Whether you are guilty or not, having criminal charges leveled against you may pose a significant threat to your future life. With about 20,000 people or 1 percent of the US prison population being falsely accused, the need for a criminal lawyer becomes apparent. Even if you are wrongly accused and know that you are innocent, you will still have to convince the jury of the same. Unless you are depending on luck to get you through the trial, you need a competent criminal lawyer. Remember about 2 to 10% of the prison population may be innocent according to Chicago Tribune. Collecting statements from the police, posting your bail or even filing paperwork among other activities can be overwhelming. It is also not possible to do these things when you are already arrested. This is why you need a qualified criminal lawyer to improve your odds of being declared innocent. Hiring a lawyer is not an easy task and it is important to consider some key factors before making that decision. But first things first.
Why do you need a criminal lawyer?
When you are faced with a criminal charge, doing anything wrong might lead to serious consequences such as a higher sentence, higher charge on your record or even paying more fines. Moreover, fighting a court case often strains you and equally burdens your family and friends. Here are a couple of reasons why you should get a criminal lawyer as soon as possible.
Law is complicated
One of the main reasons why everyone gets a lawyer is because the law is complicated and this makes it dangerous. Tackling your case alone is like going through a maze only to find dead ends if you have no clue about the criminal justice system. Unless you are conversant with legal matters, the prosecution will use all available means to convict you of a crime even if you are innocent. In such cases, all you have to do is to hire a criminal lawyer to avoid self-incrimination. Criminal defense lawyers also know most of the legal loopholes that can help your case.
Lawyers reduce your costs
It is naive to imagine that by representing yourself, you can get to save loads of cash. Maybe you have some basic understanding of the law and decide to pass up the opportunity of hiring an attorney. However, some technical issues such as a missed deadline or failure to file a document may make you pay hefty fines. With the grave nature of criminal cases, it is important to ensure there is no room for error. The best way to do this is to get the services of a competent attorney who will not only save you money and time but will also protect your reputation.
Lawyers can get you a lenient sentence
The law is a complicated thing as highlighted above and sometimes you can win even if you lose your case. There are times or cases where the person accusing you may decide to fabricate evidence to incriminate you. If this happens to you, it may feel as if you have nothing left to do. This is where having a competent criminal lawyer near me can be of great importance. The lawyer can pull some strings for you or might even convince the jury to give you a lesser sentence.
It is not uncommon to find proof of your innocence at the last minute of your case. In such a case, the criminal lawyer can give the case a new direction and ensure that you get alternative sentencing. For example, you can be sentenced to a drug rehabilitation center, community service or work furlough program.
Lawyers can help you keep your job
People always lose their job when charged with a heinous crime such as being an accomplice to a murder. Facing a criminal charge is a scary affair and that may not be the best time to lose your job too. In such a case, having a reputable criminal lawyer by your side can be a plus. The lawyer can use his knowledge and experience to reduce the magnitude of the charges and help to make your case less severe. This will also help you avoid losing your job just because you got arrested over something that you may not even be guilty of.
Lawyers will help you go through police interviews
Confusion and shock may make you incriminate yourself and say the wrong things when being interviewed by the police. After all, being charged with the wrong you didn’t do is enough to flabbergast you. In such instances, having a criminal lawyer by your side can help you prevent self-incrimination. The lawyer will also outline some of the rights that you have as an arrested person. This will also help you address all the questions that the police will bombard you while trying to investigate the case. This is a great reason why you need a criminal lawyer to ensure that you do not go to jail just because of something you said during a police interview.
Criminal lawyer demands by cities
According to Google Trends, there has been some relatively high interest in criminal lawyers with regards to search trends in the last 12 months. In fact, a spike in searches was witnessed after December 2018, with the search for criminal lawyers increasing in 2019.
The highest search queries were recorded on June 2019. Virginia recorded the highest number of search queries at 100 while Texas followed closely at 96. Other notable sub-regions that recorded a high interest include Louisiana, New York, and New Jersey. The search query ‘criminal lawyers near me’ also features a lot, which means many people are looking for local lawyers. To get a local lawyer depending on your location, you can simply get one by searching your ZIP code below.
How to hire the best criminal lawyer
The nature of criminal cases makes it important that you find a credible and skilled lawyer to handle your case. There are a lot of things that you should put into consideration before making that important step of hiring a criminal attorney lawyer. Here are a couple of steps to take before making the decision.
