Lafayette Criminal Defense Lawyer

Lafayette Criminal Defense Lawyer

Lafayette Criminal Defense Attorney

A criminal conviction can result in severe criminal penalties and long-term effects on future opportunities. When you face criminal charges and the potential for a conviction, it can be terrifying. It’s important to invoke your right to legal counsel as soon as possible and hire a qualified Lafayette criminal defense lawyer.

The team at the Law Offices of R. Scott Iles wants to give you the legal support you need during a criminal case. We have over 30 years of legal experience, with strong professional relationships and resources in the Lafayette area and nearby communities. We have always fought for the rights of those in our community, and our firm is dedicated to helping those who are facing criminal charges.

When you have been arrested or charged with a crime, you need a qualified criminal defense attorney. When you contact the Law Offices of R. Scott Iles, we can begin creating a defense strategy that fits your circumstances.

Best Lafayette Criminal Defense Lawyer

Criminal Law and a Criminal Record

In Louisiana, like most states, criminal charges are listed as either a felony or a misdemeanor. Felonies are the more serious charges of the two, typically resulting in higher fines and more than a year in prison. Misdemeanors may have lower fines, under a year in jail, and the potential for alternate sentencing outside of jail.

However, even though misdemeanors have fewer immediate penalties, both felonies and misdemeanors can have a major effect on your life and your future. You should not take these charges lightly. Any criminal conviction will result in a criminal record. When you have a criminal record, it can harm a lot of opportunities in your life, such as:

  • Losing your job
  • Denial of a job application
  • Preventing you from applying for certain lines of work
  • Denial of housing applications
  • Preventing you from obtaining some governmental benefits
  • Denial of educational opportunities

Specific criminal charges may remove your right to vote or carry firearms. Other charges can affect your immigration status if you are not a citizen. A criminal conviction and a criminal record can also come with significant social and professional consequences.

By working with a criminal defense attorney, you have the greatest chance of mitigating these penalties or potentially avoiding a conviction.

Common Criminal Charges in Lafayette, LA

There are many different criminal law cases, and each requires unique approaches for investigation and defense. Some common criminal charges include:

  • Driving while intoxicated (DWI): Operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal. DWI laws in Louisiana are very serious. Criminal penalties for DWI offenses increase if there are aggravating factors, such as prior DWI convictions, or if an injury or death was caused by a DWI crash.
  • Drug charges: Drug charges include possession, trafficking, and possession with intent to distribute. The severity of these charges depends on the type and amount of controlled substance involved. Drug charges can have a very serious impact on your life and employment.
  • Internet crimes: These crimes cover a wide severity of crimes, including several types of fraud and identity theft, and hacking. Internet crimes can frequently become federal crimes.

Other common criminal charges may include:

  • Juvenile charges
  • Petty and grand larceny
  • Arson
  • Burglary and robbery
  • Assault and battery
  • Homicide
  • Federal charges

It’s beneficial to your criminal case and defense to find an attorney who has experience with cases similar to yours. This means that the attorney has an understanding of the following:

  • Legal requirements for your case
  • Evidence necessary to prove a defense
  • Options for your defense

What Are the Benefits of a Criminal Defense Lawyer?

When you work with a defense lawyer, you are increasing the chance of avoiding a conviction or other extreme penalties. There are several benefits to working with a criminal defense attorney, including:

  • Knowledge of criminal law: Criminal law is a complex field with intersections in federal, state, and local laws. A criminal defense attorney has experience with these laws and how they affect your case and defense. When an attorney has navigated criminal charges similar to yours before, they can better understand what evidence and information is necessary.
  • Legal and emotional support: It is not easy to face criminal charges or navigate the criminal justice system. An attorney can help you remain informed about the current status of your case and its likelihood of success. You also know that you have someone on your side in a very overwhelming process.
  • Experience with the criminal law system: Criminal defense attorneys frequently have standing professional relationships with local prosecutors and judges. This can help your attorney navigate the criminal justice court and have insight into how your case may be handled.
  • Extensive professional resources: State or federal prosecutors work on your case with many governmental resources. By working with a criminal defense firm, you provide yourself with similar resources. Criminal defense attorneys can thoroughly investigate the scene of your arrest for evidence. They can also use resources, such as expert witnesses or forensic accountants, to aid your case, depending on the type of charges you face.

Criminal defense attorneys have experience negotiating out of court as well as advocating for your rights in court if necessary.

How Long Will My Criminal Case Last?

