Reliable legal counsel can mean the difference between facing life in prison versus 20 years in prison. Criminal defense attorneys are a valuable resource to anyone being incriminated. They ensure that your rights are protected. Criminal defense attorneys are able to negotiate the dismissal of charges, and if not, they can reduce your sentence through a plea bargain. But, when should you hire a criminal defense attorney?
If you are faced with legal trouble, the first thing you should say to the police is, “I would like to speak to my lawyer,” ideally, you should hire a criminal defense attorney during the investigatory stage of your impending arrest. If you are aware that you are being investigated, think you may have charges pressed against you, or are awaiting arrest, you should hire legal counsel as soon as you can. A criminal defense attorney will guide you in the criminal procedure process, ensuring that your case goes in your favor. Hiring an attorney will benefit you in the long run by ensuring that you don’t say or do anything self-incriminating and that the charges being pressed against you are legitimate.
Are you aware that you’re being investigated? Do you think that you may have charges pressed against you or that you may be arrested? Is someone you love facing legal trouble? If so, read on to find out when you should hire a criminal defense attorney.
Why Should I Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney?
If you are in trouble with the law, there are many reasons to hire a criminal defense attorney. Think of a criminal defense attorney as “the protector of your rights” they are the ones who know what questions police can’t ask you and what you shouldn’t say to avoid self-incrimination. A criminal defense attorney will ensure that none of your rights have been infringed upon by police malpractice. They will also make sure that the charges being pressed are just.
If you contact the police and want to question you, you will need a defense attorney with you. Never go into questioning or speak to the police without your lawyer present! This is an effortless way to give the police incriminating evidence, which can be detrimental to your case. Having a lawyer during questioning will prevent you from saying anything self-incriminating, giving you protection during questioning.
If you hire an attorney right after your arrest, they may be able to negotiate the dismissal of any formal charges before they are brought against you. This can be crucial because negotiation often happens before criminal charges are finalized. Hiring a lawyer as soon as possible could mean dismissing your charges or a lesser penalty, which both would work in your favor.
During the trial, it’s essential to have a back-up that knows the legal system’s ins and outs. A criminal defense attorney will be your professional representative, and they are the one who argues on your behalf. Criminal court hearings can often be upsetting to the person being charged. This means that if they were to argue on their own behalf, they could say things that would hurt their case. A defense attorney, however, will calmly argue and speak for you, minimizing the negative consequences.
Should I Hire a Defense Attorney Before I’m Arrested?
If you know that you are under investigation or are about to be charged with a crime, you should hire a lawyer as soon as possible. The investigation phase is a crucial step for police to create a case against you. However, an attorney’s advice can significantly impact how much guilt-proving evidence they can collect.
All criminal cases start as investigations. After that, the police either arrest you or hand their report to the State Attorney’s Office for pre-filing. During the pre-filing stage, decisions about charging you with a crime and the severity of your punishment if charged are made. It’s essential to have a criminal attorney during this phase because they can influence these decisions and fight to drop charges or reduce your sentencing.
Hire a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible! Hiring an attorney during your investigation can speed things up as well as prevent potential charges. Even if charges are inevitable, hiring an attorney before getting arrested will still be in your best interest. They may be able to help you greatly reduce your charges and navigate the confusing criminal justice system.
How Much Do Defense Attorneys Cost?
Criminal defense attorneys typically charge hourly for their services. Flat-fees do not account for the unpredictable factors and time put into criminal cases. Charging hourly ensures that the attorney is getting fair and dependable payment for the hours they put into a case.
Hourly rates are very different from lawyer to lawyer. How much they charge will depend on their ability, experience, and the needs of your case. Usually, a criminal defense lawyer will charge from $150 to $700 per hour. Hourly fees, however, quickly add up, and a legal bill can total over $10,000.
Most lawyers will also charge a retainer fee, a fee paid before they perform any services. A retainer fee allows for the lawyer to draw any funds needed for expenses as the case moves forward. Retainer fees are charged for a majority of cases that involve going to trial or a lawsuit.
Lawyer fees are a minimal price to pay for your freedom. It would be wise to hire a more experienced attorney whose more expensive than to skimp and hire an inexperienced cheap one. That couple thousand dollars is the difference between your freedom and you sitting behind bars. Even if you cannot afford to pay upfront, many lawyers and law firms offer payment plans so everyone can afford excellent legal counsel. Many lawyers even take “pro bono” cases where they will accept your case free of charge if you are in poverty or they take a great interest in your case.
Do I Need to Hire an Attorney?
If you choose not to hire your own defense attorney, you can use the Public Defender, whose government-provided services. You could also choose to represent yourself “pro se” or plead guilty. However, this may not be in your best interest if you are facing severe criminal charges. At the very least, you should hire a defense attorney to make sure that the charges brought against you are legitimate, given the facts of the case.
It’s important to remember that the criminal procedure process is very complicated and tough to navigate if you aren’t a professional. Defense lawyers know how to navigate the system and have a much higher chance of reducing your charges than you will if you attempt to defend yourself. Although hiring a lawyer seems like a cost you don’t want to pay, it’s worth it in the long run. Having a good defense can mean the difference between getting charged with a felony or a misdemeanor.
If you face a felony charge or criminal charges that could lead to a lengthy prison sentence, you must hire a defense attorney. Experienced defense attorneys can often get felony charges reduced to misdemeanors or prison sentences cut in half. Doing this would be near impossible without legal counsel and could mean the difference between you spending years in prison or not. Fighting criminal charges brought against you can be a drawn-out and emotional process. It’s not something you want to go through without support. Hiring an attorney ensures that you have representation that’s on your side. They will fight for your freedom more than anyone else.
Conclusion – When to Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer?
Criminal proceedings are confusing to most individuals. A criminal defense attorney is an expert in criminal law that will help you create a defense for any charges brought against you. They often find police misconduct that an average person wouldn’t know about, which could dismiss your charges altogether.
Although criminal attorneys can seem costly, it’s vital that you hire one as soon as you believe that you may be in legal trouble. By getting a head start in hiring a criminal defense attorney, you are proactive in ensuring that your case has the best outcome. Attempting to defend yourself without any legal background is unwise, where there are a host of great criminal defense attorneys who are eager to take your case. A passionate defense attorney will fight for you with all they got. They will use their extensive legal resources, knowledge, and skills to make sure that you walk away free.
If you are someone you know is considering hiring a criminal defense lawyer, we highly recommend this site, where you can get a free, no hassle consultation from a reputable attorney in your area.
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Kaila Ohsowski was born and raised right outside of Detroit, Michigan, as a young adult she decided to move to Chicago to pursue an education. She is now a student at Loyola University Chicago studying Pre-Law and Criminal Justice. She even received the Dean’s Scholarship upon entrance into Loyola for her outstanding academic performance. As an aspiring criminal defense attorney, she hopes to help those who are wrongfully accused within the criminal justice system. Kaila has always been an outstanding writer and has received praise for her writing skills from many of her instructors. In her free time, she loves to unwind with friends and family, and listen to music.