Skilled Gulfport Criminal Defense Lawyers
If you are facing criminal charges in state or federal court in Mississippi, you need experienced legal representation from Gulfport criminal defense lawyers. You could be facing substantial fines and long-term imprisonment, and the prosecutors handling your case will be pushing for a maximum sentence at trial. You could have several defenses available. But without an attorney who knows how to assert them effectively, you could easily find yourself facing a lifetime of unjust consequences.
At Smith & Holder, PLLC, we provide experienced and aggressive legal representation for individuals and businesses facing criminal charges in southern Mississippi. Licensed to practice in state and federal court, our criminal defense lawyers in Gulfport are strategic advocates and vigorous litigators who pursue all available opportunities to protect our clients against conviction and sentencing. Whether your best option is to negotiate a plea deal with federal prosecutors or take your case before a jury in state court, we can help you choose the best path forward and seek the best outcome available under the circumstances at hand.
Put a Former Felony Prosecutor on Your Side
Our Gulfport criminal defense attorneys are Chris Smith and Morgan Holder. Mr. Smith is a former Assistant State Attorney who prosecuted felony cases in state court prior to entering private practice. Mr. Holder also began his career in the public sector and handled hundreds of cases as a Mississippi public defender prior to co-founding Smith & Holder, PLLC. Together, Mr. Smith and Mr. Holder offer a wealth of experience in high-stakes criminal matters, and they rely on proven defense strategies to protect clients who are facing all types of charges in state and federal court.
Whether you are facing a first-time DUI charge in Mississippi state court or you are being prosecuted for a federal white-collar offense that carries the potential for decades of imprisonment, your needs are the same. You need a law firm with relevant experience, and you need a legal team that is prepared to do what it takes to protect you from a conviction at trial. At Smith & Holder, PLLC, we will work tirelessly to defend you, and we will stay in the fight for as long as it takes to secure the justice you deserve.
Gulfport Criminal Defense Lawyers for State and Federal Charges
Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
For many people, facing a DUI is their first introduction to the Mississippi criminal justice system. If you have been charged with driving under the influence (DUI), it is important to understand what is at stake in your case. If you are convicted, you could lose your license to suspension, you could face up to $1,000 in fines, and you could be forced to spend 48 hours in jail. This is for a first offense. The penalties for repeat offenders are even greater. Having a number of DUI convictions on your record can lead to substantially increased insurance premiums, difficulty finding a job, and various other practical consequences.
Domestic violence offenses are among the most heavily-prosecuted criminal charges in Mississippi. The consequences of a conviction can be severe. Some of these consequences include fines, jail time, and being subject to a protection order that prevents you from seeing your children or spending time in your own home. Unfortunately, many domestic violence cases arise out of false allegations, and the facts are rarely as straightforward as conveyed to the police and prosecutors. Our Gulfport criminal defense attorneys can tell your side of the story, and we can make sure that you are not unfairly punished for something that didn’t happen.
We represent clients facing felony charges at the state and federal levels. Our practice includes defending clients charged with drug crimes, property crimes, and violent crimes such as:
- Aggravated assault
- Aggravated domestic violence
- Drug manufacturing, distribution, and possession
- Grand larceny
- Sexual battery
Although punished less severely than felonies, misdemeanors are still serious charges that can lead to fines, jail time, and other legal and practical consequences. We routinely represent individuals charged with misdemeanor offenses including:
- Carrying a concealed weapon
- Criminal mischief
- Disorderly conduct
- Drug possession in small quantities (e.g., 30 grams or less of marijuana)
- Petit larceny (theft of less than $500)
- Resisting arrest
- Simple assault
White Collar Crimes
White-collar crimes are offenses that are non-violent in nature and that typically involve some form of financial motivation. These crimes are prosecuted at the state and federal levels, and they often carry severe penalties. Our highly respected Gulfport criminal defense lawyers defend individuals and businesses facing all types of white-collar charges, including:
- Bank, check, and credit card fraud
- Blackmail and extortion
- Computer and Internet crimes
- Identity theft
- Insurance fraud
- Mail and wire fraud
- Money laundering
Frequently-Asked Questions (FAQs): Defending against Criminal Charges in Mississippi
Q: Is there a statute of limitations for criminal charges in Mississippi?
Mississippi law establishes statutes of limitations for some criminal charges but not others. For crimes that are subject to a statute of limitations, in most cases, state prosecutors have two years to file charges from the date of commission of the crime. Crimes that are not subject to a statute of limitations in Mississippi include (but are not limited to):
- Aggravated assault
Q: What are some potential defenses to state and federal criminal charges?
There are numerous potential defenses to criminal charges at both the state and federal level. When we represent you, we will explore all potential defenses and develop a comprehensive case strategy focused on attacking the government’s case from as many angles as possible. Some of the types of defenses that we may be able to assert on your behalf include:
- Expiration of the statute of limitations
- Failure to meet the government’s burden of proof
- Self-defense or defense of others
- Violation of your Constitutional rights (e.g., unlawful search and seizure or violation of your right to a speedy trial)
In many cases, there will be charge-specific defenses available as well. For example, let’s say you are being charged with possession of a controlled substance. However, the arresting officer was mistaken as to the substance that was in your possession. This mistake can provide a complete defense to criminal culpability. Likewise, if you are facing a DUI charge and you blew a high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) because you had recently eaten chocolate or breath mints (both of which can produce faulty breath test results), you should not be convicted of drunk driving.
Q: What is the 'burden of proof' in a criminal case?
In a criminal case, the burden of proof is the legal standard for establishing the defendant’s guilt. At the state and federal levels, the government has the burden of proving the defendant’s guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.” If the factfinder (either the judge or jury) is not convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty of the crime alleged, then you deserve to walk free at the end of your trial.
Q: What is a grand jury?
A grand jury is the legal procedure used to determine whether the target of a criminal investigation should be indicted on felony charges. Grand juries are used at the state and federal levels. Appearing before a grand jury is very different from presenting a legal defense during a jury trial. If you have been summoned to appear before a grand jury in Mississippi, you need to begin preparing with a Gulfport criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.
Q: What are my rights if the police arrested me illegally or performed an illegal search or seizure?
If the police arrested you illegally or performed an illegal search or seizure, we may be able to use this to defeat the charges against you. These are both violations of your Constitutional rights. As a general rule, any evidence obtained as the result of a Constitutional violation is inadmissible in criminal court. If we can successfully argue that the government’s evidence against you must be excluded from your trial, the prosecutor’s office may have no choice but to drop your charges.
Your Aggressive Gulfport Criminal Lawyers
If you have been arrested or are facing a federal investigation in Gulfport, we encourage you to contact us to discuss your case. Your initial consultation is completely free and 100% confidential. If necessary, we can take action immediately to protect your legal rights. At Smith & Holder, PLLC, we offer:
- Former prosecutorial experience
- Experience defending clients in hundreds of criminal cases
- Detail-oriented legal representation focused on securing the best possible result in your case
- Direct access to your criminal attorney
- An unwavering commitment to protecting your rights and preserving your future
Speak with a Gulfport Criminal Defense Attorney at Smith & Holder, PLLC
To speak with one of our Gulfport criminal lawyers about your case, please call us or send us your contact information online. You can contact us 24/7. If we are not available immediately, we will be in touch as soon as possible. Our law firm is located in Gulfport, Mississippi and we are honored to serve Biloxi, Pascagoula and all of Jackson and Harrison Counties with many types of legal representation.