One of the most common misconceptions about the American justice system is that if you’re innocent, you won’t be convicted. Studies estimate that there are up to 230,000 innocent people suffering in prison today.
If you are accused of a crime, don’t become one of those people who put their trust into a system that failed them. instead of assuming that you will be acquitted or that you’ll receive a fair trial, you need an attorney even if you are innocent. Here are some of the most common reasons people hire lawyers.
1. Protect Your Rights Under the Law
Have you ever taken the time to read some of the legal statutes in Louisiana? They’re so complex that even some people with law degrees have a hard time understanding them.
As a person without legal training, you can’t expect yourself to understand all your rights or to see when they’re violated. A criminal lawyer, on the other hand, is well-versed in knowing your rights, spotting violations, and standing up for you.
2. Navigate the Complex Judicial System
Can you name all the stages your case will go through, from arraignments, to hearings, to sentencing? The answer is probably “no.”
Our judicial system is a complicated one, and you need someone on your side who knows every stage like the back of their hand.
A criminal lawyer doesn’t just guide you through the process. They also know how to strategize for each of those complex stages, motions, and hearings to give you the best advocacy possible.
3. Maintain Your Freedom
Freedom is one of those parts of life that we take for granted until it goes away. If you are convicted of a crime and sentenced to incarceration, you lose more than your freedom.
You also lose your sense of safety. You lose time with your family and your ability to have a job that makes you feel fulfilled and empowered.
Of course, some criminal charges are more likely to result in jail time than others. The worst by far are drug charges. In fact, over 45% of all US inmates are in prison due to drug charges.
If you’re charged with any crime, and especially one related to drugs, skipping attorney fees isn’t worth risking your freedom.
4. Get the Benefit of the Lawyer’s Connections
You’ve heard the saying that “it isn’t just about what you know, it’s about who you know.” That’s truer than ever in the judicial system.
When criminal lawyers have been practicing for a long time in the same community, they get to know the players and develop relationships. They earn respect from judges, who will take their motions more seriously. They learn about the prosecutors and their typical strategies.
In addition, your attorney has access to local resources that can help your case. They have expert witnesses, jury consultants, and other specialists who can come to your aid.
5. Prevent Future Consequences
When people think about the consequences of criminal charges, they think of jail time. If you’re convicted, though, your problems will extend far beyond your release date.
After your sentence, you’re likely to face discrimination in many aspects of life. Finding a job and feeling social judgment from everyone who learns of your history will be on the shortlist.
On top of this, jail time has major financial consequences. During your incarceration, your bills don’t go away even though you have no income to pay for them. For many convicted people, that means debt and evictions that will follow you for years.
6. Reach the Jury
For a criminal lawyer to be successful we need more than an intimate knowledge of the law in Louisiana. We need a unique blend of social skills and psychological insights as well.
When a criminal case comes down to a jury trial, you need an attorney who knows how to make an impression on a jury. We need to know how to select an effective jury, how to strongly appeal to them, and how to present evidence in a way they understand.
This is a skill that only comes from direct experience in the courtroom as a criminal defense attorney.
7. Make the Best of Any Situation
In any criminal case, there are many paths the situation can take. Your charges could be dropped or reduced before you ever get inside a courtroom. You could be acquitted of all your charges. You could be convicted despite all efforts.
No matter where your case goes, a lawyer can help protect your legal interests.
If you are convicted, a strong lawyer doesn’t stop fighting for you. We’ll prepare appeals and other legal actions to work toward your release.
In the meantime, we can also help to protect your rights in prison or jail. If you are ever victimized while you’re incarcerated, we’ll push to hold people accountable.
How to Know When You Need an Attorney
If you’re ever questioned, named as a suspect, or charged with a crime, it’s understandable that you may hesitate to call a lawyer. Some people are worried about the cost, while others think it will make them look guilty.
The fact is that hiring a lawyer is the only way to know that you have a qualified professional looking out for your best interests.
You have a lot to lose in any criminal case, from your freedom to your financial security. For all the reasons above and more, you need an attorney any time you’re involved in a criminal case.
To discuss your case and how we can help, call our Baton Rouge criminal defense lawyers today.