5 Things Your Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Do for You
After an arrest or a criminal charge, many people wonder where to turn next. Many people also assume they can’t hire a lawyer because they can’t afford the fees. Too often, people forego getting the legal help they need, either because they are misinformed, or because they don’t fully understand the seriousness of the charges against them.
If you are thinking about your next steps, don’t hesitate to contact a Birmingham criminal defense lawyer. With this in mind, here are five important things your criminal defense lawyer can do for you in Alabama.
- Listen to Your Side of the Story
Many criminal defendants are surprised and shocked to discover that the criminal justice system doesn’t always afford many opportunities to be heard. When you have been accused of a crime, you want a chance to clear your name. Many times, even family and friends don’t want to listen. People can be very quick to make snap judgments about a person’s perceived guilt. This is very frustrating for someone who is fighting to prove their innocence or mitigating factors that explain why they ended up on the wrong side of the law. Your lawyer is there to fight for you. To do the best job possible, your criminal defense lawyer must listen to your side of the case. Knowing someone truly has your back can be a great feeling when it seems like everyone else is against you.
- Explain Your Rights
Most people have a general idea of their rights under the law. When you’re under investigation, or you’re facing criminal charges, it can feel like you’re sinking under a sea of legalese and police jargon. The police know this, and they are trained to bombard criminal suspects with fast talk and accusations. This is why it is so important to get a criminal defense attorney on your side and in your corner as soon as possible.
- Negotiate a Plea Deal on Your Behalf
According to many estimates, around 90 percent of all criminal case end with a plea bargain. With a plea bargain, a criminal defendant agrees to plead to a lesser offense in exchange for receiving a more lenient sentence and foregoing a trial. This is something that must be negotiated with the prosecutor in charge of your case, and the best person to handle this negotiation is your criminal attorney. Plea bargaining can be a complicated, nuanced process. It’s best to let an experienced lawyer negotiate on your behalf. Your lawyer can also determine whether you should proceed to trial rather than accept a plea arrangement.
- Challenge the Evidence Against You
Just because the prosecutor has evidence against you does not mean your case is a slam dunk. In a criminal case, the prosecution must prove you are guilty of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt. This is the highest burden of proof in our justice system. Furthermore, evidence must be collected in a legal way. When it’s not, the court must throw it out. For example, if the police found drugs in your car, but they did so after pulling you over in an improper traffic stop, the court may have to throw out any evidence gathered pursuant to that illegal stop.
- Represent You at Trial
Any kind of legal trial can be a scary and overwhelming experience, whether you are challenging a contract or defending your freedom in a criminal case. For many people accused of a crime, their trial is the first step they have ever set foot in a courtroom. For most, it’s an intimidating place – especially when so much is riding on the outcome. When you work with an experienced criminal defense attorney, you can feel confident that your lawyer is there to help you every step of the way. This reassurance is invaluable when you’re going through the stress and rigors of a criminal trial.