Criminal Offenses

Alaska Attorney Protecting the Rights of Individuals Facing Charges

Although our justice system is meant to safeguard the rights of defendants and to afford them all possible opportunities to fight the charges against them, many individuals understandably find the laws and the process difficult to navigate. Criminal defense lawyer Julie Willoughby knows the challenges that people can confront when they are charged with crimes, such as DUI, fish and game offenses, and serious felonies, in Juneau or the surrounding area. She has over 15 years of experience helping individuals throughout Southeastern Alaska assert their rights when facing prosecution.

Criminal Laws in Alaska

The justice system in Alaska is governed by a complex system of state and federal laws that govern its residents’ conduct. Most federal and state statutory crimes have two types of elements. One is related to actions taken by the defendant, and the other is related to his or her mental state at the time of the conduct in question. This means that in order to be convicted of a crime, a defendant generally must have committed an act that was illegal and must have done so with the mental state required by the law.

Individuals facing prosecution are entitled to a variety of protections under the criminal justice system, which are intended to help reduce the chance that someone is wrongly convicted. First, in order to find a defendant guilty in a criminal case, a prosecutor must show that he or she committed the crime “beyond a reasonable doubt.” This is called the burden of proof, and it is especially high in criminal cases because the consequences of a conviction are so severe.

Furthermore, defendants are afforded many types of constitutional protections during the investigation of a crime. For example, the Fourth Amendment protects individuals from unreasonable searches and seizures. Similarly, the Fifth Amendment requires police to make defendants aware of their “Miranda rights” before taking them into custody and questioning them. These protections include the right to remain silent and the right to have an attorney. Information gathered in violation of constitutional protections may be excluded from consideration if the defense can convince a judge that the information is inadmissible. Since this evidence can be crucial to the prosecution’s case, the charges may fall apart or be significantly reduced if it cannot be used.

Seek Legal Guidance to Fight a Prosecution

If you or a loved one has been arrested on criminal charges, or believes that they may be pending, it is important that you reach out to a qualified attorney as soon as possible. While defendants are allowed to represent themselves, the systems of law and procedure that govern the justice system are complex. Attorney Julie Willoughby has the knowledge and experience to protect your rights during a criminal trial. She has helped numerous people in Ketchikan fight prosecutions based on DUI charges, fish and game violations, and other serious offenses. You can contact her office for a free initial consultation at 907-586-1415 or online.