Why You Should Have a Criminal Lawyer for Your Case

It isn't mandatory to have a lawyer when facing every criminal matter. For instance, contesting a speeding ticket or defending yourself in small claims courts can be done without lawyers. However, for more serious crimes and cases, not having the assistance of an experienced criminal lawyer places you at a distinct disadvantage. The following are some of the advantages of criminal lawyer representation when you're facing a criminal charge:

Pleading not guilty

When criminal charges are brought against you, you have the choice of pleading guilty or not guilty. If you're pleading not guilty, the following are some ways the lawyer can help your case:

  • Depending on the facts of your case, a lawyer can contest the charge on grounds that you've been charged with a more serious offence than justifiable. He/she will negotiate to have the charges dismissed or reduced, lessening your culpability
  • He/she will advise you how to plead, given the facts of your case. Without legal knowledge, you may think you're guilty and that confessing is the best way to present your case. However, there are mitigating facts and exceptions for every case, and based on these, the lawyer will tell you how to plead
  • When you have a strong case against you, you need an experienced criminal defence lawyer to ensure you have the best chance at a verdict in your favour. He/she will exploit technical loopholes, explore similar past cases and put forward the best defence for you
  • He/she examines the prosecution's case, including evidence against you and how it was acquired – sometimes the police can acquire valid evidence through unlawful methods, and such evidence shouldn't be allowed into the record against you
  • He/she will cross-examine the witnesses produced by the prosecution to determine whether they are really presenting the truth. He/she will also present witnesses and gather evidence in your favour and make persuasive submissions based on his/her knowledge of the law and previous judgments in similar cases

Pleading guilty

  • Even when pleading guilty is your best recourse, the lawyer can present mitigating facts to reduce the judge's sentence or negotiate a deal with the prosecution to improve your standing
  • Knowing what the judge wants to hear, the lawyer will present your confession and facts surrounding the case in the best possible light and steer clear of statements and justifications that will anger the court
  • He/she will bring in character witnesses and references to show the court your life aside from the crime, which can help to mitigate the severity of your sentence
  • Retaining a lawyer shows the court your seriousness concerning the matter. Even if you're confessing, having a lawyer shows that you're committed to improving the outcome of the case

Making your decision

Every case is unique because each person comes with unique circumstances surrounding the case. Without intimate knowledge of the law, you won't know how to best use these circumstances to your advantage. While the cost implication is significant, the better outcome will make the investment worth it. Consider what's at stake for you and your loved ones. You can also ask the lawyer whether or not you qualify for some legal aid to help with the cost.