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When do I need a criminal defense attorney?

If you are asking this question then you need a criminal defense attorney to represent you. Police and prosecutors must solve crimes and prosecute violators. Their jobs do not include protecting your legal rights. The job of a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney is to protect your rights during a police investigation and the criminal prosecution that may result from it.

What should I do if the police are investigating me?

Contact an attorney as soon as you become aware that the police have an interest in you. Police make mistakes. They may overlook evidence that is favorable to you. A defense attorney challenges the police theory of the crime by investigating the case. This may result in charges being dropped or reduce.

What do I do if I am arrested?

If you know you are going to be arrested, call a criminal defense attorney immediately. If you are taken into custody, be cooperative, but politely tell the police that you are exercising your right to remain silent and want to speak with an attorney. Do not make any statements to law enforcement officials. You have rights that a criminal defense attorney can protect. Your right to remain silent is one of them. Do not speak to anyone. Keep in mind that friends, relatives and other people you talk to can be subpoenaed to go to court to divulge what you told them. The only person with whom you should discuss your case is your attorney.

What is the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor?

A misdemeanor is a crime for which the maximum jail sentence is one year or less. A felony conviction is much more serious and can result a prison sentence in excess of one year. A person convicted of a felony may lose the right to vote and may find it difficult to obtain employment after a conviction.

I committed the crime; do I still need a lawyer?

An experienced criminal defense lawyer can challenge the prosecution’s evidence against you. Illegal searches and seizures and improper questioning of suspects are two of the errors commonly made by law enforcement.
Even if the evidence proves that you are guilty of the crime an experienced attorney who knows the criminal process can often negotiate a reduction of the charges or a reduction in the sentence through plea bargaining.