Defending Your Rights
If you’ve been charged with a crime, whether for the first time or for an additional time, one big decision you have to make is whether or not you will be working with a criminal defense attorney. You might be tempted to defend yourself in court because of the cheaper cost; however, self-defense usually doesn’t work out the way you hope. If you are considering hiring a criminal defense attorney to handle your case, here are some things to consider.
The Disadvantages of Self-Representation
Anyone facing criminal charges has the right to an attorney. Choosing to waive that right and represent yourself in court, while potentially cheaper at first, has the potential to cost you way more than you might think.
Criminal defense attorneys understand criminal law and the ins and outs of the criminal justice system. You cannot learn all of that simply by reading a book about these laws before your court date. Criminal law is a vast area of study with many complexities, and no one attempting to defend themselves can work to understand it overnight.
In addition, there is the possibility that you may face a prosecuting attorney on the opposite side of the court. These attorneys work to show that you committed the crime and have worked to obtain evidence and witness statements to prove your guilt. The unprepared defendant without an attorney will have a much steeper hill to climb to attempt and prove their innocence.
The Attorney’s Expertise
In contrast, criminal defense attorneys understand both the charges you face as well as the legal system itself. They can provide you with guidance on how you should proceed as well as what you can do to gather evidence to clear you of the charges. Your attorney is there to defend you and your rights, and without the expertise in criminal law, they would have a much harder time defending you in court.
Furthermore, it is possible that the local courts have a culture that may be different from what you might expect. A criminal defense attorney should be familiar with those local court cultures and can help you navigate and meet expectations.
The Attorney’s Work
One of a criminal defense attorney’s primary purposes is to gather evidence necessary to craft an argument that will clear you of the charges. They examine the case itself and compile evidence comprised of the facts of the case, witness statements, and the argument against you put forth by prosecutors.
In addition, criminal defense attorneys work to negotiate minimized consequences if you take a plea deal. They may work to try and reduce bail costs, charges (such as from one class of misdemeanor to another), and sentences. This work would not be possible without their representation.
The Attorney’s Presence
Knowing that you have a criminal defense attorney by your side can do much to alleviate the stress you might be feeling. Facing a criminal charge, no matter the type or number, can be frightening and filled with uncertainty. While your attorney is not the same as a therapist, their presence can be a calming factor, as they can listen to what you are feeling and can try to paint you the most realistic picture of what you’re facing and what life may look like.
Having an attorney working on your case removes the stress of having to compile an argument with evidence on your own. If you’re facing criminal charges, you have enough to worry about. Let your attorney handle the complex legalities of what you’re dealing with.
Working with a Missouri Criminal Defense Attorney
If you’re facing criminal charges, you might feel alone and terrified of what the future may look like. Know that you aren’t alone and you don’t have to fight your battles by yourself. At Rutter and Sleeth Law Offices, we understand how you might be feeling about your case. We want to help. We want to defend your rights and help you fight the charges brought against your name.
To schedule a consultation with us, call us at (573) 279-1349 or visit us online and fill out our form.