Do I Need a Criminal Defense Attorney?
A good rule of thumb is: If you think you might need a criminal defense attorney, you probably do. It is not worth risking fines, marks on your record, or incarceration because you choose not to hire an attorney.
Being charged with a crime can be a terrifying experience. There are many different statutes and laws designed to define and set punishments for criminal conduct. You might commit a crime without even realizing it. You may think you are committing a minor crime but then find yourself facing severe penalties. The criminal justice system is a harsh and complicated beast. It is almost always in your best interest to at least consult a criminal attorney if you find yourself in any criminal trouble, including trouble with traffic violations.
Protect Your Rights
If you are ever taken into custody, you should immediately ask for your criminal lawyer. You do not have to answer any questions asked of you by the police. They will try to convince you that it is in your best interest to answer their questions, or that they are on “your side.” This is almost never the case. You should ask for a lawyer as soon as they read you your Miranda rights or as soon as you believe you are not free to go. Once you ask for a criminal lawyer, the government officials holding you in custody must cease asking you questions. Do not initiate conversation with them again until you have your lawyer present. The government officials holding you are obligated to provide you with a public defender if you cannot afford an attorney.
A criminal defense attorney will understand much better than you the implications of your charges, how the facts of your case help or hurt your chances of being found not guilty, and what questions you should or should not answer. You have the right against self-incrimination. While this seems basic and simple enough, it is almost impossible for a layperson to understand what statements can be incriminating. Something that seems neutral to you, or something that seems like it could help exonerate you, can be used by the police and prosecution against you. Additionally, an experienced criminal defense attorney will have a good working relationship with the opposing side. If the prosecution has respect for your attorney, you are much more likely to end up with a favorable deal or dismissal.
The fact of the matter is that, even though the saying is “innocent until proven guilty,” once you are arrested, the police, prosecution and even judge are likely to presume you are guilty. This is an unfair, harsh reality. With an experienced criminal defense attorney fighting for you, you are much more likely to overcome these unfair biases. Further, a criminal defense attorney has seen and done this all before. Your criminal attorney can be a reassuring source of comfort during a very stressful time.
Contact a Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
Contact criminal lawyer Michael Schmiege for a free consultation. Mr. Schmiege handles criminal matters throughout the Chicago area and the United States.