If you are facing criminal charges in Los Angeles, you may feel unsure of what happens next. Your first step should be to seek the help of an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Not only do criminal defense attorneys know how to build a successful defense case, but they can also provide peace of mind during a stressful time. Read on to learn more about how a criminal defense attorney can help if you’ve been charged with a crime in L.A.
What Does a Criminal Defense Lawyer Do?
A criminal defense lawyer is responsible for representing their client’s interests and protecting their rights in and out of court. They should thoroughly investigate each case they take, prepare and file legal documents, negotiate with prosecutors, and develop strategies for their client’s defense. They should have an in-depth understanding of the applicable laws, precedents, and legal procedures, which they can use to identify potential weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and fight for the best outcome possible. In short, a criminal defense attorney can protect your rights, help you understand your legal options, and increase the chances of obtaining a favorable outcome in your case.
Why Do You Need a Criminal Defense Lawyer?
A criminal defense lawyer’s job is to safeguard your rights and freedoms, regardless of your guilt or innocence. Navigating the criminal justice system is not easy, and there are many places where small errors could have big consequences. A criminal defense lawyer can ensure your constitutional rights are upheld so you get the fair treatment you’re entitled to.
When you hire an attorney, they will investigate your case, the circumstances of your arrest, interview witnesses, and develop a robust defense on your behalf. Good defense lawyers should also have working relationships with the District Attorney’s office and local prosecutors. Depending on the crime, an experienced defense lawyer could get your charges reduced or dropped entirely. When a dismissal is not possible, your lawyer can negotiate a plea bargain for the best outcome under the circumstances.
Benefits of Hiring a Criminal Defense Lawyer
Hiring a proven criminal defense lawyer is always advisable when someone is charged with a criminal offense. Doing so can make a substantial difference in your case’s outcome and potentially help you avoid the most severe penalties associated with criminal prosecution. Here are some of the key benefits of hiring a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles:
- Knowledge of the law – A criminal defense lawyer is a highly trained legal professional who knows the intricacies of the California Penal Code and can identify the best way to protect your rights. Hire one who has handled plenty of cases similar to yours and knows what defense strategies might work best.
- Skillful negotiations – A defense attorney can use their experience to negotiate with prosecutors to try to reach a plea agreement, reduce the severity of the charges, or even have the charges dropped.
- Legal guidance – Criminal defense lawyers have a deep understanding of how the judicial system works, which is invaluable in court proceedings and can affect how your case is ultimately resolved. They will explain the law and answer any questions you may have.
- Skilled representation – Having an experienced criminal defense attorney represent you in court can significantly improve your chances of success. Your lawyer can present your case effectively, cross-examine witnesses to expose holes in the prosecution’s argument, and protect your rights throughout the trial.
- Access to resources – An experienced criminal defense lawyer will also have connections to resources that can help strengthen your case, including expert witnesses like detectives, toxicologists, and forensic scientists. They can also review the evidence to ensure it was collected ethically and there were no signs of police misconduct.
Difference Between Public Defender vs. Private Criminal Defense Attorney
When facing criminal charges, it is wise to consider all your options for legal representation. In Los Angeles, you can work with a public defender or retain a private criminal defense attorney. The state assigns public defenders to applicable cases. This can be a cost-effective option for some, but you will not have a choice in who your counsel is. Furthermore, public defenders have large caseloads and may not have as much time or resources to dedicate to their cases as private criminal defense lawyers.
Many private criminal defense attorneys have more specific knowledge and experience in criminal law. As a result, they can often provide more dedicated attention to your case and build a stronger and more nuanced defense. When going this route, you can also get to know your potential attorneys and choose who you feel will best handle your case.
Is Representing Myself a Good Idea?
Representing yourself in court is not a good idea, especially when criminal penalties are in play. Even if you think you know the law and court procedures, there are complexities that only an experienced criminal defense lawyer can understand and successfully navigate. Criminal defense attorneys have extensive experience in court, understand the local courts and procedures, and can negotiate better deals than someone unfamiliar with the system.
At the Law Offices of Justin E. Sterling, we strongly advise letting an experienced lawyer handle your defense if you’re accused of a crime in Los Angeles.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a Defense Attorney Today
If you or someone close to you has been charged with a crime in Los Angeles, you deserve to have the help of a qualified criminal defense attorney. The stakes are simply too high to forego the valuable legal protection a lawyer has to offer.