If you find yourself arrested or being investigated for a crime, hiring a criminal defense attorney is critical for several reasons.
1) KNOWLEDGE: A skilled criminal defense lawyer knows the law-both statutory and case law as well as the rules of procedure. A good criminal defense lawyer also knows the prosecutors, judges, and the local justice system. They understand the impact on your case that each of these factors will have and can provide you with the best legal advice based on their expertise.
2) PROTECTION: An integral part of a criminal defense lawyer’s job is to protect your rights. The Florida and United States Constitution provide similar but not the same protections. A skilled criminal defense lawyer will know when and how to assert your constitutional rights to your advantage. They will advise when best to pursue trial, when to remain silent, and most importantly ensure that you are treated fairly.
3) STRATEGY: A skilled criminal defense lawyer will evaluate and assess all of the evidence, the good and the bad, identifying weaknesses as opportunities and challenges as potential pitfalls. A good criminal defense lawyer will develop a defense strategy tailored to the details of your specific case. This can lead to dismissal, reduction of charges, or establishment of plea negotiating leverage.
4) NEGOTIATING: Perhaps the most overlooked skill of a good criminal defense lawyer is the ability to negotiate. There are some cases where evidence can seem overwhelming. A skilled criminal defense lawyer is also a skilled negotiator and may be able to negotiate a favorable result with the prosecutor.
5) COURTROOM ADVOCACY: Every meaningful stage of the criminal justice process is held in open court. Bond Reduction Hearings, Motions to Suppress, Motions to Dismiss, Motions to Produce Evidence, Motions in Limine, and even Trial, are each litigated in open court. A skilled defense attorney will be articulate, eloquent, and an effective oral advocate. This is required to make persuasive presentation to the State and to the Judge. This is necessary to achieve a favorable outcome.
6) COUNSEL: The criminal justice system is intimidating. It can be an anxiety ridden and overwhelming experience. Having an experienced and skilled criminal defense attorney on your side guiding you and explaining every step of the process is an invaluable resource.
Criminal charges can affect your employment, your rights, your freedom, your driver’s license, your mortgage/rent, your car payment, your kids, your future, and your relationships. A skilled criminal defense lawyer will not only defend you and your rights but will also counsel and help navigate all of the collateral consequences.