Do I Need a Criminal Defense Lawyer?
My Criminal Charges Seem so Minor… Do I Even Need a Lawyer?
Have you always been told to hire a criminal defense attorney when facing legal trouble? Then you find yourself in a little trouble and you think, “why bother if the charges are minuscule?”
Isn’t it worth just taking a small criminal conviction of either a violation or misdemeanor and getting probation rather than spending money and retaining an attorney? This post will explain why criminal defense attorneys can be priceless, even when the charges they are handling do not seem that serious.
Benefits of Retaining a Criminal Defense Attorney
By retaining a Criminal Defense Attorney, you are likely to become the beneficiary of a professional who can:
- negotiate deals on your behalf with prosecutors
- explore diversionary programs that are applicable and possibly helpful to you
- give you a sense of reality regarding your situation
- explain to you the consequences of pleading guilty or not guilty
- gather information from witnesses on the case
- form the strongest legal defense possible for you at trial
- make important mitigation arguments on your behalf at any potential sentencing hearing.
Issues With Self-Representation
While it is perfectly legal to represent yourself in a criminal matter, it is generally not a wise decision. You may be able to define the terms and elements that are applicable to your case through legal research. However, it is impossible for a layperson to represent himself/herself in court better than an experienced and successful criminal defense attorney would.
Unlike a layperson, a criminal attorney will have most likely dealt with matters exactly like (or at least similar to) yours. At a minimum, the attorney will:
- have years of knowledge of courtroom procedures
- know how to interpret legal definitions and elements that apply to you
- understand diversion eligibility
- know how to file motions
- know how to challenge and suppress evidence that works against you
- have working relationships with prosecutors
- other qualities and skills that will make them a better defender of your freedom
In the long run, not having an attorney may cost you either immediately or later in life. If your case was not defended well and does not come out in your favor, then you could have convictions on your criminal record and, in some instances, end up spending some time in jail.
An attorney by your side will understand and explain the potential consequences of a conviction. He/she will know whether a diversionary program or alternative disposition exists that will keep you out of jail, off probation, or perhaps even conviction free.
Can I Afford an Attorney?
One final misconception is the price of private criminal attorneys. Although they are not free, their representation for a misdemeanor charge is far cheaper than that of a mainstream felony you would see in a headliner case.
Every case has different components and an amount of time that is needed, therefore they are all priced differently. It does not hurt to consult with a criminal attorney if to find out the price he/she would charge to represent you. After all, hiring an attorney could be the difference between a clean and tainted record that every future employer will be able to see.
We can help you
Want to consult a private criminal defense attorney to find out a price and your realistic chances of winning? Attorney William J. Whewell was recently recognized as one of the top 10 criminal defense attorneys under 40 in Connecticut by the National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys.