If you are charged with a crime or being investigated for a crime, the experience can be confusing and frightening. This is why it is important for you to have the help of a criminal solicitor to defend you during your case.
Many people are not sure when they should get a solicitor involved in the process. If you plan on disputing the criminal charges that have been filed against you, an experienced criminal solicitor is critical to you winning your case.
Why is a Criminal Solicitor Important?
A complicated body of legislation makes up criminal law. Serious punishment can result from the failure to understand the charges that have been filed against you and the rights that you have as a defendant. This is especially true if you are charged with a crime where you face a sentence of one year or more in prison. A criminal solicitor understands all of the subtle nuances of criminal law. He or she can do several things to help you even before your trial gets underway. For example, a criminal solicitor can:
- Tell you the advantages and disadvantages of a guilty plea
- Talk to you about the pros and cons of going to trial and examine the strengths and weaknesses of your case
- Negotiate with prosecutors for a plea bargain
- Argue in favor of lowering your bail
- In situations where police claim that they have probably cause, a solicitor can challenge the validity of your arrest.
When Should You Hire a Solicitor?
In order for you to understand why you need a criminal solicitor, you need to understand the criminal justice process. The investigation is the first stage. This can be as complicated as the collection of forensic evidence at a crime scene, or as simple as an officer watching a car driving too fast on a road.
There are many times, such as the example involving the speeding car, when a person does not have the necessary time to call a solicitor while the investigation is going on. However, if you are being investigated for a crime, it would be in your best interests to hire a criminal solicitor in preparation for your possible arrest.
Arrest is the second part of the criminal justice process. However, just because you have been arrested, it does not mean formal criminal charges have been filed against you. There are several conditions under which an arrest can be made. One of these is called probable cause. This is a reasonable suspicion that you are responsible for committing a crime. If you are planning to challenge that the police did not have probable cause to arrest you, this is the time when you need to immediately hire a criminal solicitor to help in your defense.
Following your arrest, you will be formally arraigned. An arraignment is when formal charges are presented against you in open court. You will want to have a solicitor in your employ by the time you are arraigned. You will enter a plea of guilty or not guilty during your arraignment. At this point, your solicitor should have already discussed with you the strategy that he or she will use during your case. A plea bargain can also be negotiated during this stage, if you and your solicitor think it is too risky to go to trial.
Criminal Solicitor Hiring Tips
The sooner you hire a defense solicitor, the better chance you have of winning your case. It is important for you to do some research and make sure that the solicitor you hire has experience defending people for the same crime that you are accused of committing. For example, a solicitor who primarily defends people accused of theft would not be a good choice to defend you on an assault charge.