Sometimes legal trouble can strike unexpectedly. When it does, it can be hard to decide whether the moment has arrived when you need to hire a criminal defense attorney.
You might be worrying about the cost of an attorney in Michigan but also realize that you need some help. Knowing what an attorney can do for you and when you need to hire one can help you make those crucial decisions when the time comes.
What does a criminal defense attorney do?
An Ann Arbor attorney is your ally. This is the person with experience in both state and local laws who can help you understand the legal situation and defend you in a court system that is hard to navigate if you are not familiar with it.
The law can be very complex, and your criminal defense attorney is someone on your side with a wealth of experience in understanding the Ann Arbor court system, all the legal ramifications of any action, and precisely what needs to be done and when. Your attorney is there to make sure you are treated fairly, to defend you when you are falsely or improperly accused, and to mitigate the consequences of charges made against you.
When should you hire an attorney?
In an ideal world, you would be able to hire an attorney the moment the police arrest you. The world is not ideal, however, and you may not even realize an arrest is coming until the moment it arrives. If this has happened to you, you should try to talk to an attorney as soon as possible.
While no lawyer can guarantee you the outcome you want, the sooner you get professional legal help the more likely it is that you will get a favorable outcome. There are certain situations where the only wise choice is to get the help of a lawyer approved by the Michigan state bar.
At the first sign of trouble
If you have been charged with a serious crime, the sooner you reach out to a criminal defense attorney the better. Whether you have been released or not, you will be assigned an arraignment date, typically within 72 hours, and you will want to contact an attorney quickly to prepare for your arraignment.
The arraignment is a hearing where the charges are explained and you choose between pleading guilty or not guilty. After this hearing, you often get to meet with the prosecutor who is making the case against you; and in many cases, the prosecutor will offer you a deal at this point.
When you have to talk with a prosecutor
The prosecutor and the entire legal system have a wealth of knowledge and experience at their disposal. They have brought charges many times and against many people. They know precisely how to get what they want. They also fully understand the consequences of the choices they are putting before you, even if you do not.
Unless you are trained in the law, you are at a distinct disadvantage in talking to the prosecutor about your charges, your options, and any deals the prosecution may be offering. You need a defense attorney to help you understand the ramifications and whether you should fight or make a plea bargain.
When the consequences are far reaching
One type of charge is the misdemeanor, which includes things like petty theft, drug possession, and vandalism. Though a misdemeanor generally carries lesser penalties than a felony, you will want to consult with an attorney if it is not your first offense, if there are aggravating circumstances, or if you are innocent.
The other type of charge is felony, which includes things like fraud, arson, aggravated assault, rape, murder, or grand theft. If you have been charged with a felony crime it is crucial that you have a capable criminal defense attorney no matter what the circumstances may be.