Being under investigation for a crime or charged with a crime can be a frightening and confusing ordeal. Sometimes, because of the confusion, it’s hard to determine when to hire a Durham lawyer.
Oftentimes, many people are unsure of exactly when they need to call upon criminal law attorneys. Other times, a defendant might not be able to afford a criminal defense lawyer. In these instances, the defendant will be assigned a public defender. Whatever your situation may be, a criminal defense lawyer is critical if you intend to dispute criminal charges.
Why is a Durham Lawyer Important?
Criminal law is made up of a complex body of legislation. Failing to understand your rights as a defendant and the charges against you can result in severe punishment. This is especially true if you are charged with a felony and face felony punishment, which usually includes more than a year in prison.
A Durham lawyer understands criminal law and can do a number of things to benefit you even before the commencement of a criminal trial. For example, a criminal defense attorney can:
- Challenge your arrest in instances where police officers claim to have had probable cause.
- Argue in favor of your being released on a reduced bail.
- Negotiate plea bargains with prosecutors.
- Analyze the strengths and weaknesses of your case.
- Discuss the pros and cons of going to trial with you
- Go over what it means to plead guilty.
- Determine the advantages and disadvantages to pleading guilty.
When to Hire a Durham Lawyer
According to attorneys.com, “To understand when you may want to retain a criminal defense lawyer, you should have a basic understanding of the criminal justice process.
Usually, the first stage of the process is the investigation. This can be as simple as a police officer observing a car speeding down the highway or as involved as forensic evidence collection and the questioning of witnesses.
In many investigation situations, such as the speeding car scenario, a person doesnt have time to contact an attorney while the investigation is taking place. However, if you know you are the subject of a criminal investigation, you may want to retain a criminal defense attorney to prepare for a possible arrest
The next basic stage of the criminal justice process is the arrest. An arrest does not mean you have been formally charged with a crime. Arrests can be made under several conditions, including if the officer has probable cause. Probable cause is a reasonable suspicion that you committed a specific crime. At the time of arrest, the arresting officer will notify you of your right to an attorney. If you are considering challenging an officers claim to probable cause, then this is the stage at which you would likely want to retain a criminal defense lawyer.
An arraignment follows an arrest. The arraignment is the formal presentation of charges in open court. By the time arraignment occurs, you will definitely want to have an attorney. During the arraignment you will enter your plea of either guilty or not guilty. That means you should have already discussed your case strategy with your attorney. In addition, this is the stage where you and your attorney may want to discuss negotiating a plea bargain. A plea bargain usually entails the defendant pleading guilty to a lesser crime than what he or she was initially charged with in exchange for a reduced sentence.”
In the end, it is best to hire a lawyer as soon as possible. To talk with Durham lawyer, Kevin Jones, about the situation you’ve found yourself in, contact us! Our law office is here to help you through your situation.