How do you know if you need a criminal defense lawyer? In today’s society, where crime rates are at an all-time high, you may be asking yourself this question more often than you’d like to admit. If so, it can be helpful to know what sort of situations might call for the help of an attorney specializing in criminal defense—and how to tell if your case falls into that category. Your lawyer will help you understand what you’re up against, the best protection available to you, and all your options for moving forward. But how do you know if a lawyer is essential? Here are some signs that you need a criminal defense attorney:
1. If Police Have Arrested You
Being arrested can be a confusing and overwhelming experience, especially if you’re unfamiliar with how to navigate legal proceedings. To ensure that you can provide an adequate defense for yourself or your loved one, you should seek out legal representation from an experienced criminal defense lawyer in your area.
If the police have brought charges against you, this is perhaps one of the most obvious signs that you will need legal counsel. If there is any chance that your case could result in time behind bars, it’s crucial to have someone on your side who understands how local courts operate and who knows how to build a strong case on your behalf.
2. If You Have Received a Subpoena to Testify as a Witness
If you’ve received a subpoena to testify in court, there’s an important decision to make– whether or not you need a criminal defense lawyer. Your testimony can be either;
- Exculpatory means helping prove your innocence, or
- Inculpatory, meaning helping prove that you’re guilty
That’s why seeking legal counsel is so important—your testimony could have huge ramifications on your case. Dealing with a subpoena requires careful consideration; if you choose to ignore it and don’t show up, you’ll face contempt charges.
3. When You’re Under Investigation
You probably need a lawyer if you face criminal charges and are under investigation. The law is complicated, and what seems like an open-and-shut case might not be as simple. One way to determine whether or not your situation requires legal representation is by considering whether or not you have to stand in court—or whether or not your rights are being affected.
For example, suppose law enforcers have arrested you, but they haven’t formally charged you with a crime yet. You have no standing in court until they file charges. In other words, at that point, your rights will be at stake. You may also have a chance to appear in court if they’ve already charged you with a crime, even if you haven’t gone to trial. They have violated your right to due process, so it’s time to talk about hiring a defense attorney.
4. Police are Questioning You
You don’t have to answer any questions. If you do decide to talk, exercise your right to remain silent. Under certain circumstances, you may also have an opportunity to speak with an attorney before questioning begins. However, it would help if you tried not to say anything other than giving your name and address. If you decide to talk and then change your mind and choose not to answer questions or make a statement, anything you say can be used against you later in court.
Also, even if you’ve already answered some questions but feel uncomfortable about proceeding further without speaking to a lawyer first, tell the police officers that you’d like to stop answering their questions until you talk criminal defense lawyer. When police are arresting you: Don’t resist arrest! Please keep your hands where police officers can see them.
5. Law Enforcement Officers Have Filed Charges Against You
No matter how insignificant they may seem, criminal charges can have a lasting impact on your life. It is essential to know what you are up against and how to move forward. A criminal defense lawyer can help guide you through these difficult times and provide you with legal representation if necessary.
At times, you may need a criminal lawyer for advice purposes only since not all cases appear in court. Suppose authorities have charged you with a crime or believe that they will charge you in the future. Lay a solid foundation by working with a reputable lawyer in case of any eventuality.
If you are in any of these situations, you should contact a criminal defense lawyer. Whenever you’re facing legal trouble of any kind, from minor speeding tickets to sex crimes, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side. The best way to know if you need one is to consult with someone that knows more about criminal law than you do—if there’s ever any question in your mind, it’s time to call an attorney and start working towards getting you back on track. An excellent attorney will be able to help guide you through court proceedings.