When Do I Need a Lawyer If I’m Charged with a Crime?

If you are facing charges for a crime, you may wonder when you need to hire a defense attorney. Quite simply, you should waste no time in obtaining legal representation in the form of a Manassas criminal defense lawyer

It doesn’t matter if you are facing misdemeanor or felony charges either. Getting a lawyer to work on your case as soon as possible has many benefits that could make all the difference in what happens for your future.

Benefits of Hiring a Defense Attorney Immediately After Being Charged with a Crime

While you will be considered innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, the sooner you hire an attorney, the better. It’s easy to make mistakes if you try to handle your case on your own, something that those facing misdemeanor charges often find out too late. You may miss a deadline that you weren’t aware of or say something that could be used against you.

Hiring a defense attorney right away saves you time and stress as they can quickly identify weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and get to work building evidence in your favor. They can also suppress evidence against you, depending on the circumstances. In some cases, they may be able to negotiate a more favorable plea. It is also possible for them to persuade the prosecution to reduce charges or have the case dismissed.

In the courtroom, you will want someone with experience standing before a judge and jury who has knowledge of the law. If you try to do this yourself, you may not realize you can file a motion to suppress evidence or the testimony of a witness.

Whether you are guilty or not, hiring a criminal defense attorney is one of the most important steps you can take after being charged with a crime. They will advise you of all your options, which is imperative if you’ve attempted to clear things up with the police and only dug a deeper hole for yourself.

You will be read your rights at the time you are taken into custody. It is at this point that you will be advised that you can have the court appoint legal counsel for you at no charge. Known as public defenders, these free lawyers are often overloaded with cases. Some of them lack experience while others simply don’t have enough time to work on building a strong case.

For these reasons, it is to your best benefit to hire your own lawyer as quickly as possible when you are charged with a crime.

How to Hire the Right Criminal Defense Attorney in Virginia

If you have just been arrested, the time to get an attorney is right now. Even though you must act quickly, you should still take certain steps to find the best lawyer to take your case.

Look for an Attorney with Extensive Criminal Justice Experience

The legal system has many rules and complexities. There are various specialties of the law, and not every attorney will be the best fit, even if they are highly rated. You may have seen a lawyer’s advertisements on TV or billboards, but this doesn’t mean they will be the right lawyer for you.

While time is of the essence, use the free consultations they offer to find out if a lawyer you’re considering will be a good match. They should make you feel comfortable while also having a strong background in representing cases similar to yours.

Choose a Lawyer Who Is Ready for Trial

Not all criminal cases will go to trial, but you’ll want an attorney who has success in the courtroom in the event your case goes that far. Don’t choose an attorney who constantly avoids trial as that’s a sign they are unable to advocate for your rights. Find out how often they take their cases to trial and about their success rate.

Make Sure Your Attorney Will Represent You

In many of the larger law firms, you may be introduced to an experienced partner who provides criminal defense. It may seem ideal that you’ll be working with such a revered person in the industry, but the key here is finding out if they will be the one to represent you.

No matter what, you never want to work with a law firm that will just shuffle you off to a junior associate or bounce you around through an entire team. You are well within your rights to know who will be handling your case. You must be able to have faith in that person to represent you and fight for your future.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions

In addition to asking about an attorney’s experience with cases like yours and confirming that they will be the ones to directly handle your case, you need to ask more questions. Asking about your potential outcome is advised because a strong defense attorney can give you their professional opinion. They won’t be able to promise you a specific outcome, but they can let you know what you’re up against and what may happen in the best and worst-case scenarios.

An attorney who takes the time to answer your questions rather than spew legal jargon at you is likely the best person to take on your case.

Ask About Fees

It is to be expected that quality criminal defense comes at a price. Remember, you could choose a public defender, but things may not go in your favor if they don’t have enough time to develop a strategy for your case.

Hiring an attorney for criminal defense means you’ll be paying upfront. It’s wise to inquire in your initial meeting how they apply their fees and costs. Some will bill by the hour while others will request a flat fee per case. You may also be separately billed for process fees while other attorneys will include this in a fixed fee.

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