It is not easy – especially if you try to do it without a lawyer’s help – but it is possible. Below, we discuss some of the options available to those charged with a crime in Hawaii. If you would like to learn more about getting your criminal penalties minimized, reach out to Michael Fayard, Criminal Defense Attorney, today.

Deferral Options

What if you could just get probation and then have your record cleared? For many who have been charged with a crime, this is an attractive proposition. And in Hawaii, it’s a real possibility. This option is called deferral.

To qualify for this option, you have to plead guilty or no contest. The judge also has to believe the following:

  • You are unlikely to commit a crime again
  • Allowing you to escape the prescribed punishment will not present injustice to society

Keep in mind that certain crimes, such as the abuse of a family member, may not be eligible for deferral. Also, prior convictions and deferrals can make you ineligible.

The best part? After you have completed a probation period, you can petition the court to expunge the charge from your record. It can be like it never happened. Outside of hearing the judge say, “Not guilty,” that is probably as good as it gets.

Drug Treatment Programs

In Hawaii, one of the penalties for most drug crimes is time in jail or prison. And for most people who have been charged with such a crime, that is the punishment they want to avoid most. Fortunately, state law provides a way to avoid incarceration for drug crimes.

If this is your first or second conviction for a drug crime, you may be able to go through a drug treatment program and probation instead of spending time behind bars. The following are a few basic requirements to be considered for this option:

  • You have to be nonviolent, which includes both the charge at hand and your criminal history.
  • A certified substance abuse counselor has to declare that you require substance abuse treatment.
  • You must present to the court a proposal for substance abuse treatment that is in line with the counselor’s recommendations.

If the judge accepts your proposal, you will be required to complete the program and likely be sentenced to probation. Failure to complete the program means you could be sentenced for the original drug charge. And if your charge involved possession of a small amount of marijuana, the conviction could be expunged from your record after you have finished the program.

How a Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help

The options described above are great ways to get criminal penalties minimized in Hawaii. But they both involve making a case to a court, judge, prosecutor, or jury. And that is not easy to do, especially when you don’t have in-depth knowledge of the law and face bias against you because of your criminal history.

The good news is that an experienced defense attorney will know the best way to go about minimizing your criminal penalties. That could mean helping you make the case to a judge that you will not commit another crime. It could also involve putting together a substance abuse treatment proposal or working with the prosecutor to secure a plea deal that reduces your charges, punishments, or both.

To give you an idea of the plea deals a criminal defense lawyer could try to secure for you, here are a few examples:

  • Charge Bargaining: This deal would allow you to plead guilty to a less serious crime that comes with less severe punishments.
  • Sentence Bargaining: In sentence bargaining, the prosecutor recommends lighter penalties for your charge if you agree to plead guilty or no contest.
  • Count Bargaining: Under this deal, you would plead guilty to a smaller number of charges than you originally had. This often reduces the penalties you face.

No matter your situation, your attorney can look at your case and give you an honest idea of your options. In almost every case, there is a way to reduce criminal penalties possibly. You just have to know where to look.

Speak With Michael Fayard, Criminal Defense Attorney

Even when you think there is no hope, a great defense lawyer can find some hope for you. It’s what Michael Fayard, Criminal Defense Attorney, does for his clients every day. And it’s what he is prepared to do for you, too.

From getting your criminal penalties minimized to avoid a conviction altogether, attorney Michael Fayard is here to help. To discuss your case, call (808) 445-6708 or reach out online.