If you have been arrested or believe you may be arrested for a crime, getting a criminal defense lawyer is your first and best strategy in defending yourself. Criminal defense lawyers have the knowledge and experience to help you through this stressful ordeal. Check out these five ways a criminal defense lawyer can help you.
They Protect Your Rights
When you are questioned by the police or arrested, what are your rights? Just about everyone knows the first line of the Miranda Rights: "You have the right to remain silent." However, do you know all your rights when being investigated for a crime? Unless you have a background in law, you probably don't, but a criminal defense attorney does.
When you are a suspect in a crime, the police aren't your friend. They are on a mission to discover the truth. If they don't buy your story, and you don't have a lawyer, you're on your own against people who do understand the laws. The only one who will really be on your side is your attorney.
They Advise You
One of the best ways an attorney protects your rights is by advising you. If you're innocent, you may want to tell the police everything to help clear up the mess. Unfortunately, even if you're innocent, you may say something that actually incriminates you. A question that seems completely harmless to you may carry a lot of weight behind it.
If you are guilty, your lawyer can advise whether it would be better to go to trial or accept a plea bargain. If a plea bargain is a better option, they can negotiate with the prosecutor to get a better deal.
They Educate You on What to Expect
You probably don't know what to expect during the entire process. This doesn't mean they give you general information on what to expect at a trial. Anyone can find that information themselves. Your lawyer understands the relationship between your specific case and related laws. An attorney also knows about the other people involved in the case, such as prosecutors and the judge. A skilled attorney can counsel you about what laws are going to come into play, what to expect from that specific judge and what tricks the prosecutor is likely to try.
They Help Choose a Defense Strategy
One of the most important things your lawyer will do is help you choose a defense strategy. There are a lot of different defense strategies, but most fit into three categories: denial, admission and confession. Denial is when you completely deny the crime. Admission is when you admit that some of the facts are true, but you didn't actually perform the crime. For example, you admit to being in someone's house, but you didn't steal the item in question. Last, you can confess to the crime. Even if you confess, however, there may be other factors that affect your sentence, such as pleading insanity.
They Investigate the Case
Another way criminal defense attorneys help you during your trial is by conducting their own investigation on what happened. They don't just take the evidence and documents provided by the police and prosecutors at face value. They speak with witnesses themselves to hear the full story. A lot of prosecution witnesses will be more willing to speak with a defense lawyer over a defendant who is trying to defend themselves. Defense lawyers will also listen to your side and follow other leads to try and find additional information that can prove your innocence.
If you've been arrested, or you think you might be arrested for a crime, don't do it alone. You need an ally, and a criminal defense attorney is your best bet. For more information about criminal defense, contact a lawyer in your area today.