What Criminal Defense Attorneys Want You to Know
Being arrested and facing a criminal charge can be an overwhelming experience, especially when you’ve been advised of fines in a best-case scenario and jail time in a worst-case scenario. Whether you’ve been arrested for fraud, assault, domestic violence, or other serious criminal actions, you’re likely worried about the outcome and its impact on your life. While criminal charges can be scary, your local criminal defense attorney would want you to be aware of the following information:
You Aren’t Alone
You might be alone at your local police station after being arrested, but you don’t have to be alone for long. If you contacted a Somerset County criminal defense attorney after your arrest, you could enjoy peace of mind knowing that a criminal defense expert is holding your hand every step of the way.
Criminal defense lawyers can advise you of your rights, defend you to the best of their abilities, and negotiate with prosecutors on your behalf. They can also work hard to help you receive the best outcome, such as reduced charges, a plea deal, or even dropped charges. The legal system can be complicated, so having legal experts on your side to answer your questions and provide guidance can be invaluable.
It’s Important to Protect Your Rights
Small mistakes and minor actions after being arrested can sometimes have severe implications for your case as it proceeds. It’s important to be aware of the best actions to take and the mistakes to avoid to put yourself in the best position to receive a desirable outcome.
For example, most criminal defense attorneys would suggest that you remain quiet and calm when being arrested rather than fighting back and risk having further charges laid. They would also recommend not saying anything to the police without a lawyer present and requesting one immediately.
You might also be able to protect your rights as your case progresses by following judge-ordered conditions if granted bail and not talking about your case on social media or other public platforms.
Criminal Convictions Come With Severe Penalties
If you don’t think your crime is all that serious, you might be tempted to represent yourself and deal with the consequences as they come. However, even a petty offense can result in jail time and fines, depending on your state.
A petty disorderly persons offense might result in up to 30 days in jail with a $500 fine, while a disorderly persons offense can often see someone facing up to six months in prison with a $1,000 fine. If you’re facing more severe charges like first, second, third, or fourth-degree offenses, you can be at risk of multiple-year prison sentences with and without the possibility of parole.
These penalties can have severe repercussions for you and your loved ones. While you might not be able to avoid them, enlisting the services of a criminal defense attorney might put you in a better position to have your charges lessened or, in some cases, dropped.
Criminal Charges Can Have Long-Term Consequences
When you see that you’re only facing a minor penalty like a fine or up to 30 days in jail, you might be relieved that your punishment is completed within a matter of days. While paying a fine or serving jail time does indeed mark the end of your discipline, there can also be long-term consequences. A criminal conviction means you now have a criminal record, and this can sometimes have lasting repercussions, such as:
- Finding it more challenging to find a job
- Ruining your relationships with loved ones
- Losing your driver’s license
- Child custody implications
- Losing credit access
- Forfeiting your right to own a gun
Criminal Defense Attorneys Might Change Your Outcome
There are no guarantees that your chosen criminal defense attorney can change the outcome of your charges, especially when you’ve committed multiple serious crimes. However, they can take a number of different actions that might result in reduced or dropped charges and more desirable terms through a plea deal.
The best criminal defense attorneys will look for evidence weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, seek out evidence that might have been obtained illegally, and negotiate a plea deal to potentially receive the minimum penalty. If your case goes to trial, you can also rely on your chosen attorney to devise a thorough defense.
You Don’t Have to Pick the First Attorney You Find
After being arrested and facing criminal charges, you might be in a rush to find someone to guide you through the complex legal system. Time is of the essence, but don’t be in a hurry to hire the first lawyer you encounter. Instead, make your choice based on the following information:
Your future can be at stake when you’re facing criminal charges. Research each viable lawyer’s reputation before signing them on as your lawyer. Talk to friends and family members about their experiences with particular lawyers and read online reviews. The more positively people speak about a particular lawyer, the more confidence you might have in your decision to hire them.
While all lawyers need to start somewhere, having an experienced lawyer who has worked on many cases like yours can often provide the peace of mind you need. When you hire a reputable attorney who has worked with people facing similar charges, you can tap into their experience to benefit your own case. The most experienced lawyers also typically have many connections and experts they can call upon when needed.
Not all cases are straightforward, and you likely can’t base your hiring decision solely on how many times a successful criminal defense lawyer managed to get their clients’ charges dropped. However, you can look at a lawyer’s success rate regarding their ability to secure excellent plea deals and have charges minimized. Don’t be afraid to ask your chosen attorney for information on past successful cases and what they did to help their clients enjoy the best possible outcomes.
Being arrested and charged with a crime can be scary, especially if you think you have to navigate the legal system on your own. However, now that you know you can get help from an experienced criminal defense attorney, you might feel confident about how your case progresses.