criminal defense attorney

Having the right representation is crucial in any legal manner. But when you are charged with criminal offenses, it’s more important than ever. A criminal defense attorney can help you with every step of the legal process. The sooner you contact an attorney, the better. Even before charges are formally filed, a lawyer can help you get ahead in your case and take the steps needed to avoid or minimize penalties. Criminal charges can be devastating, even if you aren’t convicted. Working with the right defense attorney can help you protect your rights and your future.

Who Needs a Criminal Defense Attorney?

Criminal defense lawyers work on building defenses for clients facing criminal charges. A criminal charge is any offense that violates federal, state, or county laws. Because each state and county can have variations on certain laws, it’s crucial that your attorney understands the laws of your case. Typically, cases are handled within the court system where the alleged offense took place. If you face criminal charges, even if you weren’t officially arrested, a defense lawyer could help defend your case and reduce penalties.

Criminal charges include, but are not limited to:

  • Shoplifting
  • Criminal Mischief
  • Assault
  • Theft

What an Attorney Does for You

Contacting your attorney as soon as possible is crucial to help improve your case. If you are arrested, you have the right to contact your legal representative and remain silent until speaking with them. As you likely already know, anything you say can be used against you in your hearing. That’s why it’s important to speak with a lawyer first to ensure your rights are protected and your case is off to the right start. Along with protecting your rights when you’re arrested, your attorney can do so much more for you in the early stages of a case.

Explaining Legal Procedures and Arranging Bail

If you are arrested for a crime, it can be confusing to know what will happen next. Depending on the crime committed, you may be held in jail until your initial hearing. Other times, an arrest is simply there to process your information and set your initial hearing date. Either way, talking to your lawyer can be extremely helpful. Your attorney can gather information from the arresting officer and explain the legal process to you. Your lawyer can also help negotiate the initial hearing that determines what charges you face and if you can be released from jail. If a judge decides that you need to meet bail in order to be released, your attorney can help you make arrangements.

Gathering Early Information

The more information and evidence you have before going to court, the better. In some cases, you may even have your case dropped early on due to documents provided by your lawyer. Gathering all the information you need can be confusing and taxing, but your attorney already knows what to get and how to get it. They’ll contact police officials, legal representatives, and other interested parties to help gather information and secure evidence for your case. The earlier you start this process, the more effectively you and your lawyer can build your defense.

Photo by Thomas Lefebvre on Unsplash

Representation in Court

Going to court and attending trials or hearings can be nerve-wracking. While you are not required to have an attorney, it’s always better to have representation than not. Courts can and do provide free legal representation if needed, but if you can afford to hire a criminal defense attorney, then you should. Public defenders are often overworked and less effective. A private defense attorney can better devote their time and energy to your case to help ensure it’s a success.

Can a Criminal Defense Attorney Help if You’re ‘Guilty’?

Facing charges for a crime and being convicted of a crime are two different things. But just because a court may rule ‘guilty’ for your charge doesn’t mean your lawyer’s work is done. Getting convicted of a crime means facing penalties and having a criminal record. 

Lowering Penalties

Even if you are convicted, you don’t have to face the full penalties. In many cases, arguments can be made that lower the harshness of the penalties. Sometimes, your attorney may even be able to lower the degree of criminal charge you face, allowing you to receive fewer penalties overall. The right attorney will look at your case from all angles to find the best course of action to help minimize the punishment you face if you are convicted.

Expungement

When you’re convicted, your arrest and conviction go on your permanent record. This can affect your ability to get a loan, find a job, or even enroll in higher education. Depending on the severity of your crime, you may be able to file for an expungement after serving your sentence. Typically, you need to wait a few years before you can file for expungement. Once that time has passed, however, your attorney can help you navigate the court process to improve your record.

Where to Find a Criminal Defense Attorney

If you face criminal charges, you don’t have to deal with the courts alone. Attorney Leon Matchin is an experienced and dedicated criminal defense attorney in NJ who can help defend your case. Call him today at 732-887-2479 or send an email to [email protected] to schedule a consultation about your case and start working on building up your defense.