The True Benefit Of A Criminal Defense Lawyer

The True Benefit Of A Criminal Defense Lawyer

Nobody likes hiring a lawyer.  This seems particularly true when it comes to criminal defense lawyers. People often say, “Well, I did it – I’m guilty.  What do I need a lawyer for?” or “I didn’t do anything wrong and I don’t need a lawyer because I know the truth will come out in the end.”  While it’s true that sometimes very minor cases can be handled by people representing themselves, in most situations a good criminal defense attorney really is an essential ally.  Here are five things a good criminal defense attorney can offer their clients as explained by a criminal defense lawyer.

Legal Expertise

The first and most obvious advantage a good defense lawyer provides is the ability and expertise to analyze legal issues in your case.  The average person has no way to know if the police acted lawfully in investigating their case or arresting them.  While there is a lot of information available online, it’s almost impossible for a person who hasn’t been trained as a lawyer to know how that information might apply to their case.  A good criminal defense attorney has a thorough understanding of constitutional rights and statutory law and can use that knowledge to assess your case to make sure your rights weren’t violated.

Knowledge Of Appropriate Outcomes

According to Archambault Criminal Defense, one of the biggest hurdles a self-represented criminal defendant faces is that they often don’t know what a good outcome in their case is.  For instance, if you go to court and the prosecutor tells you that they’ll agree to no jail time if you plead guilty, how do you know if that’s a good deal?  Most people have no way of knowing what outcome other cases, similar to their own, usually receive.  Being sentenced to probation may sound like a good outcome, but what if most other similar cases usually receive a better deal that keeps the offense off their record altogether?  An experienced defense attorney will be familiar with typical outcomes in different types of cases and can help you understand whether the deal that is being offered to you is truly fair or not.

Collateral Consequences

Being accused of a crime can be a life-changing event. The first thing that comes to mind for many people is the possibility of jail time. But even in cases where jail can be avoided, a criminal conviction can have very serious consequences. A criminal record can impact your ability to drive a car, attend school, obtain housing or employment, your eligibility to vote, hold office, or possess firearms, or even your immigration status for non-citizens. A good criminal defense attorney is familiar with these collateral consequences of a criminal conviction, and can help you anticipate, understand, and mitigate or sometimes even avoid them altogether.

Familiarity With Prosecutors And Judges

For most people, going to court is entering the great unknown. You have no idea what to expect from the judge or prosecutor. The reality is that both judges and prosecutors have their own opinions and personalities, and this can impact your case.  For instance, you probably have no way of knowing whether the judge you have is one who sentences certain types of cases more harshly than most other judges, or if your prosecutor tends to be more strict about certain offenses.  An experienced defense attorney will know these things and can use them to help you. If you’re considering pleading guilty, your attorney may have insight into how the judge is likely to sentence you.  In bigger cities, it’s not uncommon to have a different judge on your case every time you go to court.  If your attorney knows that you’re going to have a particularly harsh judge on a given day, you may want to consider asking for a new court date in hopes of getting a more lenient judge.  This type of insight can sometimes have a major impact on the results in your case.

Emotional Support

This last one may seem minor, but to many people it is a huge benefit.  Walking into a courtroom, you’ll find yourself surrounded by people who know more about the process than you do, who have more power and authority than you do, and who are most definitely not on your side.  It can be an overwhelmingly scary and lonely feeling.  Having an attorney by your side can go a long ways towards relieving some of this anxiety.  The very best criminal defense attorneys are skilled not only in law but also in being a compassionate and friendly ally during a very difficult time.

Hiring a criminal defense attorney obviously means having the assistance of someone who knows the law.  But a truly great lawyer can provide several other benefits as well.  Everyone has the right to represent themselves if they want to, but it’s rarely a good idea.  In the worst of cases the results can be truly devastating. If you are facing criminal charges, reach out to a lawyer near you for help.

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