Are you charged for DUI or driving under the influence or any other criminal offense? Being charged can be a terrifying thing. The consequences can be serious. It may jeopardize your future.
In this article, let’s understand some facts about criminal law: who needs a criminal lawyer; how to find one and are there lawyers offering free services?
Who Needs a Criminal Defense Lawyer?
You will need a criminal defense attorney if you are charged with either misdemeanors or felonies.
Misdemeanors are less serious offenses like petty theft, prostitution, public intoxication, simple assault, misconduct; trespassing, reckless driving, possession of marijuana, possession of certain drugs.
Felonies are more serious than misdemeanors and include offenses like murder, rape, kidnapping, treason, aggravated assault, arson, robbery/burglary, various forms of fraud, distribution of certain types of illegal drugs; possession of illegal drugs; grand theft.
If you are arrested respect law enforcers. Avoid being very aggressive and loud behavior. Cooperate with the law enforcers giving them your basic information like name, address. Never talk to anybody about your case. Tell the law enforcers “you need to talk to your lawyer”. This signals them to stop talking to you. Ask for a dedicated criminal defense lawyer like Matt Gould.
How Do You Find a Criminal Defense Lawyer?
There are two types of criminal defense lawyer: private criminal defense attorney and public defense attorneys. If you can not afford to pay a private lawyer, the state will provide you with a public defender.
Find a private criminal defense lawyer if you can afford. They are typically practicing their profession in your locality. Most practicing private defense lawyers had several years of experience as district or city attorney or public defender.
Defendants are advised to hire an experienced lawyer from their locality because, although the law is the same among states, the difference lies in local courthouse procedures. They know well the procedures, the lawyers of the opposite parties and the police officers in charge with the client’s case.
It’s best that the lawyer handled a similar case like yours in the locality. Because of the complexities of the criminal law, lawyers focus or specialize in particular offenses. One lawyer may be an expert in handling drug offenses, another with tax fraud or embezzlement.
You can ask to be referred to a friend of your family member or friends. It would be best that you find somebody you are comfortable with since you will be dealing with him until your case closes.
At the first meeting evaluate if you can openly talk and communicate with him. Can you see him sincerely wanting to help you?
Free and Low-Cost Criminal Defense Lawyer
A lot of people need lawyers but can not afford to hire one. Who can help them?
There are groups who are providing low cost or free legal defense:
Public defenders are appointed by a judge if the defendant can not afford to pay for a private criminal defense lawyer. He will be assigned to your case until the first appeal if you lost the initial case.
Legal Aid and Nonprofit Groups
They provide free legal services to people below a set income level. You have to apply to know if you are qualified. If you belong to the fairly low income level then you would surely qualify.
Pro Bono Services
They are private practitioners who set aside time to work for free. Their services are available for those are really poor and belongs to very low-income level.
Being charged with a criminal offense may jeopardize your future. If you can afford, hire an experienced criminal offense lawyer from your locality.