The short answer to this question is that if you are facing criminal charges, you need to hire a criminal defense attorney. You don’t want to face a judge and prosecutor without one. But, understandably, you might be hesitant about the cost of a lawyer so you’re wondering if you really need one, especially if you think you have a strong case and that the prosecutor doesn’t have any proof that you committed a crime. So, here’s how to know for sure whether or not you need an attorney.
You Don’t Have Legal Experience
While you have the right to represent yourself in court, it’s usually a bad idea. This is because you probably don’t have the legal experience to go up against a prosecuting attorney who has been arguing against accused people for years. Arguing a criminal case is not something you can learn overnight from the internet or even by taking a few classes that promise to keep you from getting convicted. The hard truth is that the legal system is challenging even for experienced criminal defense attorneys. You simply can’t learn enough to adequately represent yourself before your trial date.
This is Your First Criminal (Alleged) Offense
If this is the first time you’ve been accused of a crime, you could be in for a harsh sentence if the jury or judge finds you guilty. The courts often come down hard on first time offenders with the hopes of deterring them from committing future crimes. But, an experienced criminal defense lawyer will do everything possible to make sure that doesn’t happen by establishing a defense that mitigates your crime. Essentially, there are reasons why you did what you did and sometimes those reasons can counteract the actual crime a bit.
You Aren’t Able to Control Your Emotions
When you’re appearing in court in front of a judge and jury, you have to be professional and in control of your emotions at all times. This is extremely difficult to do when you’ve been charged with a crime and you’re facing prison time and hefty fines. You may be tempted to interrupt the prosecutor to tell your side of the story, but you can’t do that until it’s your turn and even then, you need to be careful about what you do say. Hiring an attorney will ensure you are able to present your best case to the court without emotional outbursts or incriminating statements.
Your Crime Wasn’t Intentional
Sometimes, you can commit a crime without meaning to. Accidents happen and unfortunately, they can be criminal at times. For instance, if you’re driving a car and you accidentally hit a person in the crosswalk, you’ve committed a crime without intention. You need an attorney who can present your case in the best light possible to the jurors to make them understand you didn’t intend to hurt anyone. Rest assured, the prosecutor is going to try to show intent and you need someone to fight back on your behalf.
Again, it’s far better to have a criminal defense lawyer by your side no matter what criminal offense you’ve been charged with or how strong the prosecutor’s case is against you than it is to try to represent yourself. Don’t leave your future to chance. Hire someone with experience to tell your story
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