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Do I Need a Criminal Defense Lawyer if I’m Innocent?

Do I Need a Criminal Defense Lawyer if I'm Innocent?Our justice system is based on a person being innocent until proven guilty.

However, there are innocent people in prison that would tell you the system does not always work.

For that reason, it is always in your best interest to consult with a criminal defense lawyer, even if you are innocent.

There is No Minor Crime or Criminal Charge

HandcuffsThere is no such thing as a minor crime. If you are under investigation or you are arrested, call a criminal defense attorney immediately.

You might be innocent, but that does not mean you do not need a criminal defense lawyer. If you are convicted of a crime, including DUI, assault, sex crimes, white-collar crimes, or theft, you have a criminal record.

Even if you do not serve jail time and only receive a fine and probation, your criminal record follows you around for the rest of your life.

Depending on the crime, a criminal record could prevent you from living where you want to live or obtaining the job of your dreams. Some criminal convictions negatively impact custody cases or prevent you from obtaining a professional license. You could lose your right to vote and possess a firearm if you are convicted of a felony.

Protect your future by hiring a criminal defense lawyer immediately.

What Should You Do if You are Under Investigation for a Crime?

You could be the subject of a criminal investigation for months before an arrest is made. White-collar crimes and drug trafficking cases can take months to investigate. During that time, your activities could be under careful monitoring.

If you have any reasons to suspect that you are under criminal investigation, talk with a criminal defense attorney. Your attorney advises you what steps to take to protect yourself. He also informs you of your rights regarding search warrants, being detained by police, police interrogations, probable cause, and other matters.

Even if your lawyer is unable to discover very much about the investigation, he can guide you through the process to help you avoid mistakes that could make the matter worse.

What Should You Do if You are Arrested?

Being arrested is not the same thing as being judged guilty. You are innocent until the state proves the legal elements for the crime. However, juries are unpredictable.

Remain Calm and Be Polite

It is normal to protest being arrested when you are innocent. The thought of being put in jail for a crime you did not commit is terrifying. The police officers might act aggressively to try to intimidate you into saying something about the alleged crime.

Instead, try to remain calm. Be polite to the police, but do not answer questions. Do not resist arrest or argue with the police officer because that could result in additional criminal charges, including resisting arrest.

The Right to Remain Silent

People who do not follow this advice get into trouble. Never give a statement to the police or answer questions for law enforcement officers without an attorney present.

When a person is innocent, the urge to clear his or her name can be overwhelming. They believe if they can explain their side of the story that the criminal charges will disappear. The police officers and the prosecutor will understand what happened and drop the charges.

That is not how it works. The more you say to the police, the stronger your chance of being convicted of a crime.

The police can lie to you to obtain information. Do not fall for this trick. No matter what the police tell you, or how many questions they continue to ask, exercise your right to remain silent.

You Have the Right to Legal Counsel

Continue to remain silent after your arrest, except for asking for a lawyer. You have the legal right to consult with an attorney before answering any questions or making a statement. If you can afford to hire a criminal defense lawyer, ask to make your phone call as soon as possible.

If you cannot afford to hire a lawyer, the court appoints an attorney to represent you upon your request. You cannot choose your attorney.

Posting Bail

You want to get out of jail as quickly as possible. You are innocent, but you are locked up and scared. It is natural to want to post bail and get out of jail as quickly as possible.

However, wait until you talk with a criminal defense lawyer. Your attorney analyzes your case and advises whether the things he can have bail reduced, make a deal for home detention, or have the charges dropped.

If the judge requires a bond, you must have a bonding agent post bond for you. The money you pay to the bond agency is non-refundable, even if you are innocent.

Therefore, talk with an attorney before you post bail. You could save yourself and your family money if your attorney can work out a lower bond amount or a more favorable release agreement.

Prosecutors and Police Officers Rush to Judgment

The police want a suspect in custody to close their case. In some situations, they might rush to judgment. If they have a suspect, they might stop searching for the guilty party.

Prosecutors have one goal. They want a conviction. Prosecutors are not your friends, and they do not represent your best interests.

You could shout your innocence from the rooftops, but law enforcement officers and the prosecution are not likely to listen to you. They have their “man” in custody, so they do not listen to anything you say unless they believe they can use it against you to prove you are guilty.

From the moment you are arrested, the prosecution will do everything within its power to convict you, even if you are innocent.

How Can a Criminal Defense Lawyer Help You if You are Innocent?

Innocent or not, you need a strong defense to fight the criminal charges against you. A criminal defense lawyer can help you fight the criminal charges by:

  • Explain your legal rights and how the criminal court works
  • Investigate the charges against you
  • Determine if your civil rights were violated at any point during the process
  • Identify witnesses and gather statements and evidence
  • Research case law and criminal statutes applicable to your case
  • Explain your options and the potential consequences of the options

With the help of a criminal defense attorney, you can fight to prove your innocence. However, if a conviction is unavoidable, your lawyer negotiates a plea agreement with the most favorable sentencing terms possible.

If you decide to go to trial, your criminal defense lawyer prepares for trial and aggressively advocates for you in court. He presents the most vigorous defense possible to convince the jurors of your innocence.