When you are charged with a crime, you may wonder if a lawyer can really help you.
In this post, we’ll tell you exactly what a criminal defense attorney does and what benefits they provide.
An Ally in a Troubled Time
An arrest can cause upheaval in both your public and private life. You could lose your job and find it difficult to secure another one. Your friends and coworkers may turn a cold shoulder on you. Even your family relationships can be strained under the pressure and uncertainty. Even in the best case scenario, people may want to help, but will likely not know what to do if they haven’t experienced a similar situation.
That’s where your attorney comes in. A lawyer is trained to protect and guide you throughout the legal process. He or she can be a powerful ally who will fight on your behalf.
From the very beginning, your lawyer will know what to say and do to preserve your rights and defend your reputation. You need to choose an attorney who has successfully handled cases like yours.
An Advisor Before Your Trial
The first job your lawyer has is to objectively listen to your side of the story without passing judgment on you. As you reveal details, your attorney will listen for details that can be used in defensive strategies designed to get your charges reduced or dropped. You should expect your lawyer to make suggestions and explain your options in a clear, easy-to-understand manner.
After this initial meeting, you can decide whether to proceed with that attorney or work with another one. When you hire a lawyer, you should expect work to begin right away.
Before trial (if it should get to that point), your attorney will coach you on what to say and what not to say so you do not incriminate yourself. As you face questioning from authorities, your lawyer can speak on your behalf or guide you through your answers.
If you are eligible for release from incarceration through bail, your attorney may be able to lower your bail amount or get it eliminated.
Your lawyer will also work hard to keep your case from ever going to trial by doing things like trying to get evidence suppressed or locate witnesses who can help poke holes in the prosecution’s story.
If your attorney does not ultimately have high confidence that you have a winning defense strategy, he may contact the prosecuting attorney to negotiate a plea bargain. This process could reduce your charges, minimize penalties, and provide you with a generally more favorable outcome.
An Advocate During Your Trial
If your case proceeds to trial, a knowledgeable lawyer is an invaluable help to you. Your attorney will present the strongest possible defenses by inviting witnesses and combing through the details of your case. The best lawyers may also use experts, which can be the difference between a conviction and acquittal.
Specifically, your attorney has the responsibility of conducting opening statements, questioning witnesses, and defending your case to the judge. An experienced lawyer will have a broad understanding of the trial process and the laws that apply in your case, which can increase the likelihood that you will win.
A Counselor after the Trial
Even if the court finds you guilty, you still have options with the help of a knowledgeable attorney. Your lawyer can fight the verdict in appellate court, where the decision could be reversed. If your case is successfully appealed, you will not face penalties for your charges.
In certain cases, your attorney may be able to get your criminal record expunged or sealed. A criminal record can have a negative impact on your employment options, housing choices, credit applications, and basic rights. The expungement process takes time, however, and your lawyer will not be able to get the ball rolling immediately after your trial.
Why You Shouldn’t Take on Minnesota Criminal Charges Alone
Some people think they can save money and time by going through the legal process without an attorney’s help. This can be a costly mistake, even for misdemeanor crimes.
If you lack detailed knowledge of the legal system, you may not understand the best defenses to use. You could also make the mistake of pleading guilty when a technical detail or police mistakes could get your charges dismissed.
The sooner you hire an experienced defense attorney after charges are filed against you, the higher your chances are of getting the outcome you desire. Your lawyer needs as much time as possible to thoroughly investigate the facts of your case and come up with the best defenses to your charges. Consult with an attorney as soon as possible for the best chance at success.
About the Author:
Christopher Keyser is a Minneapolis-based criminal and DWI defense attorney known for fighting aggressively for his clients and utilizing innovative tactics to get the most positive results. He has been featured in numerous media outlets due to the breadth and depth of his knowledge, and recognized as a Minnesota Super Lawyers Rising Star (2014–2015), a Top 100 Trial Lawyer (2013–2015), and a Top 40 Under 40 Attorney (2013–2015).