If you are arrested and charged as a criminal, it means that you might have hurt another person physically or mentally, stolen property, driven under the influence of alcohol, or you've committed a related offence. These crimes can further be divided into three categories based on severity:
- Felonies—These are the most serious crimes; they can even carry a life sentence or the death penalty.
- Misdemeanours—These may not be as serious as felonies, but you can serve a sentence of at most one year in jail.
- Infractions—These crimes may not carry a jail sentence. You might, however, be required to pay a fine.
If you've been arrested, read on to learn more about how to handle a case with a criminal lawyer.
What Should You Do When You Are Arrested and Charged as a Criminal?
Hire a criminal lawyer as soon as possible before you say anything. You, however, need to know what you are being charged with; this is crucial in knowing which criminal lawyer to contact. As indicated above, there are different types of crimes; because of this, you may find different criminal lawyers specialising in different types of crimes. For example, you can find a criminal lawyer who specialises in tax evasion and another who specialises in theft cases.
What Should You Consider When Hiring a Criminal Lawyer?
As indicated above, ensure that they specialise in the crime you are charged with. Then, find out the success rate of the criminal lawyer you want to hire. Ask the lawyer how many trials they have run previously and how many they've won. The higher the numbers, the better. You want a criminal lawyer who has experience; this means that the chances are high that you might win or get a small sentence.
Be sure to ask the lawyer about their fees. Of course, if your lawyer is ranked highly (wins many cases), and your case is tough (most likely a felony), expect high fees. On the other hand, misdemeanours and infractions may not carry high fees.
What Happens If You Cannot Afford a Criminal Lawyer?
The court usually appoints a lawyer for you if you can't afford one. However, don't expect the lawyer to be as good as the one you would have hired. It is recommended to try and find a relative or friend who can help you hire a top-rated lawyer, especially if you are innocent. For more insight, contact local criminal lawyers.