This articles by Nima Haddadi, a top rated Los Angeles DUI Lawyer. If you have been charged with a crime, do you need a criminal lawyer to represent you? In almost all cases, the answer to that question is yes. In fact, it may be a good idea to get a lawyer before being charged if you are being treated as a suspect or person of interest in a case. Let’s take a look at why having legal representation is in your best interest if you have been charged with a crime or are being investigated.
Your Lawyer Will Help You During Questioning
In an effort to build a case against you, police detectives or other officials may try to question you. Having an attorney present during such questioning ensures that whoever is questioning you follows the law and respects your rights. Remember, anything that you say can and likely will be used against you in a court of law. Therefore, having a lawyer can help you walk the line between being cooperative and incriminating yourself.
Your Lawyer May Try to Negotiate a Plea on Your Behalf
Plea bargains are fairly common as they allow prosecutors to obtain a conviction in a case without the time and expense of a trial. This allows them to devote their time and resources to serious cases that involve particularly dangerous people. A plea bargain may also be reached if there isn’t enough evidence to guarantee a conviction or because the prosecutor would rather give you a lenient sentence in exchange for information about other criminals.
If you reach a plea agreement in your case, you could have one or more charges reduced or dropped entirely. This may allow you to avoid jail or prison time in lieu of a fine or community service. You may also avoid jail time in exchange for probation or a suspended sentence. It is important to note that you are not required to accept a plea deal if you don’t want to.
Legal Counsel May Hire Expert Witnesses
An expert witness is someone who is qualified to interpret the evidence and explain his or her findings to a jury. While this person may not directly represent your best interest, an expert witness is usually called upon to offer a favorable explanation of the events the led to your charges.
For instance, the witness may testify that bullet fragments or shell casings at the scene suggest that you acted in self-defense when you shot your assailant. Ideally, this person’s testimony will be enough to create doubt in the minds of the jurors, which should lead to an acquittal in your case.
Your Legal Team May Cross-Examine Witnesses
When the prosecution calls a witness to the stand, the defense has a right to cross-examine that witness. The goal is to expose weaknesses in his or her testimony or call out contradictions between answers given to the defense and answers given to a prosecutor. If done correctly, it may also act to create doubt in the minds of a juror, which increase the odds of a favorable outcome in your case.
Lawyers Know How to Pick Jurors
An experienced lawyer knows how to pick a jury that is the most likely to be sympathetic to your story. In some cases, legal counsel may hire outside experts to help with jury selection or to help develop strategies aimed at swaying the jury to your side. In most jurisdictions, it takes a unanimous vote to reach a guilty verdict. If even one person holds out, it could be enough to declare a hung jury and force a prosecutor to determine whether it is worthwhile to pursue the case a second time.
If you have been charged with a crime or face the possibility of being charged with a crime, you need to hire a criminal lawyer today. He or she will immediately start working on a defense or possible plea bargain to get you the best possible outcome in your case.