What You Need to Know Before Hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney
Law is very complex. Hiring a good attorney is even more complex. There are hourly charges, retainer fees, and the confusion around what they exactly do. In this article I break down a criminal defense attorney.
What Do They Do?
A criminal defense attorney will represent people who are charged with a crime. This crime can range from misdemeanors to felonies, so a criminal defense attorney is able to handle cases no matter what the severity of the crime is. It is their job to represent you to the best of their ability to achieve the outcome you desire. They will also give you legal advice based on the facts of the case which are available to both parties (prosecuting and defense teams), on what the best outcome would be. In fact, approximately 95% of cases don’t actually go to trial. Most lawyers can very accurately predict the likelihood of a certain outcome given the facts so most cases are resolved before a trial.
Before or after being charged with a crime it is a good idea to call an experienced criminal defense attorney. Ideally, if you believe you are a suspect in a crime and are going to be charged, you should call an attorney to make sure you avoid incriminating yourself. The earlier the attorney gets involved the better that attorney can diagnose the situation and prepare for the best outcome. Some cases where an attorney is called before making an arrest, have resulted in the cases being dropped because the attorney is able to see if the police are following the correct procedure.
Each jurisdiction may have differing precedent on probable cause which is how a police officer is able to make an arrest in many instances. Without a justifiable cause, an attorney can get the case dropped due to improper procedure regardless of whether a crime was committed. This situation is a part of the 95% of cases that never make it to court. However, without having an attorney present early on in the case, it may be difficult to prove there were mistakes made.
After being arrested, a criminal defense attorney can help reduce or get rid of your bail. Bail is an amount of money to get you out of jail prior to your trail. When arrested and paperwork has been filed, you will be put in jail and a bail will be posted. Depending on the severity of the crime, the bail amount can be really high or low. An attorney who is representing you has the ability to argue on your behalf and make sure the bail is reasonable. The best case scenario, a criminal defense attorney can get the bail amount waived and you are able to leave jail.
Another way a criminal attorney can help is by negotiating a plea deal. A good attorney can effectively analyze the case to evaluate how likely a guilty conviction would be the outcome, and may advise after viewing the case you should take a plea bargain. A plea bargain is an agreement to be charged for a lesser crime or a reduced sentence in exchange for pleading guilty to a crime before trial. Your attorney will help make sure the offer is fair and makes sense for you to take. If they believe the deal is unfair after negotiations they can advise you not to take the deal.
Representation at Trial
Most people understand an attorney’s role at court so I will make this section brief. The attorney helps gather facts and evidence in order to win your case. They will pick jury, defend your case, provide opening statements, and question witnesses. They can also help you appeal a court decision that does not go in your favor.
Who to hire?
With most professions, experience is a good indicator of someone’s ability to do a job. Law is no different. Burns Law Group has over 25 years of experience representing criminal cases in Georgia. They have handled misdemeanors to felonies, and potential punishments ranging from community service to life without parole. The criminal defense team has a background in winning cases for their clients.