You've been charged with a misdemeanor and you're wondering what your options are. You may think it's a waste of money to hire a criminal defense attorney, but nothing could be further from the truth. When you work with a criminal lawyer, you are ensuring the best possible outcome for your situation and your future.
Listed below are four instances in which hiring a criminal attorney is in your best interests:
You Already Have a Criminal Record (Or Don't Want One)
If you already have a criminal record, you could be facing increased jail time and fines, even if the charge is minor. If you don't have a criminal record, you'd probably like to avoid creating one.
A misdemeanor can prevent you from attending certain schools, getting jobs, and can even prevent you from obtaining professional licenses and furthering your career. Whether you have a record already or not, it is best to have an experienced attorney to represent you.
The Consequences Could be Life Altering
A misdemeanor conviction can lead to more than the creation of a record and possible jail time and fines. You could be faced with losing privileges associated with that charge (such as driving or hunting), and you can even be prevented from obtaining student loans and public benefits.
These consequences can extend beyond the conviction—even after you've done the time and paid the fines.
You Are Innocent
If you're truly innocent of the crime you're being charged with, no matter how small, you'll want an experienced criminal attorney to help you prove your innocence. In any criminal case, innocence is always assumed until proven otherwise, but it is the job of the prosecutor to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
When you work with a criminal defense attorney, you're not making an admission of guilt. Instead, you're equipping yourself with a lawyer who works only for you and presents the facts that will prove your innocence.
You Are a Minor
Consequences for minors will depend on past offenses, severity of the crime committed, and a few other things, but working with a criminal lawyer will ensure you get the least amount of consequences for your particular circumstances.
A criminal lawyer who specializes in juvenile cases can guide the family through the legal process and fight for the child's best interests. If jail time is recommended, an attorney may be able to negotiate alternative consequences, such as diversion program or community service that is directly related to the crime.
While a misdemeanor charge may seem like nothing, the consequences can be life altering. There may be some instances in which a defendant can represent themselves, but in the circumstances listed above, it is best to secure a criminal defense attorney as early in the process as possible. To learn more, contact a company like Kaiser Law Group with any questions you might have.