This article is by Aaron Wallenstein, an NYC DWI attorney. How do you know if you need a criminal lawyer? If you are charged with a crime, it is imperative that you have someone to represent you and protect your rights. Often a person being charged with a crime for the first time does not realize how important it is to get legal advice. This mistake can cost not only your freedom and possibly a large amount in fines but your reputation. If convicted, the crime can stay on your record for many years.
Why you Need a Criminal Lawyer
A criminal lawyer represents people who have been or are going to be charged with a criminal offense. This can include misdemeanors as well as felonies. Hiring a criminal lawyer should be your first step before talking to anyone else about the charges. A criminal attorney is needed for any crimes against others such as murder, rape, assault, kidnapping, burglary, and robbery to name a few.
Crimes against individuals are called “offenses against the state”. Although the crime may have only been committed against one person, the state will prosecute. Rather than an individual filing charges against the accused, the prosecutor files the charges for the state. Individuals file charges in civil cases.
There are other crimes that require a criminal lawyer. White collar crimes are generally filed by the federal government. This is because they usually are committed in a way that involves crossing state lines. Sometimes states will also file charges. Some of these types of crimes are:
- Identity theft
- Money laundering
- Credit card theft
All of these are serious crimes that need the expertise of a criminal attorney. Many can carry maximum penalties of life in prison depending on the crime. White collar crimes are different in the way that sometimes people are charged due to their association with a particular company or person. This does not make the charges any less serious. Being accused of this type of crime can have grim consequences even if you are not found guilty. The damage to your reputation and career can be devastating.
How a Criminal Lawyer can Help
A criminal lawyer has the expertise needed to conduct an investigation into all types of crimes. They can conduct interviews with witnesses and others to obtain information. They will research all aspects of the case. A criminal lawyer explains all the procedures to the client including what could happen during and after the trial.
They represent their client by trying to prove their innocence by gathering evidence. Before the trial they can help with getting a bail reduction. They can sometimes get charges reduced and plea agreements may be negotiated. Sometimes they can help get sentences reduced to probation rather than jail time. They can also make sure that your rights have not been violated because law enforcement must follow certain procedures. If not, charges may have to be dropped.
Criminal law is one area of the law just as the medical profession and other careers have specialties. When facing a criminal charge it is important to find a criminal lawyer to explain the entire process. This can be a very stressful time and most people are not familiar with everything a criminal charge entails.
A criminal conviction can seriously affect your life and your family’s life. The prosecution will do their best to prove that you are guilty of the crime. This is why you need the expertise of a good criminal lawyer that will do their best to prove that you are innocent.