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Criminal law involves prosecution by the government of a person for an act that has been classified as a crime. Civil cases, on the other hand, involve individuals and organizations seeking to resolve legal disputes. In a criminal case, the state, through a prosecutor, initiates the suit, while in a civil case the victim brings the suit. A person convicted of a crime may be incarcerated, fined, or both. However, persons found liable in a civil case may only have to give up property or pay money, but are not incarcerated.

A "crime" is any act or omission (of an act) in violation of a public law forbidding or commanding it. Though there are some common law crimes, most crimes in the United States are established by local, state, and federal governments. Criminal laws vary significantly from state to state. There is, however, a Model Penal Code (MPC) which serves as a good starting place to gain an understanding of the basic structure of criminal liability.

Here is how MANASSEH, GILL, KNIPE & BÉLANGER can help you:

  1. We can serve as a buffer between you and law enforcement and prevent them from harassing you at work or coercing you into giving a statement that they will only use against you later.

  2. We can negotiate your self surrender if there is a warrant for your arrest so you don’t have to worry about the U.S. Marshalls kicking down your door in the middle of the night and scarring your family or making a “show of force” at your work place.

  3. We can contact the prosecutor before charges are filed against you to see whether prosecution is even necessary and, if so, discuss the possibility of charging you with a lesser grade of offense than you were arrested for in the first place.

  4. We can immediately reach out to the court and request a bail amount you can afford once you are arrested.

  5. We are not “guilty plea lawyers” and will not force you into a guilty plea because we are afraid of going to trial.  We will gladly bring your case before a jury.  That being said,  we will provide you with candid advice on whether a guilty plea is appropriate for your case.  We will respect your decision to plead or go to trial.

  6. We can review your conviction to see if an there are any errors to raise on appeal or post conviction that would possibly over turn your conviction.

  7. We want you to succeed and do not want “repeat customers.”  If you have a drug problem or anger management issues, we can put you in contact with professionals who can help treat those disorders.  We can also help those eligible obtain expungments for certain convictions which, if granted, would shield your criminal conviction from the public eye.

  8. We will explain to you your legal rights and the consequences of your decisions in handling the case. We realize that this case is your life and do not take that for granted.