Getting charged with a crime is no stroll in the park. Having a criminal record and possibly going to jail can have enormous consequences. If you’re innocent of the crime, these penalties can be even more devastating. You know that you shouldn’t have to suffer the consequences of a guilty verdict, but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen.
What should you do? Does hiring a lawyer make you look guilty? Should you simply trust that justice will be done?
No and no.
The decision to hire a lawyer has no impact on whether a judge, or law enforcement officials, will think you are innocent or guilty of the alleged crime. The only thing it does is make you look smart and careful.
Having legal counsel is a constitutional right, and a lawyer can help you fight back against prosecutors whose only goal is to see you convicted.
You Have the Right to an Attorney – Use It
Having an attorney is not a sneaky strategy to get away with a crime, it is a constitutional right. The Sixth Amendment states that anyone who is accused of a crime has the right to the “assistance of counsel.”
The government is even required to offer public defenders to people who can’t afford counsel. This has nothing to do with guilt or innocence, but rather helping people to navigate the often complex legal process.
If you are truly innocent, a good lawyer will know how to present that evidence to give you the best possible chance at beating your charges. There’s a big difference between being innocent and convincing others that you are innocent. That’s where your attorney comes in.
Foregoing a Lawyer Is Like Handing the Prosecutor a Gift
Our legal system is supposed to be about upholding justice, but that doesn’t mean everyone involved has the same goals.
To prosecutors, justice means pushing as hard as they can for a conviction. Even if a prosecutor seems to be friendly and willing to help you out, do not make the mistake of thinking that they are your friends. They may be withholding important information about your case in order to get you to cut a deal that is favorable to them.
A defense lawyer will be able to give you a better picture of your case and the charges against you because they can get you information that you cannot get yourself. Very importantly for you, they can interpret what impact the information could have.
Moreover, a defense lawyer’s job is to look out for your rights and keep prosecutors and other law enforcement officials honest. While the majority of prosecutors try to do things by the book, unfortunately that is not always the case – and even those who do can make mistakes from time to time.
Want to learn more about your case and how a knowledgeable criminal attorney can protect you against over-zealous prosecutors? Give us a call.