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Become a Client

Work with Lakeland’s top criminal defense & restraining order attorney in a few simple steps:


Step 1

Call Us

Call McKendrick Law and discuss an overview of your legal situation to prepare the attorney for your consultation.

Step 2

No-Cost Consultation

You’ll meet one-on-one with Mr. McKendrick to determine what the options are in your case. All details are strictly confidential.

Step 3

Manage the Case

The attorney will be in communication with you throughout your case as negotiations, mediation, or a trial is in process.

Step 4

Stay Protected

We’ll fight for you and provide unmatched service and support to get you the best outcome.


How a criminal case goes
through the justice system

(A step-by-step overview)


Investigate the crime

When a crime is reported, a law enforcement officer will investigate the claim. An officer can either be a witness (like observing a driver under the influence weaving in and out of lanes of traffic) or the person that the incident is reported to.

The law enforcement body will collect physical and biological evidence and interview witnesses to determine if the crime has enough evidence to submit to prosecutors.


An arrest is made

If there is probable cause and an arrest warrant has been obtained by a judge, an officer can arrest a suspect to restrict their freedom of movement. Without a warrant, a law enforcement officer can only arrest someone if there is proof that the arrest was necessary.


Hearing & charges

Prosecutors have the responsibility to review the reports and investigation notes gathered by law enforcement to determine what charges to file.

When a defendant is arrested, they soon after appear before a judge for an initial hearing or arraignment. This is where they learn about the charges made against them and what rights they have.

At this stage, it is advisable that a defendant has an attorney and does not speak with anyone. The court will take the defendant’s pleas, determine their custody status, appoint a public defender if this hasn’t already been done, and set future court appearance dates.


Discovery phase

The discovery process involves the defendant’s attorney and the prosecutors building a case and reviewing all the evidence on both sides. These materials can include reports made by police, statements from witnesses, photos, videos, and any other documents relevant to the case.


Plea bargain

A large number of criminal cases are resolved without going to trial through plea bargaining, an agreement between the defendant and prosecuting. Often, the defendant will agree to plead guilty or no contest to at least one of the charges while the prosecution offers to dismiss or reduce some of the charges. Plea bargaining can take place at any point up until the trial.


Preliminary hearing

When appropriate, defendants are sometimes entitled to a preliminary hearing (which is like a small trial). The prosecution will attempt to convince the judge that there is adequate evidence to require the accused person to stand trial.

The judge will decide if there is enough cause to proceed with a trial, or the charges can be completely dismissed if the evidence is not supportive enough.


Go to trial

Every citizen of the United States has the right to a fair trial by jury in any felony or most misdemeanor cases according to the Sixth Amendment and state law. A defendant also retains the right to waive a trial and allow a judge to decide his/her fate.

After the jury selection, the prosecution and defense will present arguments and evidence to the jury panel and finish with closing arguments. This can take as little as a day to weeks or even months. The jurors will deliberate until they agree on a final verdict.



The punishment for most crimes is left up to federal and state law. Penalties can include fines, prison time, or probation. Factors that influence a sentence can include the defendant’s previous criminal record, the losses caused by the crime, victim statements, nature of the crime, and more.


Appeal the case

Even if a guilty verdict is reached, a defendant is legally allowed to file an appeal and ask a higher court to review the decision of the case. At this point, the defense can argue that there were specific errors committed during the trial by the judge or jury.

Outcomes of an appeal can range from reversal of a conviction, altered sentence, or declaration of a mistrial.

We’ll be your legal advocate from start
to finish, because your rights matter.

We’ll be your legal advocate from start to finish, because your rights matter.

Criminal and restraining order cases can be complex and confusing. Partnering with the right law firm can mean the difference between walking free and going to prison. McKendrick Law will fight relentlessly for your rights during every step of the process. Talk to our expert attorney today.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Always talk to an attorney before pleading guilty (even if you still plan to) to ensure you have explored all options and
outcomes related to your case.

While Mr. McKendrick has found he can help a majority of his clients achieve a better outcome, there are no guarantees in law because of all the factors involved. The guarantee that can be made is that we’ll do everything we can and explore every avenue to help you get your case dismissed, lesser charges, or a reduced sentence.

In some cases it is wise to take a plea bargain depending on the circumstances of the charges. Any plea bargain should be evaluated by an attorney who thoroughly understands your rights and the provisions in the agreement.

Our rates depend on what work is involved in handling your case. Please schedule a free consultation and we will figure out an option that works for you.

It’s always a good thing if charges are dropped against you, but the state can still pursue the case. Always get a defense attorney to help you navigate the process of getting charges dropped.

Once you know charges are being brought against you or you are arrested, contact us right away so we can protect your rights.

Have more questions? Call now.