A Lawyer Can Make All the Difference
Being charged with a crime is a traumatic, potentially life-altering experience. Most people never have any contact with the judicial system save for what they might see on the weekly crime drama on television. In real life, your case is not going to be resolved in a neat 48-minute episode with a dramatic “Perry Mason” moment in Court.
Criminal Trial Advocacy
Criminal Trial Advocacy is a specialized practice. Not every attorney CAN take a case to trial. Not every attorney WANTS to take your case to trial. If you are charged with a crime and face the prospect of prison, you MUST NOT WAIT to reach out and contact an experienced trial lawyer. The decisions made at the very beginning of your case will having lasting consequences down the road. Without an effective criminal defense advocate by your side, your case can take a devastating turn before you know it.
Use Your Rights When Arrested
When you are first arrested, you will likely be asked to sign a waiver of your Miranda rights and speak with a detective. DO NOT DO THIS. You have the right to remain silent so take advantage of it. You have the right to speak to a lawyer before answering ANY questions so you should MAKE SURE you contact a lawyer right away. Remember, ANYTHING you say can be used against you. The detectives are NOT YOUR FRIEND and have NO INTEREST in helping you.
Following your arrest and arraignment, where you enter a plea of NOT GUILTY, a critical phase of your case continues. Up to this point, whatever evidence the police say they have against you has not been turned over to you so you have no way to evaluate how strong the case may or may not be. An experienced criminal defense lawyer knows what to look for, what to ask for, and importantly, knows how to tell when the State’s allegations might be all bark and no bite. Discovery is your friend and a good criminal defense lawyer is invaluable to aide in your defense.
Take a Plea Deal?
The decision to take a plea has far-reaching consequences. Most criminal cases are resolved by the Defendant entering a plea in exchange for a reduced sentence. But how do you know if taking a plea is the right thing to do? A good criminal defense lawyer knows and you should make sure you have all the information you need to make this decision. Has your lawyer gone through all of the discovery and discussed potential defenses that might be raised at trial? Has your lawyer interviewed all the witnesses you think might help your defense? Can your lawyer seek to suppress certain physical evidence or statements?
Take a Case to Trial
If you decide to take your case to trial, recognize that the State bears the burden of proving every element of every crime charged beyond a reasonable doubt. An effective criminal defense lawyer, who has tried criminal cases before, is a master at his craft. The courtroom is his playing field. Don’t go to trial with just any lawyer. Choose an experienced, passionate, meticulous criminal defense lawyer because this CAN make all the difference.