Everyone knows that if you are arrested and charged with an offense, you need the expert legal help of a criminal defense lawyer if you want to protect your civil rights and reach a desirable outcome in your case.
But if you don’t have a lawyer you’ve worked with in the past, at what point do you need to reach out to a specific attorney, and what qualities should you look for in a criminal defense lawyer?
This blog will explain the role a criminal defense lawyer plays, when you should hire them, and how you can find the right attorney for your case.
What is a Criminal Defense Lawyer?
Criminal defense lawyers specialize in representing clients who have been charged with criminal offenses. There are a number of facets to this role, and it is important to understand them if you want to ensure you receive the best support and protection.
In addition to presenting their client’s case before a judge and/or jury, a defense lawyer:
- Researches the facts, and investigates the case being presented by the prosecution
- Negotiates with the prosecution to reduce the charge or arrive at a deal
- Analyzes potential sentences
- Helps formulate the plea
- Reviews search and seizure procedures
- Questions witnesses
A lot of the work a criminal defense lawyer does happens behind the scenes, and in some cases a good defense lawyer can get the charges dropped altogether.
When Should You Hire a Lawyer?
Given how much of a defense lawyer’s work happens before the first court date is even set, it is vital that you hire an attorney as soon as you have been charged, so you have legal support during your bail hearing. A criminal defense lawyer may be able to help you negotiate lower bail restrictions as the case moves forward.
The more time your attorney has to investigate the case and look for instances where the police broke the law or violated your civil rights, the more likely it is that you will be able avoid a court trial or mount a successful defense if the case does go to trial.
What Qualities Should I Look for in a Defense Lawyer?
Some defense lawyers focus on narrow specializations, while others have a broader remit, covering everything from impaired driving and drug offenses to domestic assault.
Hiring a firm like Jeff Reisman Law that handles a range of offenses means you’ll have someone on your side who has a broad understanding of how the law applies to cases like yours, and can advise you on how to plead and devise the best strategy for reaching an acquittal.
While experience and areas of expertise are important, you will also want to find a lawyer who can empathize with your case and provide personal support throughout the process. Drug-related offenses are still highly stigmatized, and it is important to find a defense lawyer who will be firmly on your side.
The legal system is infamously difficult to navigate, and a few missteps early on can make it extremely difficult to mount an effective defense. For this reason, it is essential to bring on an experienced defense lawyer as soon as you have been charged with a crime if you want to have the best odds of reaching an acquittal.