Facing criminal charges can be a life-changing event. Although all defendants have a right to defend themselves, they also have a right to legal representation. Some defendants, for various reasons, believe they can handle the court process without hiring a lawyer. Doing so, however, can be dangerous. Here are four reasons why it’s important to rely on lawyers when facing criminal charges.
Navigating the System
We’d like to think the court systems are transparent. In reality, simply knowing what your obligations are when facing criminal charges can be difficult, and missed court dates can have major ramifications. Furthermore, the language used in various documents doesn’t translate well to common speech; it’s easy to misunderstand what specific words and phrases mean without legal training. Legal counsel is essential for making sense of the process.
Knowing Your Rights
As a defendant, you have a number of rights, which can help you get charges dismissed or an acquittal. Experts, such as those at the Wilder Law Firm, will help you know which rights you have and how to best use them to achieve the best possible outcome. It’s worth noting that these rights can be complex, and some have limitations. Your lawyer will also tell you situations in which your rights might be more limited than you think.
In many cases, the best way to guarantee a favorable outcome is to consider plea deals. Many prosecutors seek to reach plea deals to avoid the cost and uncertainty of a jury trial, and they’ll often negotiate extensively to reach a deal. Having a lawyer puts additional pressure on prosecutors, and you may be able to receive a plea deal with a minimal impact on your life. Prosecutors are typically reluctant to negotiate with defendants representing themselves.
Preparing for Trial
Ensuring you’re ready for a trial is a difficult process. You need to put forth the right evidence and prepare for any arguments the prosecutor makes. Furthermore, you’ll need to interact with the prosecutor to find out which evidence they plan on bringing, which can be cumbersome. By hiring a lawyer, you’ll be ready when your trial date approaches. In addition, defense attorneys know how to delay a trial if you need more time to prepare.
The legal system is complex. Although it’s your right to defend yourself in a trial, doing so is rarely the best option. If you’re facing criminal charges, make sure to reach out to a lawyer as quickly as possible.
Author Bio: Emma Sturgis is a freelance writer based out of Boston, MA. She writes most often on health and education. When not writing, she enjoys reading and watching film noir. Say hi on Twitter @EmmaSturgis2