Anyone who has ever been faced with criminal charges understands it can be a stressful time. It may not be clear what to do next, how to fight the charges, reduce a penalty or complete a dismissal, if possible – this is what criminal defense attorneys do for their clients.
While it is true that you are permitted to represent yourself, most people will elect to work with a defense attorney to strengthen their case and represent their side of the story in court. Here’s what you need to know about what a criminal defense attorney can do for your case.
What Criminal Defense Attorneys Do
Criminal defense attorneys represent their clients in court so the clients themselves do not have to do all the research, filing and casework defending themselves. Defense attorneys specifically represent the person being charged with a crime. They will build a case on your behalf, though your odds of success are much higher if you proactively cooperate with them to gather and put together evidence and give an honest account of what happened.
When it is time to go to court, the defense attorney will speak for you unless you are called to be a witness. Sometimes, you do not even have to go to court at all-your attorney will simply go in your place. They present the evidence in a compelling way to try to have your case dismissed or, if that is not possible, reduce the severity of any punishments, where possible. This might mean lower fines, less jail time or alternative penalties, like enrolling in a safe driving course instead of losing your license.
Why Choose an Attorney When You Can Represent Yourself
One of the first questions that people usually ask when they learn that they need to go to court is, “Do I need an attorney?” It is true that you are allowed to represent yourself; an attorney is not required in order for you to go into the courtroom and see the case through to the end. However, attorneys can almost always achieve better results than you can on your own. The reasons for this have to do with their experience.
Defense attorneys are versed in the technical knowledge required to identify critical weaknesses (and strengths) in your case and leverage them accordingly. They also often know the people with whom they will be working: judges, prosecutors and more. By knowing these people personally, an attorney can draft an argument that will appeal to those specific people’;s sentimentalities and avoid arguments that will have little effect. Simple things like knowing how to present a case gradually and building a narrative are critical for success in criminal defense, and these are skills that the layperson has rarely developed.
Choosing the Right Criminal Defense Attorney for Your Case
If you decide that hiring a criminal defense attorney is the right move for your case, your next concern will be picking the attorney with whom you want to work. Making this choice should only be done after careful consideration. Make sure to think about:
- Their experience – Attorneys with years of experience will not only tend to create more comprehensive and compelling arguments, but they will also be more likely to have and understand court dynamics, such as with the local judge.
- Their niche – Not all attorneys work in all fields. It is best to select a defense attorney who has experience in the specific type of charge that you are facing. Some attorneys, for example, spend much of their time fighting speeding tickets-which is great for you if you have been charged with speeding, but not so much if you are facing an armed robbery allegation.
- Their fee structure – You will need to plan for how to afford your attorney, and firms work in a variety of ways. Understand ahead of time whether your attorney charges hourly, a flat fee for a specific type of service or even on contingency. This way, you will not be surprised later.
Trust the Professionals to Help You Present a Compelling Case
Facing a looming court date is no easy task, but it can be made a lot less stressful with the help of a criminal defense attorney. No matter what type of charge you are trying to contest, a skilled lawyer can help you to build a case and advocate on your behalf in court. The attorneys at The Law Offices of Kermit A. Monge would be happy to help you understand your options and prepare for your court date. Reach out to learn more or to schedule a consultation to get started.