A criminal defense lawyer is responsible for representing those who have been charged with a crime. One of the most important reasons for hiring a criminal defense lawyer is because the punishment for a crime can vary significantly. In fact, if you have been charged with anything from a misdemeanor to a felony, there’s a good chance that you’ll need a criminal defense lawyer to secure the best possible outcome.
A Chicago criminal lawyer can make the difference between receiving a small fine, community service, time in prison, and possibly even the death penalty. If you have been charged with a crime, having a criminal defense lawyer represent you during all proceedings is critical, especially given the range of potential outcomes. Let’s explore this topic in greater detail.
Benefits of Having a Criminal Defense Lawyer
State and federal legislation can be complex as it relates to criminal law, especially since every state has it’s own definition of crime and punishment. Subsequently, a criminal defense lawyer will need to be familiar with the laws of the state in which they practice. They will also need to have an understanding of federal laws that govern all states. Given the complexities of state and federal legislation, it’s very difficult for the average person to understand ever-changing laws. It’s just as challenging to comprehend the different legal processes in the criminal justice system.
Despite complicated laws, you have the right to represent yourself in a criminal proceeding. However, a decision to do so instead of leveraging the expertise of a criminal defense lawyer, could result in a guilty verdict with the most severe punishment. If this happens, your ignorance of the law will not be an acceptable defense or a reason to overturn the verdict. One of the best decisions that you can make is to have someone who understands the law represent you during criminal trial proceedings. Simply put, the stakes are too high to represent yourself.
Pre-Trial and Trial Services Provided by Criminal Defense Lawyers
A criminal defense lawyer can help you throughout the entire criminal justice process, including the pre-trial phase. It’s not uncommon for someone who is being investigated for a crime to obtain a criminal defense lawyer during the investigation. This means contacting a criminal defense lawyer when you are a suspect, but have not yet been charged. The reason why this is a smart decision is because a criminal defense lawyer can provide guidance and direction during the investigation, which could prevent you from providing incriminating information that might damage your case.
Perhaps one of the most important reasons to hire a criminal defense lawyer early on is because there’s a chance that they can provide evidence in advance that convinces the court to drop all charges against you. A criminal defense lawyer could potentially identify an improper procedure or a deficiency in evidence that might shut down the case before it even gets started. This is something that happens often when there is a lack of probable cause during an arrest.
Another area of the pre-trail phase in which having a criminal defense lawyer is beneficial is convincing a judge to reduce or waive your bail. A lower bail could determine whether or not you remain in jail until the trial. There’s also the possibility of negotiating a plea bargain to reduce the charges and the punishment during pre-trial.
By the time you get to the trial, a criminal defense lawyer will have analyzed your case and developed a defense strategy. The effort that goes into developing an effective defense strategy is quite extensive and requires knowledge of prior cases in order to make the best decision on your behalf. This is typically a collaborative effort that gives you an opportunity to provide the information required to establish a strong defense or make a decision to plead guilty. There are a lot of factors involved and the expertise of a criminal defense lawyer is of tremendous value during this phase of the case.
Your lawyer’s understanding of the law and the criminal trial process will facilitate the best possible outcome on your behalf. If the outcome of the trial is not in your favor, your lawyer can handle the appeals process.