Why Do You Need a Criminal Defense Attorney? – Being Charged With a Crime is Serious Stuff
Below are five reasons to hire a criminal defense attorney if you have been charged with a crime. Now there are so many reasons why a criminal defense attorney can be helpful, but these are the most important.
1) You need an advocate.
Innocent until proven guilty? While that is the principle that our criminal defense system was founded upon, innocent is in the eye of the beholder. Of course, in order to be found guilty, the jury (or judge) needs to find that you committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. But you need someone to continuously remind those who are trying to punish you of that fact. You need someone in your corner who will put all of their resources to defend your rights. That includes your right to a competent defense, right to a speedy trial, right not to incriminate yourself, right to confront witnesses against you, right to a jury trial in certain cases, and the list goes on. The important thing is that you have someone there for you representing you and your interests. That is what a criminal defense attorney can do.
2) You don’t know everything.
With the advent of the internet, and quick access to a lot of information, people believe they can adequately defend themselves. There is a wealth of resources out there, both on the internet and in our libraries. Unfortunately, none of them are a substitute for real life every day experiences. Criminal defense attorneys are in the courtroom going through the process nearly every day. They see these things on a daily basis. They know the tricks of the trade. They know the local procedure. They know the variations between jurisdictions. Most importantly, they know the law. Why take the chance of getting because you failed to follow some nuance when a criminal defense attorney can help you?
3) Laws are not simple.
Every crime has different elements, and every statute contains “legalese” that may be difficult to non-lawyer, seeing it for the first time, to fully comprehend. Additionally, most statutes refer to other statutes, which contain even more intricate language. Further, there are procedures that must be followed regardless of the law or the crime alleged. Finally, there is case law that helps interpret the law. How can you possibly learn all of the laws, procedure, and case law if you have never even been in a courtroom before? You can’t, which is yet another reason for a criminal defense attorney.
Too many defendants believe they can saunter into the courtroom and defend themselves. After all, they see it on television and in the movies all the time. It looks so easy. Opening statement, examine witnesses, compelling closing argument – not guilty. Unfortunately, it rarely works that way in real life. You need someone who knows the intricacies of the crimes involved and of the courtroom.
4) Criminal cases move fast.
A criminal case moves very quickly. There are certain things that must be done by the defense within certain time limits. There are certain things that must be done by the prosecution within certain time limits. Without knowledge of when motions must be filed, discovery must be requested and completed, witnesses and exhibits must be identified, you could make a critical mistake. A criminal defense attorney can help.
5) Your life may depend on it.
Literally, your life may depend on your attorney. Though not always in the “facing capital punishment” kind of way, a conviction could mean a substantial jail sentence. It could mean other things too, such as a hefty fine or the loss of your driving privileges. Why take the chance with your life?
The most important thing to take from this article is that defending yourself is not smart. You need to do the research, interview a criminal defense attorney, and hire him or her if you feel comfortable. If not, research someone else. Just make sure you get it right.