Criminal defense questions and answers:
1. Do I need a Memphis criminal defense attorney?
If you are asking that question, then you probably do. Our office offers a free consultation in most instances. We offer this to help you best answer that question.
2. I was charged with a crime, do I need a Memphis criminal defense attorney?
You certainly need an attorney if you are charged with a crime. The State of Tennessee has an unlimited amount of resources to prosecute you with. In addition to unlimited funds, they have over 100 prosecutors in Shelby County alone, along with thousands of investigators and police personnel. You need to hire an experienced attorney to best advise you on how to proceed against such a formidable force. Essentially, the sooner you hire an attorney, the better.
3. I want to hire an attorney but I am nervous I will be overcharged.
One of the hardest parts of an attorney’s job is setting a fair fee for services. You will have to ask yourself, “What are the services worth to me?” After all, would you price shop for a doctor before surgery?
4. What does Balestrini, Barnes, Jaber & Wood, PLLC specialize in?
We best specialize in our clients. We know our clients and welcome them to get to know us. We have an open house on the last Friday of every month allowing our clients to visit and converse in a casual setting. While we do not handle every type of legal issue, for those we do not, we can recommend you to a Memphis attorney who will give you and your case the attention and expertise it deserves.
5. I was pulled over for not wearing my seat belt and then given a citation for something else.
This happens quite often. This is an issue that is best addressed in a document, and potentially a hearing, on a motion to suppress. An officer has to have probable cause to stop your vehicle. Without that probable cause to make the stop, any evidence recovered as a result may be considered “fruit of the poisonous tree” and excluded from a trial on the case. In many cases, without that evidence, the State cannot carry their burden and must dismiss the case. The ole “no seatbelt” charge is a quick way to get around probable cause. Essentially the officer pulls you over legally and then, anything else, such as the "strong odor of marijuana," or an open bottle of liquor in the floor board gives the officer a reason to detain you past the point of writing a citation for not wearing a seatbelt.
6. I was pulled over for speeding.
Our office has literally handled thousands of traffic tickets. We have a very successful record in having these tickets dismissed so they do not appear on your driving record and negatively impacting your insurance premiums. Call us before you pay your ticket.
7. I was pulled over and the police officer asked me to sign a citation, should I have done that?
Yes. By signing the citation, the only thing you are agreeing to is to appear in court on your scheduled court date. If you do not sign, the officer must arrest you, and you will have to post a bond in order to secure your appearance at court. Signing the citation is not an admission of guilt. Not signing the citation is also not a proclamation of your innocence.
8. What is the difference between a ticket and a citation?
Generally, a ticket refers to what is technically called a “long citation.” These are generally written for minor traffic offenses in violation of a city ordinance. Citations are actually called “Misdemeanor Citation in Lieu of Arrest.” This is a charging instrument used to charge a defendant with a criminal offense. Tennessee law provides for when a citation may be issued instead of actually arresting a defendant. The failure of an officer to issue a citation and arrest the defendant may be grounds to have the case dismissed.
9. The judge told me that if I received another citation I would go to jail.
Tennessee law provides that an individual cannot be free without bond if they have more than one active criminal case. Technically, if you have an active criminal case, the officer is supposed to arrest you instead of issuing the citation. However, Memphis Police don’t have the manpower or resources to search whether every potential defendant currently has an active case. Therefore, when you appear in court after the second citation, the judge must order the arrest. As a side note, driving on a suspended license is a criminal charge that carries up to a year in jail. Two citations for this offense will force the judge to set a bond, requiring you to go to jail.
10. The judge told me that I will have to make a bond when I come back to court.
There could be several reasons for that. First, you may have gotten a second criminal offense without having posted a bond. If this is the case, a bond will have to be posted on that next court date. Second, the judge may have ordered you to hire an attorney. Failing to do so places you in contempt of court. There are other reasons that the judge may state this, but these are the most common. Our office may be able to assist you in avoiding going to jail when you go back to court.
11. I was charged with a crime in Memphis.
Shelby County has criminal court on every non-weekend and non-holiday, essentially five days a week. If you were arrested, you will likely have an arraignment date on the first date following your arrest. If you received a citation, two dates will be listed on the citation: the first is booking and processing; the second is the arraignment date. In either instance, you should immediately contact our office so you will understand your rights and formulate a plan moving forward.
12. My first court date is tomorrow, what should I expect?
The first court date is called an “arraignment.” On this day, the judge will tell you what you are charged with and inquire as to whether you have hired an attorney. If you have not, the court will afford you the opportunity to do so.
13. I committed a crime, can I just plead guilty?
In Shelby County courts, they will not allow you to plead guilty without an attorney. When you plead guilty, you forfeit many rights afforded to you by the U.S. Constitution and the Tennessee Constitution. Even if a court allows you to do so, we strongly advise that you consult with an attorney before pleading guilty. Contact our office today to schedule your free consultation where we will go over your case and advise what you may achieve with our representation.
14. I committed a crime, can I negotiate with the prosecutor myself?
You can if you waive, or give up, your right to counsel, but we would strongly advise against it. The prosecutors in Shelby County are attorneys that handle hundreds of cases every day. You are at a distinct disadvantage by negotiating your case without the aid of legal counsel.
15. What do Memphis lawyers charge?
Different lawyers charge different rates. Those rates vary depending on your case. The Main Street Law Firm sets its rates based upon several factors. You can schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys. At this consultation, we will tell you what fee will be charged and why we are charging that fee.
