If you have been charged in a criminal matter, you may have been advised to get some help from a criminal defense lawyer. However, many defendants are not fully versed on what such an attorney can do for them. To learn about the legal help that goes beyond arguing on your behalf in court, read on.
They Can Argue Your Case
It's what most defendants expect from their lawyers — to stand up in court and defend them against charges. Make no mistake, criminal defense lawyers are usually skilled in courtroom practices. They know who should be questioned along with what questions will solicit the right answers. However, so many criminal matters don't ever come to trial. The work your lawyer will do on your behalf begins the moment they begin to investigate your case.
A good case is built on evidence. Evidence can be plentiful or sparse but a conscientious effort to locate witnesses and more is a key task that begins quickly. Your lawyer will also contact the state attorney's office and ask about evidence the state has against you. That evidence will need to be challenged as part of fighting the case. A thorough investigation will take place to find evidence showing that you did not commit the crime you are charged with committing.
Instead of going through the expense and delay of going through a trial, many cases are resolved using a plea bargain. This process results in a fast end to your case because you agree, on paper, to plead guilty to a certain charge and are almost immediately sentenced. In theory, the bargain is that your charges may be reduced, and your punishment lowered with a plea bargain.
Criminal defense lawyers know how to deal with plea bargains because that is the preferred way to settle cases. However, your lawyer will work to obtain for you the best deal possible. They will use your criminal record, the seriousness of the crime, and the evidence the state has (or doesn't have) to get you a true bargain. You must know, though, that you are entitled to a trial, and you are under no obligation to sign a plea deal.
If you decide to go to trial, your lawyer will proceed to prepare for discovery proceedings. This is when the sides formally exchange information and evidence about the case. Depend on your lawyer to advise you every step of the way regardless of the route to take to justice.