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What To Do When You’ve Been Charged With a Crime

September 6, 2018 Criminal Law and Procedure

Being charged with a crime is stressful. Often a person has no idea what happens next. A criminal charge can change the course of your future, as there are many collateral consequences a person can face. Such consequences can be for future employment, housing, immigration, or driver’s license. This is in addition to possible jail time, probation, and fines and costs.

So what should you do if you’ve been charged with a crime? Not to sound self-serving, but hire a lawyer. Don’t just hire any lawyer. Hire a criminal defense attorney.

Many Different Kinds of Attorneys

There are many types of attorneys out there. Some attorneys practice only criminal defense. Some attorneys practice only family law. Other attorneys might represent businesses. And then there are attorneys who may practice in different areas, such as a combination of estate planning, family, and criminal defense. There would be no reason to ever hire a non-criminal defense attorney for a criminal case. Why take that risk? While criminal defense seems straightforward, that’s only because the goals and objectives of criminal defense are straightforward. Other than that, criminal defense is increasingly complicated and specialized.

If a lawyer only practices in the area of divorce and custody, why would you think that lawyer would make a competent criminal defense attorney? Or even worse, what the type of lawyer that doesn’t regularly appear in court. Many attorneys, such as insurance defense attorneys, claim to be “litigation” attorneys. The reality is those attorneys rarely actually step foot in a courtroom, and if they do it is on an infrequent basis. Many types of attorneys who focus on transactional work – wills, trusts, contracts, etc – may never even step foot in a court room. Stay away from an attorney who doesn’t go to court regularly or is not a courtroom attorney at all.

Why You Should Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney?

A criminal defense attorney will have experience trying criminal cases, negotiating plea bargains, and regularly evaluating situations in criminal cases with an eye toward eventual litigation of plea negotiation. Other types of lawyers will not have this experience. Lawyers who dabble in criminal defense may only have a vague idea of what persuades judges and juries. These dabbling attorneys will be at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to appearing in the courtroom. A lot hinges on a successful outcome – don’t risk that with an attorney who isn’t experienced in criminal defense.

Why Should I Hire an Attorney Right Away When I’ve Been Charged With a Crime?

Back to the original question presented at the top of the page – what should I do if I’ve been charged with a crime? Again, not to be self-serving, but hire an attorney right away, and hire a criminal defense attorney – not someone who dabbles in criminal defense or practices a completely different field of law but wants a quick pay day.

Anyways, there are several advantages to hiring an attorney right away. First, the more time the better. The more your attorney works on the case the better result there will be. An attorney can get to work right away undertaking investigations, filing freedom of information requests, and researching the law. Many courts now impose timelines designed to speed up their docket with the unintended (or cynically, probably intended effect of making criminal defense attorneys jobs harder). An attorney who gets going right away can work to stay ahead of the curve to get as much possible work on the case before trial.

Second, your memory is fresh. You would think that an incident leading to an arrest and a life-altering charge would stand out in your memory. You actually might be wrong. Many people are not charged with a crime until months and months after an arrest. Then, there’s more months before a case goes to trial or may get to a substantive part of the case. People often forget details. And the devil is in the details for criminal cases. Obtaining representation sooner may help sharpen your focus to capture all those necessary details for the future.

Call Us For a Free Initial Consultation

Initial consultations are always free. Call us to see how we can help. We will sit down and discuss the law, your options, and the legal process. Charged with a DUI? Carrying a Concealed Weapon? Assault and Battery? We’ve represented people just like you on a wide variety of criminal charges. There is no charge we would hesitate to represent someone on. Our job is not to judge you – that’s what everyone else does. We represent you. We will fight for the best possible outcome in every situation. If you want to go to trial we do not shy away from a tough fight.

Call us at 734-883-9584

Call Sam Bernstein at 734-883-9584 or e-mail at bernstein@arborypsilaw.com.

Sam Bernstein is a Criminal Defense Lawyer.

ArborYpsi Law is located at 4158 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48108.

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