16. I want a cheap lawyer, but I want a good lawyer too, is that possible?
To a certain degree, you are going to get what you pay for. You may want to buy a cheap car, but you can’t expect that car to not break down on you. You may regret that cheap lawyer when another attorney a few years down the road shows you how you could have had your case dismissed.
17. The more a lawyer charges the better they are, is that true?
The quality of an attorney depends on the attorney. There are attorneys that charge less and still achieve great results. That being said, I have seen some mighty bad attorneys charge enormous fees.
18. Your law firm is located downtown, and I cannot drive.
In certain circumstances, we will offer your consultation by telephone. We strive to establish a relationship with our clients. This is best done by in person discussions about your case, especially the initial consultation.
19. Your law firm is located downtown, my case is in Germantown, do you practice in Germantown?
Yes. Our attorneys are licensed to practice law in all Tennessee courts. We frequently represent clients in all municipal courts and in counties surrounding Shelby County, even so far as Madison County.
20. My driver’s license is suspended, why?
We often see clients who have gotten so far in the hole on unpaid traffic tickets and fines that their licenses' gets suspended. If you find out that your license is suspended, it is an issue that is best addressed very quickly. Our attorneys can tell you why your license is suspended, formulate a plan to reinstate your license, and assist in the execution of that plan. Contact our office today to set up a free consultation.
21. Tennessee just passed a new law for drivers who do not have insurance, what does it mean?
Essentially, if you do not have the minimum insurance, you cannot have a drivers license. Anytime you are cited and found guilty of not having insurance, a report is sent to the Tennessee Department of Safety. They will then send you a notice to provide them with your insurance information. If you do not, they will suspend your license.
22. I was charged with DUI.
A DUI charge can be devastating to people of certain professions. While it is on a misdemeanor it can never be expunged making one of the most detrimental criminal charges under Tennessee law. DUI defense is highly technical and requires a clear understanding of the science and procedures used by police offers to aid you conviction. If you are charged with DUI or DUI in Bartlett, Tennessee, you’ll need the best possible representation.
23. I was charged with domestic assault.
A domestic assault/violence conviction can cost you your right to own gun/firearm. It is important to hire an experience Memphis domestic assault attorney in order to avoid a conviction for this crime. For a greater explanation of domestic violence laws and possible ramifications of a conviction for domestic assault, click here.
24. I was charged with theft of property.
Theft is one of the most common criminal charges in Memphis, Tennessee. If you are charged with theft, you’ll want the help of an experienced Memphis theft attorney. Most theft cases can be negotiated to an amicable resolution for all parties. To learn more, check here.
25. I was charged with driving on a suspended license.
Driving of a suspended license is the most charged crime in Shelby County. While it is considered a "small" charge by many in Memphis it does carry up to a year in jail. If you are charged with driving on a suspended license you’ll want the help of a Memphis criminal defense attorney. Click here to learn more.
26. I have a warrant for my arrest.
27. I received a traffic ticket.
Our Memphis traffic ticket attorneys handle hundreds of tickets every month. We can get your ticket dismissed for a nominal fee. Click here to learn more.
Memphis divorce attorneys Jason Balestrini, Patrick Barnes, Iclem Jaber and Mitchell Wood have spent years successfully litigating divorce cases in Memphis, Tennessee, and we strive to be the best divorce attorneys we can be. Divorce is a complex legal area. Issues often involve intense emotions and have the potential to be life changing for the entire family. If you are involved in a divorce or other family law matter, it is important to have an experienced Memphis divorce attorney on your side to advocating for your interests. Our Memphis divorce attorneys make up the boutique law firm of Balestrini, Barnes, Jaber & Wood, PLLC, and we pride ourselves in providing quality representation to our clients from the first day we meet until the resolution of their case. Our Memphis divorce practice covers a wide range of family law matters, including divorce and legal separation, uncontested divorce, child custody and visitation, child relocation, spousal and child support, property division, modification or enforcement of current court orders, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, and civil unions.
Divorce, whether contested or uncontested, can be a daunting. When children are involved, even an amicable divorce can become an overwhelming emotional battle. When property is involved, it is important to take action to ensure that your future interests are addressed. Although technically a divorce is a decision made and carried out between two people, the truth is that the choice to get a divorce will have much wider-spread ramifications. Whether considering the effect on the couple’s children, or relationships, such as in-laws, extended family or friends, it is impossible to deny the consequences a divorce will have on your day to day life.
For this reason, divorce is an extremely delicate area of law that should not be handled by an inexperienced Memphis divorce attorney. You deserve to have the guidance and counsel of someone who is knowledgeable in Memphis divorce law, someone who will guide you step by step through the process. The mishandling of a Memphis divorce case can have long term detrimental effects, turning what could have been an amicable resolution into a bitter, drawn out courtroom battle. With the help of a qualified Memphis divorce attorney, your divorce or family law matter will be handled in a manner that can benefit your current and future interests as well as those of your family.
While many divorce cases may be settled amicably, it is always in your best interest to have an experienced Memphis divorce attorney represent you to protect you and your children. At Balestrini, Barnes, Jaber & Wood, PLLC, we have the experience and skill necessary to protect your family. We also understand the difficulties and confusion that a divorce can present. That is why our Memphis divorce attorneys strives to provide each individual client with the knowledge, communication, attention and dedication they expect and deserve. We value our clients and will aggressively fight for a successful outcome.
If you are facing a divorce or fighting for custody of your children, contact our law office immediately. We can discuss your case with you, help you better understand your options and make this time less difficult for your family.
Balestrini, Barnes, Jaber & Wood, PLLC • 1555 Madison Ave, Ste 202, Memphis, TN 38104 • 901-578-1515