Do You Need a Criminal Defense Attorney?
Have you been accused of a sex crime? Arrested for possession? Are you close to someone who has committed sex crimes? There are all sorts of reasons why you may need a criminal defense attorney. The time to contact a lawyer is as soon as you have been arrested or questioned by the police. Do not hesitate and do not wait. Most importantly, do not answer any questions from the police until you have had a chance to speak with a criminal defense attorney.
When Do You Need a Criminal Defense?
It's a common misconception that hiring a lawyer will make you look guilty if you have been committed of a crime. The truth is, you need someone with experience on your side if you've been accused. Many people are accused of a sex crime and other criminal charges, arrested, and/or questioned by police. The FBI estimated that in 2016, there were 1,572,579 arrests for drug law violations in the U.S. That's just for drugs, not to mention all those other crimes that are committed every day. That's a lot of people being accused of a crime, and many of them don't understand the ins and outs of the legal system.
A criminal defense attorney does. These individuals study for years to understand how the legal system works. They know how to file paperwork, mount a defense, and get charges reduced to help their clients. Because of the attorney-client privilege, you can tell your lawyer anything. Even if you admit to multiple crimes, including murder, your criminal defense attorney is obligated to keep that information private and never reveal it to anyone -- not even the police. Any lawyer who violates the attorney-client privilege faces being disbarred and never being authorized to practice law again.
Any time you have been accused of or questioned about a crime is a good time to contact a criminal defense lawyer. You can obtain a lawyer for free when you have been charged with any crime. It is provided by your state and it is a right that everyone has under U.S. law.
How to Find an Attorney
If you cannot afford to hire your own criminal defense lawyer, you are entitled to a free, court-appointed attorney. If this is what you want, repeatedly tell the police officers who are arresting you/questioning you that you need an attorney. Say nothing else and answer no questions. Keep repeating your request to receive representation, and they will eventually appoint a criminal defense attorney to your case. Speak to no one but this person. Do not talk to friends and family on the phone about your case or your crimes, as conversations taking place in a prison or jail, even over the phone, can be recorded and used against you.
If you can afford to hire your own criminal defense attorney, you may not know how to go about doing it. Attorneys who specialize in personal injury law, for example, advertise their services. Criminal defense lawyers, however, do not advertise nearly as much or at all. This makes it hard to know where to turn if you've been arrested or named as a suspect in an ongoing criminal investigation of any type.
Look online to find a drug offense attorney, a federal sex crimes attorney, or a standard criminal defense lawyer. You can use specific search criteria to find someone with a lot of experience handling cases like yours. Or, you can run a general search to find a criminal defense attorney with experience in all types of cases. Tell potential lawyers what you're being charged with and find out their fee. Only when they agree to be your criminal defense attorney do you have the protection of the attorney-client privilege.