1. Do it early
Some defendants decide to represent themselves in court. While it may not be the worst idea, there is a reason why it is always frowned upon by those in the legal industry. In fact, about eighty percent of criminal defendants in the criminal justice system is unable to pay for a lawyer. Under the law, the government is supposed to give you legal representation if you are already incarcerated. It is very rare to find a defendant that successfully represented themselves. Simply put, failing to get legal representation from a professional is a risky strategy that you should avoid if you want to reduce the chances of going to jail. Others get a lawyer when the case is already advanced and this makes it impossible to get a favorable verdict. Get a lawyer and do it early.
A criminal conviction can make life extremely hard for you. You will be unable to qualify for employment, housing or even education based on your record. Not only will you get a prison sentence but you will also lose your voting privileges or own firearms. Having a criminal record also means you will get harsher penalties for any other problem with the law you may have.
Review the cost
A good criminal attorney should be able to give you a financial estimate of the cost it will take to handle your case. Different costs that may arise during the case and it is only fair that you know in advance. For example, there may be legal fees required if you want your lawyer to negotiate for a plea deal with the prosecution. Similarly, you may be required to fork out more money if your case takes more time than usual.
Your lawyer should tell you the cost of the criminal trial and advice you on any payment agreements that you may have decided on. Many attorneys will charge you depending on different factors. These include their level of experience, nature of your charges, the jurisdiction of the charges, length of the case, the complexity of the matter and whether there is a need for any witnesses.
Do your research
Getting legal services may be a bit more different than getting other essential services. You can no longer depend on TV commercials or creative ads to influence the type of attorney that you will choose. With that being said, you need to do some research before making this important decision. You need a competent lawyer that is not only well-versed with trials but one who you feel comfortable with regardless of your criminal charge.
It is recommended that you do not engage investigators before you get a legal professional to represent you. Take time to weigh the qualifications and experience of your legal counsel. You may get a lawyer that has recently graduated but is highly knowledgeable on the matter in question. It is, however, worth noting that the experience of a person depends on the outcome of cases that they have represented. Does the lawyer’s cases always result in a good verdict? Do your research and you will never regret picking the wrong person.
Look for the qualities you desire
The qualities that you want in a criminal defense attorney is different to everyone and this is why you should choose a lawyer that has the qualities you desire. This is because it is important to choose someone that you are comfortable with to hold your hand during this challenging time. Do you want an attorney from a small or a large law firm? Remember, you can get an attorney that works in a large firm who then outsources your work to other individuals in the firm. You also have to decide if you want someone who is experienced or a novice that has time to work on your case. Do you want an expert in criminal law or you would rather go with a general lawyer? These are some of the important questions that you will have to ask yourself. Outlining the most important qualities that you want will help you choose the best criminal law attorney.
The reputation of a lawyer is a great way of assessing the skills and competence of the specific lawyer. A good reputation means that the lawyer is known for winning criminal cases. Other lawyers are known for their people skills and this may be a plus for the case. After all, you do not want to hire a lawyer that does not reply to your emails or return your calls.
Some lawyers are known for taking complex cases that need special skills while others take on high-profile cases. Try to find out which lawyer is known for the services you want. To find out more about an advocate, you can rely on publications, testimonials or even researching reviews.
Type of lawyer
One of the most important decisions you will make is to determine whether you will go with a public or private attorney. Private attorneys are known to be costly since a significant number of them have specialized into different spheres of law. Public defenders, on the other hand, are competent and knowledgeable in many areas of law. Most of them also have years of experience in their craft. If eligible, you can get a court-appointed lawyer or a public defender but if not you should go with a private attorney. It is also important to choose someone that has the time to represent you and will not be swarmed with too much work that they do a substandard job when representing you.
Looking for the best criminal lawyer is not an easy task. You may get a highly experienced lawyer or you can get a novice professional who does not fully understand their job. To ensure you do not fall into the latter, it is essential that you follow some of the tips outlined in the article. The reasons why you should get a good criminal lawyer is explored in the article with the complicated nature of the legal system prompting the need for a criminal lawyer. Steps to take and factors to consider are also discussed in the article. With this information, you can now make an informed decision when searching for a lawyer.