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Considering What's Ahead
You have just been arrested and charged with a crime. Perhaps you spent a few hours in jail before they released you. They may have searched your home, or towed and/or impounded your automobile, and now you are wondering whether or not to get an attorney. You should realize up front that there are often severe penalties for crimes. In most states the law requires mandatory jail sentences in many cases, fines, classes, probation, and other sanctions as punishment for many crimes. Your sentence will depend on the charge(s) and on the facts of your case.
What will you do? - You need to be prepared for what will happen in court, and you need a sound strategy for dealing with the "justice" system. Because the stakes are so high to you, you should seek representation no matter how trivial a case you think you have.
Why you need the best attorney you can find: - The government (through the D.A.) may take advantage of you if you do not get representation!
If you are unrepresented, remember: - The D.A. gets paid to convict you; The system is overloaded now and it needs funding badly; and, Your guilty plea to anything funds the system. The D.A. gets the conviction with your help and little work just like an assembly plant.
Besides, you might be able to get a better deal with an attorney. There is no guarantee of this, but an attorney is an important investment in protecting your rights.
Another important reason to hire a good lawyer is that regardless of the plea in your case, you will want to minimize your sentence as much as you can. An experienced criminal defense attorney knows what to ask for, how to ask for it, and will fight to protect your rights at sentencing.
Why You Need an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer:
Q. Im guilty and I just want to take a plea. Why do I need to hire a lawyer?
A. Whether youve been "falsely accused" of a crime, or caught "red-handed," hiring the right lawyer promptly can make a huge difference to your future.
The criminal justice system is complex and, to the uninitiated, confusing. The right lawyer can walk you through this confusing maze and help you by putting his knowledge of the system and experience to work for you.
Of course, you need a lawyer if you plan to try your case. Without a lawyer, you stand alone and unprepared for a trial. But what if you do not plan on taking your case to trial? What if you just want to "cut your losses" with a plea? Do you still need a lawyer? Usually, you still should hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer, even if you think you are unlikely to go to trial. In fact, those are often the cases where the right lawyers can help you the most!
When you hire the right lawyer, he can help you . . . - Tell your side of the story.
A seasoned criminal defense lawyer knows what factors impress prosecutors and judges. He is used to skillfully portraying people just like you in the best possible light. This can often mean the difference between a conviction of serious charges or a plea to lesser charges, or even jail versus probation.
Lower your bond/bail.
A typical criminal case takes many months to conclude. A good lawyer can often help convince a court to lower your bond so you dont have to stay in jail any longer than necessary.
Protect your rights!
Inform you of all your options
So that you can make intelligent choices about your case. You may think you are guilty, but being factually guilty and being legally proven guilty are not always the same thing. Only by hiring an experienced criminal defense lawyer can you know whether the prosecutor can prove his case against you.
First, your lawyer will review all of the evidence. He will analyze the facts and the law so that he can tell you whether the prosecutor has a legitimate case against you. He will put your case before the prosecutor in the best possible light.
If the case against you is strong, your attorney will help you to decide whether to seek a plea bargain or to go to trial. Only an experienced criminal defense attorney has the skills and knowledge to properly evaluate your case.
If trial is not your best option, your attorney will work with you to seek a plea that, if possible, minimizes jail or avoids a more serious conviction.
Finally, if you do go to trial, your attorney will marshal the facts for you and will argue to a jury that you are "Not Guilty" because there is a reasonable doubt in your case.
Q. Im falsely accused. Why, if Im innocent, do I still need a lawyer?
A. Just because you are innocent doesnt mean that you will not be convicted.
We see news stories daily about the wrongly convicted. Without aggressive legal representation, even the falsely accused can be convicted. The only way to protect yourself is to hire a knowledgeable and experienced trial lawyer to fight for your rights. When you are wrongly accused of a crime, you need a lawyers . . .
Thorough preparation: Assembling a Team for You.
A veteran trial lawyer will carefully review the law and the facts of your case to help you put on the best defense. Often, he will hire an investigator to interview the governments witnesses, find witnesses for you, and develop leads on new evidence. He will seek experts to review your case and to testify when appropriate.
The right attorney can help you win your trial by building a winning team for you.
A lawyer needs extensive trial experience to know the strengths and weaknesses of your case. Only an attorney who has been tested repeatedly in the courtroom can give you the advice you need to make critical decisions about your case.
When the prosecutor knows that your lawyer really means business and will "go to the mat" for you, he often is prepared to make more favorable deals.
Remember, only an experienced trial attorney can fully protect your rights and maximize your chances of being treated fairly.
Q. No charges have been filed against me yet, but Ive been told Im under "investigation". Do I need a lawyer?
A. It is a good idea to consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer
If the state or federal government is considering charging you with a crime, they have unlimited resources and power. Shouldnt you do everything possible to protect yourself?
The police do not represent your interests. Prosecutors usually lack favorable information about you. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can help supply this information to the government and can help address the imbalance of power that exists when it is you against the state or federal authorities.
Remember, it is sometimes harder to convince a prosecutor to dismiss
a case after it has been filed, than to strike early and prevent charges
from being filed.
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