No one wants to face criminal charges, whether the crime that they are accused of is a misdemeanor or a felony criminal offense. Criminal convictions carry penalties that can mean spending many years in prison, paying substantial fines, and other penalties. Criminal convictions often lead to life-changing results for a person. Most people realize that it is likely never a good idea to represent themselves in court, so they consider whether to trust a court-appointed attorney or whether to hire a private criminal defense attorney.
Are you or a loved one facing criminal charges? Do you have concerns about having a qualified criminal defense attorney that will fight for you and provide aggressive representation to help you receive the best possible outcome in your case? Consider an attorney who is skilled in various areas of criminal law, and who advocates for their client at every step of the way throughout their criminal case. An individual who is accused of a crime is likely to have questions about the best lawyer to represent them, including questions related to the benefits of hiring a private criminal justice defense lawyer.
What Steps Should I Take After Being Accused of a Crime?
Have you or a loved one been charged with a crime? Facing criminal charges for a misdemeanor or a felony may be stressful, scary and overwhelming for many individuals.
People who do not have a lengthy criminal record, who do not know how the criminal justice system works, or who have never been arrested before likely feel more fearful than some others who do have a previous criminal history. That does not mean that a person who has a prior criminal record does not feel fearful when they are charged with a new crime. They may, in fact, feel more fearful, since repeated offenses or committing serious crimes often carries stiffer penalties, compared to being charged with a less serious crime or being charged with a crime for the first time.
Some court-appointed criminal defense attorneys may not see their clients until they go to court or they may see them once shortly before a court appearance. The individual who faces criminal charges may not know what to do or what not to do, which may lead to potentially hurting their case. Hire a private criminal defense attorney who knows how to advise you even before you go to court. Some steps that a private criminal defense attorney may advise you to take, whether you are in jail until your court appearance or whether you are residing at home while awaiting your court date include:
Do not speak to any officer of the court about your case except for your own attorney
Do not discuss your case or make statements related to the crime to any inmate
Avoid discussing details of your case or the crimes that you have been accused of with any co-defendants or their attorneys
Let your attorney know as soon as possible if anyone approaches you about discussing your case
The most important step to take before you follow these steps is to hire your own attorney. Do you want an experienced criminal defense attorney that you can contact when you need to speak to them, who takes time to help you understand the charges against you and who advises you of your options? Do you want an attorney who may have several other cases that they want to quickly dispose of so that they can move on to the next case or do you want an attorney who spends the time building your case and to represent you throughout the case ?
Consider the benefits of hiring a private criminal defense attorney over other available options so that you may increase the chances of winning your criminal case, or to reach the best possible outcome without having to undergo life-altering consequences of a conviction.
Benefits of Hiring a Private Criminal Defense Attorney
No one wants to face criminal charges, even if the charges are for misdemeanor crimes such as criminal trespassing, assault and battery, shoplifting, misdemeanor drug offenses or fraud. One mistake that some people charged with misdemeanors may make is assuming that there are no serious consequences for these types of crimes. The truth is that a person charged with a misdemeanor potentially faces several months in jail, a substantial fine and other penalties.
Hiring an experienced attorney that represents clients who are charged with misdemeanor crimes offers an excellent opportunity for a person to fight the charges, to have the charges dismissed or reduced, and to avoid having repeated misdemeanors classified as felony offenses.
A person charged with felony criminal offenses faces a lengthy prison sentence, up to and including life imprisonment for some offenses. A felony conviction can also lead to a punishment of paying high fines or restitution. A felony conviction and often an allegation of a felony offense can affect your life for many years. This fact can have a serious effect on your reputation, your ability to find a job, to rent an apartment or purchase a home and can have other long-lasting, devastating effects on your livelihood.
Hiring a private criminal defense attorney provides you with the opportunity to feel that you have the best representation possible and the satisfaction of knowing that someone is advocating for you. The Criminal Justice Standards for the Defense Function, published by the American Bar Association (ABA), explains that attorneys have a duty to communicate with their clients and to keep them advised of any developments in their case and to maintain a duty of confidentiality.
The standards also indicate that attorneys have a duty to “act with diligence and promptness” when representing each client, and should “avoid unnecessary delay” in the disposition of their cases. The attorneys must not forsake their duties in a manner that involves acting in haste, which may result in compromising the quality of legal representation. When you trust an attorney who has experience and skill in a variety of areas of criminal law, you likely have the benefit of having an attorney that will provide the ideal representation that you need for your case.
Some other benefits of hiring a private criminal defense attorney include:
They know how to assess the facts of the case and to develop a case strategy
A private criminal defense lawyer has the knowledge to file the appropriate forms, motions and other paperwork
The private criminal defense attorney takes the time to thoroughly interview witnesses
A private criminal defense lawyer knows how to navigate the legal system to provide you with the best legal representation
The private criminal defense attorney states their fees upfront and does not present you with unexpected surprises of additional fees
There are other benefits of hiring a private attorney to represent you. The benefits may vary according to your specific criminal charges and how you and your attorney decide to proceed with your case.
How Do I Find the Best Private Criminal Defense Lawyer for my Needs?
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) lists several tips for hiring the right attorney. Knowing how to find the best attorney for your needs is especially important when you are charged with a crime.
One of the first steps to take when searching for the best attorney is to learn if the attorney has experience with your type of case. Some private criminal justice lawyers may concentrate only on certain types of cases.
Consider the importance of hiring a private attorney who has experience representing clients in a variety of criminal cases. This is especially important if you face more than one criminal offense, if you have a prior criminal record, or if you are charged with a serious crime such as aggravated battery, gun crimes, violent offenses, felony drug-related crimes or murder.
Interview the private criminal defense attorney. You have the right to determine who is the best attorney for your needs by asking questions about the attorney’s experience, how they view your possible outcomes and how they will work to get to the outcome that you want in your case.
Ask the attorney what they need from you. How will the attorney keep you updated throughout the duration of the case? How will the private criminal defense attorney represent you in court? Make sure that the attorney has the legal knowledge, experience and expertise to provide the best possible defense in order to reach the best possible outcome.
You can find a private criminal defense attorney who provides the best possible legal defense and who also provides the emotional support that you need during this difficult time while you fight to reach a favorable outcome, whether it is dismissal of the charges, a reduction in the charges, or the defense that you need when you go to court. Contact the legal expert who can provide you with the best legal representation as a private criminal defense attorney, who will help you regain your standing in the community and will help you return to your normal lifestyle without fear of facing serious criminal charges.