Should You Hire A Criminal Defense Lawyer?
Everyone charged or investigated for committing a crime will surely need legal representation. Far too many people make the mistake of waiting until they are all out of options before finally retaining a criminal defense attorney. A criminal conviction carries harsh punishments and consequences that can adversely impact all aspects of your life and by extension, the lives of your loved ones. Whether your objective is to preserve your future ability to secure meaningful employment, professional licensing, or citizenship, consulting with a skilled criminal defense attorney is a significant first step in the right direction.
Benefits of Prefile Representation
While there are less serious legal matters, such as traffic violations and small claims civil matters you can try to handle on your own, neither one of those cases can result in imprisonment or a permanent criminal record if handled improperly.
Consulting with an experienced criminal defense lawyer at the earliest possible stage of your case is critical. Most people make the mistake of assuming since they have been arrested, they are most definitely going to be charged. However, the reality is police do not decide who gets charged and who does not as the discretion rests with the prosecuting agency, either the District Attorney’s Office or City Attorney’s Office. Therefore, the period of time between your arrest and when the prosecuting agency reviews your case for filing consideration presents an opportunity for a skilled criminal lawyer to intervene before the filing decision is made.
Even if criminal charges are filed, the involvement and guidance of a criminal attorney at the outset of your case assures your legal defense the advantage of weeks or months of preparation leading up to your first appearance in court. Most importantly, police investigations do not necessarily end after you’re arrested. Therefore, hiring a private a criminal defense attorney as soon as you’re released from custody can further minimize the chances of discovery of additional evidence against you, which can either strengthen the prosecution’s current case against you or worse, result in additional charges added to the criminal complaint or indictment.
Public Defender vs. Private Criminal Defense Attorney
One of the most common questions prospective clients ask us during their free consultations is “What’s the difference between hiring a private lawyer and a Public Defender?” While the answer to the question may seem simple enough to answer, the answer isn’t as black and white as it may seem. There are a number of variables involved and the following are just a couple questions you should consider:
- Which private criminal lawyer are you comparing the Public Defender to?
- Could your case benefit from prefile representation?
The fact is, the belief that all Public Defenders are inexperienced and incompetent or don’t care about their clients is categorically false. The Public Defender’s Office maintains a strict and elite level screening process designed to create a candidate pool populated by only the most elite applicants. Public Defenders are not castoffs of from the District Attorney’s Office’s hiring pool. In fact, most Public Defender’s Offices disqualify applicants from consideration if it learned that the applicant has previously applied to the District Attorney’s Office. Another misconception many people have relates to the belief that all private lawyers are equal in terms of his or her legal acumen and skill. The reality is the discount, budget lawyer charges a lesser fee for a reason, whereas the more accomplished and experienced criminal defense lawyers charge a premium for their time and expertise. However, the one advantage you have with electing to go the route of retaining a private criminal lawyer is a choice. If you are appointed a Public Defender whom you simply do not feel comfortable with, you’re essentially stuck with him or her. Furthermore, you will not be afforded the luxury of time to “get to know” your legal advocate as you would have had you retained a private attorney during the prefile stage of your case. Alternatively, almost all criminal defense attorneys in California offer free initial consultations. Therefore, you have an opportunity to decide which attorney you want standing next to you in court. If you consult with a criminal lawyer who lacks the bedside manner or experience you need to feel confident in your legal defense, you don’t have to hire him or her.
Call us today for a free consult if you have additional questions
Our criminal defense firm has specialized in criminal defense exclusively since 1987. Our criminal lawyers are former prosecutors, top-rated and recognized by Martindale-Hubbell, Avvo, and Super Lawyers magazine. Contact us today at (888) 579-4844 for a free case review to learn how we can help you.