How can a criminal defense attorney help you?

If you’ve recently been accused of a crime, it’s a wise choice to hire an experienced defense attorney. Regardless of the nature and severity of your transgression, be it a misdemeanor or felony, having legal representation is critical for ensuring the best-possible outcome for your court case.

The average person understands that criminal law is a complex network of state and federal legislation. However, most people don’t realize just how intricately woven the system is, and how to best interpret and leverage the system’s machinations.

Also lost on the general public is the fact that each state has its own definition and punishment of a crime, which at times differs from the federal interpretation. In fact, most crimes are state crimes, except those in which damage is caused to federal property, injury is caused to a federal employee, or the crime is one that transcends the boundaries of one state.

Every American has the right to represent himself at during criminal trial proceedings, and some people choose this route out of financial and/or timing concerns. However, a high price is paid for self-representation.

Even someone accused of a misdemeanor, which typically entails a fine and at most a short jail sentence, would be wise to enlist a defense attorney to help navigate the law and the process. In felony cases, especially those in which serious jail time is possible, it’s absolutely necessary to hire a defense attorney to argue on your behalf.

Pretrial Benefits

Regardless of whether a defense attorney is hired before or after charges are brought, he/she plays an indispensable pretrial role. If hired before charges, a defense attorney will provide counsel on what to say and not say to the authorities.

A defense attorney can also determine whether the authorities followed improper procedure or lack sufficient evidence for a conviction. In each scenario, a defenseattorney could petition the court to drop all charges. These are steps that the average person would not be able to take.

Another pretrial benefit a defense attorney provides pertains to bail. Depending on the severity of your crime and your past record, you may be remanded to jail unless you post bail. A defense attorney has the experience to negotiate a lower bail amount with the judge, or have bail waived completely.

A pre-trial plea bargain is another tactic that a defense attorney can utilize: agreeing for you to plead guilty, but to a lesser charge.

Benefits During a Trial

A defendant with no legal background lacks the ability to analyze their case and ascertain its strengths and weaknesses. However, a defense attorney does possess the skills and resources to examine your case and devise an effective defense strategy.

This strategy will include a discussion regarding the pros and cons of pleading not guilty or guilty, as well as an assessment of a plea bargain (if one is offered by the prosecuting attorney).

A defense attorney is also active in all facets of the trial: jury selection, opening statements, trying the case, closing arguments, and filing an appeal if necessary.

Hire an Experienced Attorney

For more information regarding the wisdom behind hiring a top defense attorney, contact the San Diego law offices of John D. Kirby. With decades of combined experience, our defense attorneys have a deep understanding of state and federal law, and how best to represent your case.