For the average person, being arrested and charged with a criminal offense is a rather frightening experience. After all, there is always the possibility that you will be required to return to jail if convicted. One of the first decisions you will need to make after being charged is whether or not to hire a criminal defense lawyer to represent you throughout the prosecution of your case. If you are charged with a less serious offense, you be wondering if you really need an attorney. The law does not require you to have legal representation in a criminal prosecution; however, it is in your best interest to have an attorney on your side anytime you are charged with a criminal offense, regardless of the severity of the crime. In order to help you understand why you should hire an attorney, consider the following “5 Reasons to Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer”
- To explain your charges and the consequences of a conviction. Unless you are a regular in the criminal justice system, there is undoubtedly much that you do not know or understand. While you may understand the gist of what you are charged with, you may not understand exactly what the State has to prove to convict you. Likewise, you may understand some of the penalties of a conviction; however, you may not fully understand all of the consequences of a conviction. For example, you may know the maximum jail time you could get for a first time DUI conviction; however, are you aware that you could face disciplinary action if you hold a professional license? Do you realize all of the job opportunities you will be disqualified for with a conviction? Have you thought about how it might affect your rights to your minor children if you are divorced? A criminal defense lawyer will make sure you understand all of the possible ramifications of a conviction.
- To protect your rights. As an accused, you have a number of important rights that are guaranteed to you by the U.S. Constitution. Those rights only help you, however, if you know when and how to exercise them. For example, you have a right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. You could inadvertently waive that right, however, by consenting to a search of your home. You also have the right to remain silent. This means you do not have to answer questions posed to you by the police. Even if you started answering questions, the moment you want to stop you may. Furthermore, the police are supposed to stop asking you questions the moment you ask for a lawyer. Did you know all of that? Probably not – why would you? Your criminal defense lawyer will make sure you know your rights and that they are protected throughout the prosecution of your case.
- To make sure the police conducted the investigation legally. Law enforcement officers are human too, meaning they make mistakes. Sometimes they are honest mistakes and other times they intentionally try to skirt the law. If the police did something wrong, or illegal, during the investigation of your case, your criminal defense lawyer can challenge any evidence obtained as a result of that illegal conduct.
- To negotiate on your behalf. Sometimes, a conviction cannot be avoided. When that is the case, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side to help negotiate a plea agreement that is as favorable to you as possible.
- To defend you. Providing you with a defense is your attorney’s primary responsibility. Even if your case never goes to trial, your attorney will be working on your defense throughout the case in order to be prepared should you decide to proceed to trial. If you do decide to take your case to trial, you will need to decide if you want a judge or a jury to decide your fate. Because there are a number of advantages and disadvantages to both options, you should not make a decision regarding the type of trial you want to have without consulting with your criminal defense lawyer.
If you have been charged with a criminal offense in the State of Tennessee, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced Tennessee criminal defense lawyer at Bennett, Michael & Hornsby. Contact the team today by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your appointment.
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