Facing criminal charges, especially serious ones that may end up in fines or jail time, will most likely end up in you having your day in court. Though self-representation can be very tempting, a criminal defense lawyer can help you navigate through the intricacies of the criminal justice system and even find you a way out of it.
Representing Yourself In Court
Self-representation can be a practical recourse when you’re facing a criminal charge and you believe that you have sufficient knowledge of the incident and the law and procedures involved, as well as enough experience with the legal system. With the wealth of resources online and those available in public libraries, it may be possible for you to understand the situation you’re in and have the confidence to present a suitable defense.
However, a ‘pro se’ or ‘pro per’ defense requires you to attend all hearings, meet deadlines, do paperwork, understand and speak legal language, and abide by rules of evidences and decorum in courts. Doing all these may seem practical on your part, but end up being more time-consuming and costly in the long run.
Hiring A Criminal Defense Lawyer
Enlisting a lawyer to represent you can be more advantageous. As opposed to your limited knowledge with court proceedings and experience in criminal cases, a criminal defense attorney not only has the expertise to handle your case but also offers the following benefits:
Provide an objective view of the case and penalties
Criminal defense attorneys are well versed in criminal law as a product of years of study as well as experience. Most even specialize with a specific kind of criminal case. Lawyers take time to do research and may use past cases as references to strengthen your defense. They analyze the prosecutor’s case and devise a strategy to turn the case in your favor. They’re also familiar with how a certain judge issues sentences and use this knowledge as an aid in negotiating for fines and prison sentences.
Defense attorneys can also give advice on the potential consequences of entering a plea, its bearing on immigration status as well as the probability of having a criminal record and conviction. Thus, a criminal justice lawyer serves as your guide and protector.
A criminal defense lawyer serves to represent you in the event that your case needs to be heard before a judge or jury. They’ll attend court hearings on your behalf and acts as a calm mediator when emotions run high in the courtroom. They interview and cross examine witnesses presented by the prosecution and present your case to sway the jury to pronounce a favorable verdict.
Reduce sentences through plea bargains and negotiation
Even before a charge is made against you, a criminal defense lawyer can lobby for its dismissal and allow you to maintain a clean criminal record. In the event that your case goes to trial, a defense attorney can enter into negotiations and save you from jail time in exchange for plea bargains and amenable fines.
Your chosen lawyer may also advise you to plead guilty in order to reduce your sentence. In the instance the court finds you guilty, your chosen lawyer is in the position to bargain for lesser jail time or recommend putting you into a rehabilitation program as an assurance that you will no longer commit the same charge in the future.
Have access to witnesses and experts
A criminal defense lawyer can make use of an extensive network to solicit support from experts to strengthen the merits of the case. They can also allay concerns of witnesses regarding their lives and security and encourage them to testify in your favor. In the courtroom, your defense attorney can examine witnesses and, through stringent questioning, expose loopholes in their testimony that can be used to your advantage.
Offer emotional support during trials
Court proceedings can be mentally and emotionally draining for clients especially when there are delays. Your criminal defense lawyer can help you keep your emotions in check and mentally prepare you for upcoming court appearances. They can also give you a realistic view of the case and prepare you for any eventualities that may occur along the way.
A Case for Legal Representation
Criminal cases of serious nature and consequences warrant the services of a capable criminal defense lawyer who is well versed with the ins and out of court, has access to an extensive network of experts, and is well-equipped with the experience of negotiating pleas and sentences. A defense lawyer is a far better option as enlisting one can spell the difference between living free or a lifetime behind bars.