Birmingham, Alabama Criminal Defense Lawyer

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Criminal Defense - Alabama Attorney John Michael Barclay Fights For Justice

Contact Barclay Law, LLC, a Birmingham AL criminal defense lawyer you can trust

John Michael Barclay, an experienced Birmingham, AL criminal defense attorney, understands just how serious such cases can be in Alabama. If you are convicted of assault or theft of property, you could face huge fines and significant jail time. That's why it's critical you have a lawyer on your side who understands Alabama's criminal defense laws. You need someone who knows how to navigate the legal system, whether you're dealing with a misdemeanor or felony crime. You need someone who can ask the right questions and consult with the right expert witnesses for your case.  Did the officer read your Miranda rights? Is the prosecutor overreaching? You need someone with a strong track record of success. You need Barclay Law, LLC of Birmingham, AL. We're proud of our case results, and we're eager to fight for your rights.

Some of the most common criminal defense charges attorney Barclay and his staff handle in Alabama include:

  • Municipal Court Offenses
  • Domestic Violence
  • Assault
  • Driving under the influence (DUI)
  • Drug offenses

"Why should I hire a criminal defense lawyer in Alabama?"

We often hear this question at Barclay Law, LLC. We believe actions speak louder than words. When you call us, we don't pass you off to someone without any experience. You meet directly with attorney Barclay. He will take the time to learn about your case. Then he will explain the options available to you, enabling you to make informed decisions about your defense.

When retained, Barclay Law, LLC  will get straight to work on your case. We regularly review police records, including the arrest report. We routinely search for witnesses and interview them. We often consult with experts. We analyze all the information at our disposal, including all the applicable State and Federal laws. Armed with the fruits of our relentless investigation, we then build the strongest legal defense possible with one, primary goal in mind: to win your case.

What are the new sentencing guidelines in Alabama?

Sentencing standards in Alabama on Oct. 1, 2013, went from voluntary to "presumptive," which means they would be applied unless a mitigating or aggravating factor provides a reason to deviate.

The Alabama Sentencing Commission's guidelines, which cover many nonviolent theft and drug charges, enable courts to be more selective about who goes to jail or prison. The guidelines were created in response to Alabama's severely overcrowded prison system.

Prior to the adoption of the new standards, sentencing for defendants facing similar charges was inconsistent throughout the state.  The Commission drafted the guidelines to create a fair and uniform system and eliminate sentencing disparity. Previously, judges used different sentencing practices, sometimes within the same courthouse.

Among the many changes, judges in most cases use a worksheet to guide the decisions about whether a convicted person goes to prison and how long the sentence should be. Prosecutors fill out the worksheets to outline the defendant's criminal history and prior sentences. Judges are able to examine the prior offenses and nature of those offenses as well as the prior sentences.

How does the court determine the length of a sentence?

Points are assigned for the new offense. In determining the length of a sentence, a judge will look at the total points, which include the current and old offenses. Essentially, the more convictions the defendant has, the more jail time he or she will face for the current offense.

When they went into effect in 2006, the guidelines were "voluntary," and use varied around the state.  The Alabama Legislature agreed in 2012 to make the guidelines "presumptive," which means they would be applied unless a mitigating or aggravating factor provides a reason to deviate.

Judges may deviate from the guidelines and either add to or subtract from the sentence if they have a compelling reason to do so.

How can an Alabama defense attorney help with my sentencing?

This is where a skilled criminal defense attorney like John Michael Barclay could help you get a more lenient sentence. If you are seeking a more lenient sentence and have mitigating factors, you must prove those factors by what is known as a "preponderance of evidence."

Attorney Barclay will help you present your case before a judge in the best light possible. He will gather evidence including possibly witnesses statements, to build a strong case in favor of a lighter sentence.

Mitigating factors include:

  • Your participation in the crime was relatively or you acted under extreme duress or under the substantial domination of another person.
  • You suffered extreme mental or emotional disturbance at time of arrest.
  • You lacked the capacity to appreciate the criminality of the conduct because of your age or other reasons.
  • You made substantial or full restitution to the victim or victims.
  • You assisted in the investigation or prosecution of another person who allegedly committed an offense.
  • You received an honorable discharge from the U.S. military.
  • You have been a person of good character or you have a good reputation in your community.
  • You are entered in or successfully completed a drug treatment program or alcohol treatment program subsequent to arrest or prior to trial.
  • You have a strong positive support system in the community or you have exhibited a positive employment history.

If a prosecutor calls for a lengthier sentence than the guidelines call for, you are entitled to take the case to a jury. Attorney Barclay will defend you against the prosecution's accusations. The prosecutor bears the burden of proof in asserting aggravating factors.

Aggravating factors include:

  • You were a leader, organizer or otherwise played a major role in a crime with several participants.
  • You committed the offense on behalf of a street gang.
  • You were paid to commit the offense.
  • You held public office at the time of the offense, and the offense was related to the conduct of the office.
  • The victim was vulnerable due to age, infirmity or reduced physical capacity.
  • You were incarcerated, on pretrial release, on probation or parole, or serving a community corrections sentence at the time the crime was committed.
  • You were an adult (18 years old or older) and persuaded someone under 16 to assist in the crime.
  • The crime involved the taking of a property worth a substantial amount of money or caused a significant monetary loss to the victim or victims.
  • The offense involved sophistication and planning, and occurred over a long time period and involved several victims or the victimization of one individual two or more times.
  • By committing the crime, you created a significant risk to human health or safety or danger to the environment.
  • You exposed someone 16 or younger to criminal conduct or endangerment.
  • You committed a crime against someone based on race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or physical or mental disability.
  • You used another person's identity to commit the crime.

Put your trust in a Birmingham criminal defense law firm that puts people first

"Never give up hope. There's always a solution to a problem," attorney Barclay often says.

He knows because he works hard on every case and he has the track record to prove it. Attorney Barclay has developed a reputation as a skilled negotiator, but he will argue before a judge and jury if necessary to protect your rights. He has been consistently named one of Birmingham Magazine's Top Attorneys in the areas of Criminal Defense and has been included in the magazine's prestigious list of Alabama Super Lawyers™ Rising Stars in 2012 and 2013. Attorney Barclay also has one of the highest Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review AV Ratings for attorneys in Alabama, receiving an AV® Preeminent™ score of 4.7 out of 5 in Criminal Law, Litigation and Family Law.

Every second counts. Don't wait another minute. Get the professional legal help you need now. Contact attorney John Michael Barclay. You have rights. He will fight for them! Call (205) 488-2797 or fill out our online inquiry form and schedule a free consultation. Attorney Barclay proudly serves clients throughout the state of Alabama, including Jefferson County, Tuscaloosa, Auburn, Mobile, Saint Clair County, Shelby County and the Gulf Shores as well as the municipalities of Bessemer, Docena, Dolomite, Fairfield, Fultondale, Graysville, Homewood, Hoover, Mountain Brook, Mount Olive, New Castle, Pleasant Grove, Prattville, Shannon, Vestavia, Watson and Wetumpka, AL. He also helps people from other states that need an experienced attorney in Alabama to fight for their rights.

Barclay Law, LLC - driven to succeed, focused on results.

Super Lawyers
Super Lawyers Rising Stars
LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rated