While most people are aware of their right to hire a criminal attorney when facing criminal charges, far too many people question whether or not they should actually choose to exercise this right. If you have found yourself asking this same question, you should know that it is always in your best interest to hire a criminal attorney even if you are simply the target of a criminal investigation and have not yet been formally charged. This is because the process of investigating and prosecuting a criminal case is heavily regulated by law. If you do not have a working expertise regarding these laws, you will require the services of a criminal attorney to ensure that your rights are protected throughout the entire legal process. Below you can learn more about how a criminal attorney can help you through each step of this process.
Before You Are Charged
Before you are formally charged with a crime a criminal attorney can help to protect your rights by ensuring that law enforcement has to follow all protocol when compiling evidence against you. An attorney will also be able to advise you regarding when it is in your best interest to cooperate with law enforcement and when it is best to refuse to answer questions. An attorney may also be able to gain access to evidence that you are not given access to if you choose to represent yourself. This can help you to know how likely it is that you will be officially charged.
If You Are Charged
In the event that you are actually charged, an attorney may be able to arrange for your surrender to law enforcement. This will allow you to avoid the stigma and inconvenience that comes with being arrested at your home or job. If you are eligible for bail, your attorney will also be able to help you to arrange for a bail bond before you surrender so that you can avoid spending any time in jail.
Going To Trial
Your attorney will also be able to help you determine if it is in your best interest to go to trial or accept a plea deal based on the evidence against you. If you choose to go to trial, your attorney will be able to help you mount a defense and make important decisions such as whether you wish to opt for a bench trial or a jury trial.
If you are convicted at trial or ultimately choose to take a plea deal you will also need to deal with the issue of sentencing. During this phase of the process, your attorney can help you to try and secure the least severe sentence possible. Your attorney may also be able to petition the court for special sentencing considerations such as having you placed in a specific facility if you must do any time in jail.
For more information, contact a local criminal lawyer today.