Whether you have been arrested for a felony or only charged with a minor offense, your first step towards freedom is to secure an experienced defense attorney to advise you in your trying time.
Consulting an experienced lawyer immediately after your arrest can make an enormous difference in the outcome of your case. The criminal justice system is too complex to be successfully navigated by someone without legal training. A good criminal lawyer with years of experience defending cases like yours can make these complexities work in your favor.
A good lawyer can help you decide whether to plead guilty or take your case to trial. Initially, you may see pleading guilty as the quickest way to get out of the legal system. This option may appear very attractive when you are confronted by a prosecutor describing the harsh punishments that you could receive if found guilty at trial for a crime that you may believe you have committed. The advice of an experienced attorney is indispensable at this point, because the repercussions of a guilty plea can reach far into the future, saddling you with a permanent criminal record that will make many employers reticent to hire you.
If you decide to plead guilty, a good defense attorney with a professional relationship with the prosecutor handling your case can make the difference between a favorable sentence and a long time behind bars. Your lawyer may even be able to secure a sentence that will eventually be removed from your record, an impossible feat without proper legal representation.
For most defendants, the courtroom is a nerve-wracking place. Not so for the defense attorney, who spends much of his time before a judge and jury. Your lawyer can use his experience in this area to prepare you both for the questions you will be asked and for the emotions that may overwhelm you at trial. Knowing that you have a professional advocate on your side can relieve much of the anxiety and uncertainty that comes from a trial.
At trial, the burden of proving your guilt falls on the prosecution. Even if you know that you have committed a crime, an experienced lawyer can often prevent the prosecution from convincing the jury of your guilt, especially if you have only been charged with a minor crime.
If you are convicted at trial, a defense attorney who is familiar with local sentencing procedures can convince the judge to reduce your sentence or to convert jail time to community service or probation.
The stress of arrest, the complexity of the legal system, and the severe consequences of a criminal record make securing proper legal representation in your criminal case a necessity.