Just about anyone in the United States who has reached an age of understanding knows that our Constitution provides that a person is innocent until proven guilty. Essentially, this is a fair approach. It allows a defendant the opportunity to present facts and evidence to clear his or her name, and further, the burden of proving the crime was perpetrated by that defendant falls to the prosecution. It is this constitutional right to a defense that motivates our role under the law.

On our practice page explaining our background in criminal defense, we explain about violent crime arrests and their potential for long-term consequences. The Federal Bureau of Investigation defines violent crime to include four offenses: murder and non-negligent manslaughter, rape, aggravated assault and robbery. They involve force or the threat of force.

In 2013, the FBI estimated 1,163,146 violent crimes happened across the country. The good thing is this estimate reflects a 4.4 percent decrease from the 2012 estimate, which continues the downward trend observed over the past 10 years.

These national statistics probably don’t have a great deal of relevance to someone facing accusations in Eau Claire. What is important to someone facing arrest on any of these criminal charges in our community is how to safeguard innocence, protect his or her rights throughout the legal process and minimize the penalties if the prosecution has enough evidence to prove guilt.

Whether an alleged crime is the result of a well-calculated plan or an impassioned reaction to a situation, an effective defense strategy is extremely important. Notwithstanding a conviction, the fallout from an arrest alone may impact a job or career, family, finances and one’s future well-being. Minimizing these repercussions to whatever extent possible while protecting a citizen’s rights under the law is the goal of any defense.