A criminal charge can take anywhere from weeks to over a year to resolve. Each criminal case is unique, and there are many factors that impact the length of the case. These include:

  • Whether the case goes to court
  • The availability and schedule of the criminal court
  • Whether the charge is a misdemeanor or a felony
  • The type of criminal charge
  • Aggravating or mitigating factors present in the crime
  • Other complex issues unique to the crime
  • The skill of your criminal defense attorney

The circumstances of your case and whether you seek negotiation or litigation will impact the length of time your case could take. Speaking with your attorney will help to determine an anticipated time frame for your case.

Common Defense Against Criminal Charges

While the circumstances of your case will help to inform the defense strategy your attorney may use, there are several common criminal defenses that your attorney may consider. These include:

  • Innocence. This is one of the most common defenses that your attorney will use. In any criminal case, the prosecutor has an obligation to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty of all elements of the crime for which you are charged.
  • Violation of rights. Every person is entitled to certain rights throughout the criminal justice process. Violations of rights could include improperly collecting evidence, failing to Mirandize the accused, obtaining an improper confession, and more. When there is a violation of rights, the case could be dismissed entirely.
  • The existence of an alibi. In some cases, you may be able to prove that you were not present at the time the crime was committed. This could include a verified alibi who can testify and prove you were elsewhere. Alibis could include people, photos, videos, and other evidence that prove you could not have been present for the commission of the crime.
  • Self-defense or defense of others. One of the most common forms of criminal defense, this strategy is often used in cases involving a threat or perceived threat to injury or loss of life to oneself or someone else. The use of this defense, however, requires that evidence prove the level and type of defense used matched the level of the threat to which they were facing.
    For example, a person cannot use a gun against another if that person is attacking them with fists, and there is a provable difference in strength.
  • Duress or coercion. This defense is used when a defendant is claiming that another individual forced them to commit an illegal act. For example, if a person commits a crime because they perceive harm would come to their family based on a threat made, they may be able to use this defense strategy.

These do not reflect the only available defenses for criminal defense but do represent some of the most common.

Every criminal case is different, and the strategy chosen by your attorney will be based on the circumstances of your case. It is advisable to provide your attorney with all the details so they can prepare your defense without any surprises. Because of the protections provided by attorney-client privilege, even if the details do not seem favorable for you, you should explain all the details to your Lafayette defense attorney.

Choosing the Right Criminal Defense Attorney in Lafayette, LA

There are a multitude of criminal defense attorneys available, but knowing which is the right one for you could come down to a few key questions to ask throughout your selection process. Some common questions to ask potential attorneys include:

  • What experience do you have in litigating cases similar to mine?
  • How often and in what ways should I expect communication to occur?
  • Will you be the attorney handling my case, or will it be passed to someone else within your office?
  • What might the costs of your services be?
  • How long have you been practicing law, and in particular, criminal law?

It is unreasonable to believe that you will be the sole focus of any attorney you hire; however, knowing what services they will provide and the type of interactions you will have can provide insight into how they will benefit your case. To support this decision, you should also seek reviews and references for any potential attorney that you seek to hire. This could be from friends, family, other professionals, or online reviews.


Q: What Is the Difference Between a Defense Attorney and a Prosecutor?

A: A defense attorney is the representative counsel for the individual accused of a crime or is otherwise designated as the defendant in a claim or trial. The prosecutor is the designated counsel assigned to the accusing entity, often representing the government agency that is bringing charges against the defendant. It is the responsibility of the prosecutor to prove that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Q: What Is the Most Common Criminal Defense?

A: One of the most common criminal defenses used is that a person was acting in self-defense or in defense of another person. In these cases, the defendant is claiming that their life, or the life of another, was in danger of significant harm or death. In these cases, however, the defendant must prove that their act of self-defense matched the threat they faced. The defense must equal the perceived threat.

Q: What Is a Felony Charge in Louisiana?

A: Unlike other states, felony charges in Louisiana are not classified into various categories. They are, however, defined by the term in prison that a person could face. Any charge that faces a penalty of one year or more in prison is considered to be a felony charge. Additional penalties that a person could face if convicted of a felony include fines, forced labor, or the death penalty.

Q: What Three Conditions Must Be Present Before a Prosecutor Charges a Criminal Case?

A: When charging an individual with a criminal offense, the prosecutor must meet three conditions. These conditions include an arrest of the accused individual, a formal charge for the commission of the crime, and the criminal charges that have been turned over to the prosecutor for prosecution. Once these conditions have been met, the prosecutor may proceed with the criminal litigation.

Lafayette Criminal Defense Lawyer – Free Consultation

Criminal charges can be life-altering even if you are not convicted. From damages in reputation to convictions that impact your ability to find housing, employment, or continuing educational opportunities, any criminal charges should be taken seriously and defended vigorously.

If you have been charged with a crime, get the help you deserve from the experienced and knowledgeable attorneys at the Law Office of R. Scott Iles. Contact our offices today.