Why You Need a Criminal Lawyer When Accused of a Crime
Being accused of a crime is a stressful and often frightening experience, regardless of your guilt or innocence and the severity of the act you’re being accused of. The temptation to give into your indignation at being accused of a crime and loudly assert your innocence to the police, prosecutor, etc. can be extremely strong. Most people want to believe that being factually innocent is defense enough, and that if they make themselves heard, the truth will come out and they’ll be exonerated. Unfortunately, that may not be the case. The average person simply isn’t prepared for a trip through the criminal justice system, and doesn’t know how to even begin mounting an effective defense at any level of the process.
A competent criminal defense attorney is your best friend when you’ve been accused of a crime. They have the experience and education to navigate the criminal justice system, and are likely to have existing relationships with the police, prosecutor’s office, and court personnel that may prove invaluable for obtaining a positive result in your case. A good attorney may be able to get the charges reduced or even dropped, invaluable when even a minor conviction can have profound consequences on your future prospects for employment and government assistance.
When you’ve been accused of a crime, it’s never too early to retain an attorney. The earlier in the process that your nyc criminal lawyer becomes involved, the better the result of your case is likely to be. The ideal time to involve an attorney is before anyone contacts you regarding the crime. If you suspect that you have been or may be about to be charged with or accused of a crime, you should seek legal representation immediately, even if you’re certain that you can resolve the situation on your own. It’s always far better to have an attorney and not need them than it is to need them and not have one.
You should never, under any circumstances, speak to the police without an attorney present to guard your interests. The police are experts at conducting investigations, and even if you’re absolutely confident that you’re innocent, the stress of the process may cause you to inadvertently incriminate yourself, or to exaggerate or slightly misrepresent facts in an overzealous attempt to emphasize your innocence. Even if you are completely, 100% confident that you have not committed a crime, it is absolutely imperative that you have legal representation to ensure that you’re able to convince the investigators in a way that both exonerates you and doesn’t open you up to further liability. A competent attorney may be able to get the charges dropped before you ever see the inside of a jail cell, whereas attempting to face the police on your own is likely to leave you incriminated in some way. Your attorney will also know how to limit your exposure during the interview/interrogation, preventing you from giving the police ‘free’ evidence that could come back to harm you, and leaving you in a much better position should the case go to trial.
In the event that you wind up charged with a crime, legal representation becomes even more vital. You don’t have the expertise to select a jury, conduct discovery, or any of the other procedures necessary to mount a competent defense. In all likelihood, you don’t even know what you’re entitled to, or what the prosecutor is and isn’t allowed to do. A lack of legal representation is likely to hurt you every step of the way, from the bail hearing to the possible negotiation of a plea bargain. A nyc criminal attorney representing your interests is more likely to successfully argue for lower bail, or even to have you released on your own recognizance, meaning that you’re far more likely to spend the duration of the trial sleeping in your own bed, instead of behind bars. Your attorney will also have the experience, expertise, and relationship with the prosecutor to negotiate a satisfactory plea deal and have your charges reduced.
It’s important to remember that a criminal accusation is, ultimately, you versus the government. If you have been officially contacted about a crime, the government either strongly suspects or is already convinced that you are guilty, and is preparing to bring the full weight of its resources and expertise down on you. You cannot fight them alone. A criminal defense attorney is your absolute best shot at beating the charges, and getting the justice that you deserve.