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How a Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help You

Posted on August 31, 2022

If you or a loved one has been accused of a crime, hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney is critical. Although it can be tempting to avoid the cost of retaining one, doing so can make a significant difference in the final outcome of your case.

Prevent Charges

Before you are arrested, law enforcement may wait to formally file a charge against you until their investigation is complete. If you hire a criminal defense attorney early enough, they may be able to find grounds on which the case should be dismissed to prevent charges from even being filed. Some grounds for dismissal include:

  • Lack of probable cause to arrest
  • An improper criminal complaint or charging document
  • An illegal stop or search
  • Lack of evidence to prove the defendant committed the crime
  • An unavailable witness who is necessary to establish the defendant committed the crime
  • Loss of evidence necessary to prove that a defendant committed the crime

If your attorney can convince the prosecutor that their success at trial is unlikely due to insufficient evidence, there is an increased chance of the case being outright rejected or sent back to law enforcement for further investigation.

Bail Hearings

If you have been arrested, you will be faced with decisions regarding bail (or pretrial detention), county pretrial services (or electronic monitoring), and the first stages of criminal prosecution in the state or federal court system. The first question many people have after being arrested is how to get out of jail. Getting out on bail is done through posting bond once a judge grants a PR bond. Everyone arrested is entitled to consideration for bail; however, if bail is denied or not posted, you will have to remain in jail until the case is resolved. Therefore, before you speak to a police officer or have been formally booked into jail, it is vital to contact a criminal defense attorney. They will help you navigate the bail process, fight to have it reduced, and assist you with any other initial concerns.

Criminal Law Knowledge & Relationships

Most criminal defense attorneys will obviously have experience in many aspects of criminal law, including defenses to charges. Their primary duty is to find and use any weaknesses or inconsistencies in the prosecution’s case to dispute their case. Defense lawyers also know how local judges and prosecutors operate and can use the professional relationships they have built to your advantage. For example, their prior experience working with these important figures could influence better plea offers that help you avoid jail.

Protection from Severe Penalties

It is important to know that sentences for criminal charges can be affected by mitigating and aggravating factors, as well as prior offenses. Many different legal defenses can be used to reduce harsh sentences, such as self-defense in certain cases. Alternatively, the use of expert testimony and evidence can help raise reasonable doubt among the jury. A skilled criminal defense attorney can fight to have charges reduced to avoid the most severe penalties, if not dismissed entirely.