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Do I Need A Lawyer When I'm Charged With A Crime?

If I Am Charged with a Crime, Do I Need a lawyer?

I consistently hear this one question from prospective clients: "Do I really need a lawyer for this case?" I never recommend that a person handle their own criminal matter. This may seem somewhat self-serving, given that attorneys make a living representing people, but there are significant advantages to hiring a lawyer for your case.

One of these advantages is having another person speak on your behalf. It is important that another person be able to relay the facts of your case to a police officer or prosecutor without it being considered an admission of a crime or fact. This allows you to avoid self-incrimination, while what your lawyer tells the police cannot be used against you as a self-incriminating admission. Plus, your attorney can strike a more positive tone, and will be received in a better light than you will be, especially if you're speaking to the officer who arrested you.

Many defendants believe that they can handle their case through self-representation just by simply reading law books that define crimes and mandate courtroom procedures. In reality, there is a big difference between paper and practice in criminal cases. The practice of criminal law can't be understood simply by reading books to understand the system.  Instead it requires a lot of practice under the pressures of a courtroom. To a criminal defense attorney, the law appears much as a drop of water appears under a microscope to a biologist - a spectacle of life interacting in sporadic and unpredictable movements.

When you Hire an Attorney, you're hiring someone who knows the area of law under which you've been charged. In other words, you're hiring an expert.

Bottom line: the legal system can be confusing, and even if you've done all the research on your case, there's no substitute for having an experienced attorney advocate on your behalf.

This content was written on behalf of Greg Prosmushkin.

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