Facing criminal charges can have many people panicking. You may have a good idea of what plan of action you want to take but don't know how to do that. This is understandable. The California criminal justice system can be hard to navigate if you don't have education or training in law. If you are going to plead guilty or no contest to your crime, you may not feel like an attorney is a worthy investment. However, if you want to contest your charges and plead not guilty, hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney will be money well spent. It is difficult for defendants in a criminal court to successfully defend themselves and contest their charges. This isn't just due to lack of legal skill; sometimes prejudices or biases within the criminal justice system can work against your favor. For example, if you have had prior run ins with the law, even if you have never been convicted of a crime, you might have more work to do to in order to contest your charges. It isn't just your actions that are being scrutinized in court; it is your character as well. If you have a record that reflects poorly on your character, for example if you've had a string of arrests, you may want to hire an attorney who can work to improve the court's view of your character. They may be able to argue that since your prior legal issues, you have turned your life around and have been a contributing member of society. If convincing, this can go a long way towards either reducing your charges or lessening your punishments. Here is where an experienced criminal defense attorney will come in handy. In law school, lawyers learn not just the law but how to argue in court. It is hard to argue in your own favor in front of a judge. An attorney can do that for you and has experience and training in legal argument. Having a skilled attorney attest to your character can help your chances of a favorable outcome. You can try to do this alone, however if you are serious about fighting your charges, hiring an attorney is a smart idea.
Also, if you are unclear on any part of why you are being charged, the evidence being held against you or what your rights are, consulting with a criminal defense attorney who knows criminal law is important. Understanding the law is half the battle. If you understand the elements of your case that are crucial to the prosecution, you will know what elements to challenge in court. Arguing about details that won't make a difference in your case can weaken your defense. Similarly, not understanding what must be proven to convict you can be a missed opportunity. If you know what the prosecution needs to prove to convict you, you can strategize your defense. If you don't feel confident about doing any of this alone, hiring a criminal defense attorney will be indispensible to you. As well, a good criminal defense attorney will be able to anticipate any responses from the prosecution and will be able to formulate a strategic rebuttal in advance. Many people may think that a good attorney is not affordable to them. If you are facing criminal charges and cannot afford an attorney, ask to be appointed a public defender. A public defender is an attorney who helps those who cannot afford private attorneys. However, depending on the complexity of your case, you may have a better chance at a favorable outcome if you hire an attorney who specializes in the crime you are being charged with. For example, there are criminal defense attorneys who specialize in DUI defense. If you are serious about fighting a DUI charge, hiring one of these attorneys may mean the difference between a charge and a dismissal. California laws are open to the public however knowing how to interpret them and challenge them takes skill. While you have the right to represent yourself in criminal defense cases, it is always advisable to speak to an attorney before appearing in court.
If you or a loved one has recently been arrested and are facing criminal charges, call experienced Visalia area criminal defense attorney Christopher Martens today for expert counsel. Attorney Martens has over 10 years experience as a criminal defense attorney and will not be afraid to take your case all the way. At The Law Offices of Christopher Martens, we can listen to your story and help you prepare a strategic defense to ensure you the best possible outcome for your case. Contact our Visalia or Hanford offices at 559-967-7386 or email us at [email protected] to discuss a possible plan of action for your case.