13 Oct Understanding the basics of criminal law
How to navigate criminal law and when to hire an attorney
Most people have a fairly good understanding of what is considered criminal activity. If you try to steal something or inflict harm to someone or their property, chances are you’re going to be caught, arrested, and fined for your actions. It’ll also put a stain on your record, potentially limiting your life choices and making it difficult for you to find employment.
However, everyone that is deemed a criminal is entitled to a defense to prove they are innocent and clear their name. In some cases, the judge may suggest a harsh penalty on you, even if you’re a first-time offender for a minor misdemeanor. With an expert on your side, you’ll find it much easier to navigate criminal law and escape jail time and possible fines while maintaining a clean record.
When should I hire a criminal defense attorney?
In most cases, you’ll want to hire a criminal defense attorney as soon as you’ve been arrested or charged. Here are a couple of situations where you may be wrongly accused of committing a crime and need to have a defense ready.
- Defending yourself from attackers or thieves
- Defending your property from intruders
- Defending someone else who was being attacked
- Being accused of wrongdoing
- Drug charges
- Driving under the influence
- Accusations of insurance fraud
- Theft charges
- Homicide charges
In short, you generally want to have a criminal defense attorney whenever there are serious charges levied against you. Having a seasoned criminal defense attorney that specializes in your particular situation will be a great help when it comes to clearing your name and ensuring that you walk away with no jail time or charges.
Keep in mind that some criminal defense attorneys are more specialized in particular fields. For example, there are many defense attorneys that specialize in DUIs. These are known as DUI attorneys and can help you avoid a driving license suspension, fines, or jail time.
What are the first steps to take if I’ve been charged?
If you’ve been charged with a criminal offense then it can be an incredibly stressful period. Here are the basic steps to take to help clear your name.
- Listen to the police and cooperate with them. The more you resist, the more likely the police will give you a hard time. If you continue to resist, you may risk getting injured or seriously harmed.
- Contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. It can help if you know a couple of local attorneys that you can call and ask to represent you.
- Exercise your right to remain silent. Until your lawyer arrives, you don’t want to give any unnecessary information that could be used to incriminate you.
From here, you’ll be working with your attorney to identify key witnesses and develop a defense strategy that you can to clear your name.