809 Central Ave., Ste. 430
Fort Dodge, IA
If you are being investigated or charged with a criminal offense, you need an experienced, knowledgeable attorney to help guide and protect you. Most people have only a vague idea of what happens during a criminal investigation or prosecution. We see television shows or pick up bits and pieces from the news. The truth is that if you are being investigated or prosecuted for a criminal act you are in a very complex, serious situation and you need an attorney that knows what to do to protect your rights and make sure you fully understand the process.
If you or a loved one have been accused of a criminal offense, what is going to happen next? The answer depends on what stage of the proceeding you are at. Most cases generally follow the same process. After a complaint is made to law enforcement an investigation will be conducted. The County Attorney or State Attorney General will be contacted to discuss the possibility of what charges should or shouldn’t be filed. If the prosecutor feels the case has enough to go forward (not a very high burden in most places) then formal charges will be brought. In Iowa formal charges are brought either through a “Trial Information” – a formal charging document presented to and approved by a judge, or by a grand jury. Grand juries are rare in Iowa and almost all cases are formally initiated with a Trial Information. After charging there will be pretrial proceedings including filing motions. Where appropriate the State and Defendant may engage in plea negotiations to reduce charges and/or give specific recommendations to the judge for sentencing. When cases are not resolved during this pretrial process they will set for a trial, usually by a jury. In the event of a guilty verdict there is a sentencing hearing where the judge determines the punishment to be imposed. After that there are appeals and post-conviction proceedings that can be used to either get a new trial or vacate (clear away) all or part of the judgment.
Throughout this process, you want to have access to quality legal representation. You want an attorney that can jump in at any stage and help you deal with vast resources the government has brought against you. In any given case, the State may have dozens of police officers, investigators, technicians, and an unlimited budget. The first thing you need to do when these forces are lining up against you is to get in touch with a quality criminal defense attorney. They can act as a buffer between you and law enforcement during an investigation, speak to witnesses and begin to gather evidence that will help your case, explain to the prosecutor why you should not face criminal prosecution, investigate ALL the facts and applicable law, and try to convince a jury that the government hasn’t proven its case. In the event you are found guilty you need an attorney who can present the best argument to the sentencing judge and show all the reasons why you deserve the least amount of punishment.
Charles Kenville has been involved in criminal law since 1999. As a college student at North Dakota State University he interned with the Cass County Sheriff’s Office seeing how criminal investigations are conducted from the inside out. After law school he spent almost 5 years with the Polk County Attorney’s Office Drug and Gang Unit (now Bureau) in Des Moines, Iowa. After serving as a prosecutor Charles went into a private practice where he concentrated on both state and federal criminal defense. He was named the lead attorney and then supervisor of the Fort Dodge office of the State Public Defender’s Office in 2010. At the public defender’s office Charles was in charge of the most serious cases and had several jury trials involving the most serious offenses (murder, kidnapping, sexual assault). Charles is now back in private practice and ready to assist you in the complex, often frightening world of criminal law.
Alyssa and Charles Kenville have been members of the bar for over 16 years. Learn more about their background! Get in touch with us today!
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