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Few experiences are more isolating than being charged with a crime.
After being arrested and charged with a criminal offense, you may find that your friends, coworkers, and colleagues pull away, and strangers who hear about the incident interact with you differently. You may lose your job and find it difficult to secure another one due to employers’ reluctance to trust you or potentially place other staff members in harm’s way. Close family members may want to help you, but feel lost and uncertain about how to advise you, having never experienced anything similar themselves.
During this troubling time, your most powerful—and perhaps only—ally may be your criminal attorney. A good criminal defense lawyer with a history of success will be invaluable to you throughout every step of the process, from your initial arrest to the events after your sentencing. As your attorney, it is your lawyer’s job to protect your rights in and outside of the courtroom. No matter what type of criminal charge you are faced with, a quality attorney will do everything possible to help you secure the best possible outcome for your case.
Below, we’ve explored some of the important ways your criminal defense attorney will support, guide, and protect you before, during, and after your trial.
Before your trial. Your attorney job begins the moment you first contact his or her firm. Your lawyer will begin by carefully listening to your side of the story and evaluating your case so that they can help you to understand the charges you are facing without judgment. After hearing about your situation, your prospective attorney should be able to explain some of your options and make suggestions in an upfront, informative manner.
Should you decide to hire the attorney, he or she will begin working on your case immediately. If you suspect that you are under investigation but have not been arrested or charged with a crime yet, your lawyer can help you keep from doing or saying anything incriminating. When you are questioned by authorities, your attorney can guide you or speak on your behalf to keep you from divulging sensitive information.
If you have already been charged with a crime, your attorney may be able to negotiate with the court to have your charges dropped. By demonstrating that there is insufficient evidence or improper procedure surrounding your arrest, your attorney may be able have the charges against you dropped before you even go to court.
Alternatively, if you have been arrested for a crime, you may be incarcerated pending your trial. However, you generally will have the option to be released if you provide bail, and your criminal attorney may be able to persuade the court to decrease or eliminate your bail entirely.
Finally, if you are highly likely to be found guilty of a crime, your attorney may advise you to try to negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutor. Through a plea bargain, you may be able to convince the prosecutor to reduce the charges against you or minimize the penalties you are facing. Your attorney can help you negotiate a plea bargain, increasing the likelihood you will succeed.
During the trial. If it is necessary to take your case to trial, your attorney can help you prepare the strongest defense possible by thoroughly investigating you case and gathering witnesses. A superior attorney will have access to extensive resources that can help your case, including connections to experts and a team of top legal professionals who can provide support.
In the courtroom, your attorney will provide opening statements, question witnesses, and argue your case before the judge. Having an in-depth understanding of the criminal justice system and the laws surrounding your charge, your attorney will be able to navigate the complexities of your trial and present your defense effectively.
After the trial. If you are found guilty of a crime by the court, that doesn’t necessarily mean you are out of options. If you believe the court’s decision was unjust, your attorney may be able to challenge the verdict in appellate court. In appellate court, your attorney may able to argue that the previous court’s decision should be changed, giving you another chance to obtain a more favorable outcome for your case.
Your attorney may also be able to help you have your record sealed or expunged in certain situations. This can be incredibly important, because often people with stains on their criminal record have a difficult time doing things like finding housing, getting good jobs, and even securing loans.
The sooner you enlist the aid of an experienced criminal defense attorney after being arrested, the better. By contacting your attorney sooner rather than later, you allow your lawyer plenty of time to thoroughly research all aspects of your case, determine the best strategies to use in your unique circumstance, and build the most powerful defense possible. Once a skilled attorney is on your side, your chances of having the charges against you reduced or dropped go up dramatically.
About the Author:
Denver-based criminal defense and DUI attorney Jacob E. Martinez is a knowledgeable and experienced litigator with a record of success providing innovative solutions to clients facing criminal charges of any severity. Mr. Martinez has been designated a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers and has been awarded both the Avvo Client’s Choice Award and Avvo Top Attorney designation, evidencing his reputation for his exemplary criminal and DUI defense work and high moral standards.