What Can You Expect from the Best Criminal Defense Lawyers ?
A criminal defense lawyer has many jobs. In addition to calling witnesses in your defense and cross-examining witnesses that the prosecution puts forward, your criminal defense attorney may also:
Work with you and the prosecutor to negotiate a "deal." These deals, also known as "plea bargains" can often reduce your potential sentence or eliminate some or all of the charges brought against you. However, prosecutors are often unwilling to negotiate with defendants that represent themselves.
Figure out a good sentencing program for your situation. In the event that you are found guilty, your criminal defense attorney may be able to work your sentence in a way that would prevent you from winding back up in the criminal justice system. For instance, instead of going to prison for 10 months, your criminal defense attorney may suggest that you go to prison only for 6 months and spend the remaining 4 months in a drug treatment facility to help you with the drug problem that landed you in trouble in the first place.
Help you with the emotions that often go along with criminal trials. Defendants in criminal prosecutions often feel embarrassed, depressed, and fearful and can also suffer from low self-esteem.
Provide you with a reality check. Defense lawyers often know what is going on much better than you will during your criminal trial. Defense attorneys have the advantage of remaining objective throughout a proceeding and can offer insights into how the trial is actually going and what is likely to happen in the near future. These assessments and reality checks are often essential when a criminal defendant is trying to decide whether or not to accept a prosecutor's plea bargain.
Point out important legal rules and regulations that you would most likely never find on your own. Many rules and laws about criminal prosecutions are buried within regulations and laws, and even prior court opinions. For example, if you were to represent yourself, you may never know if the search that the police conducted of your apartment was lawful or not without understanding the many nuances and intricacies surrounding the 4th Amendment of the United States Constitution.
Navigate your case through the state legal system where your case is being heard. In addition to written rules, such as the local rules of court, that must be obeyed and followed, there are often many "unwritten rules" that go along with each jurisdiction. For example, if only certain prosecutors are able to make and approve plea bargains, your criminal defense lawyer may save you time (and maybe even jail time) by talking to the right person the first time.
Explain about some of the "hidden costs" that come along with pleading guilty. Many people that represent themselves never think about the consequences of pleading guilty if it could lead to a shorter sentence. For example, if you plead guilty, you may find it very hard to find a job once you have completed your punishment.
Be able to more easily gather evidence and statements from witnesses that are going to be called by the prosecution. Many witnesses, understandably so, refuse to give statements or information to people that were allegedly involved in a crime, for fear of their own safety. However, these witnesses are often much more willing to talk to an attorney about their upcoming testimony.
Find and hire investigators that can investigate not only the alleged crime but also the witnesses that the prosecution is going to call to the stand. If these investigators can find evidence that would make a witness's testimony less believable, this could help your case tremendously.
Find and hire "expert witnesses" that may be able to present evidence that would tend to show your innocence or rebut evidence that the prosecution presents which would make the prosecution's case less credible.