Many defendants believe they can save money by representing themselves in criminal matters, especially when they know they did not commit the crime with which they've been charged. However, while it is possible to represent yourself, you will find that, often, the assistance, guidance, and experience offered by an attorney is crucial to your defense, even if you're innocent.
Reasons to hire an attorney
The most important reason to hire a lawyer when you are accused of a crime is that your future is at stake and you deserve the best defense possible. Other reasons include:
· Avoiding jail
· Keeping your record clean
· Reducing charges or penalties
Innocence is no guarantee for avoiding conviction- people are convicted of crimes they didn't commit all the time. If you are convicted of a criminal offense, you may be sentenced to some time in jail. Even relatively minor crimes and misdemeanors carry the possibility of imprisonment- a possibility that increases with any prior convictions. An attorney can help you avoid jail whenever possible through careful negotiation and aggressive courtroom advocacy.
An attorney can help keep your record clean. A criminal record can affect your future employment, educational opportunities, and eligibility for professional licenses. You may be denied a job or financial aid for schooling if you have a criminal conviction.
By hiring an attorney, you can limit the damage that a conviction has on your life. If your lawyer cannot prevent a conviction, it may still be possible to keep a conviction from upsetting your future goals by eventually sealing your records.
Attorneys have the negotiation and litigation skills to protect you from the consequences of a conviction. In addition to prison time and a criminal record, the following can result from a criminal offense:
· Mandatory classes
By reducing the charges, it is usually possible to reduce the penalties associated with them. To negotiate a decrease in your criminal charges, you need the skills of an experienced attorney.