You or a loved one has recently been accused of criminal wrongdoing. You are feeling a sense of dread about the future and a sense of panic about the present. What should you do?
Although it can seem obvious in retrospect, it can be difficult to put your finger on the one effort that will make the most difference to your situation when you’re overwhelmed by your circumstances.
The first step you’ll want to take in answering the question “What should you do?” is to speak with an experienced and reputable criminal defense attorney.
Do I Really Need A Lawyer?
Even though you might be panicking about your situation generally, you still may be – understandably – hesitant to seek professional legal guidance. Legal services cost money, which you may not have. You may have had previous interactions with lawyers that left a bad taste in your mouth. You may also be concerned that your case isn’t “significant enough” to warrant professional assistance. As a result, your hesitation may be holding you back from receiving personalized insight that could ultimately make or break your case.
Unless you are only arguing a minor traffic ticket or a simple disorderly conduct charge, the answer to the question “Do I really need a lawyer?” – for better or for worse – is “Yes.” The stakes of all but the most innocuous criminal accusations are far too high to risk. By working with an attorney who is worthy of representing your precious interests, you can better ensure that you aren’t burdened by penalties in response to your alleged crimes, collateral consequences that could affect your family, employment, housing, and social life, and a criminal record that could hang around your neck for the remainder of your life.
Can’t I Do What A Lawyer Does?
If you are the kind of person who approaches challenges with an “I can do it myself!” attitude, that is generally a good thing. Taking a “DIY” approach to many problems can save you a great deal of money. However, there are reasons why “the professions” – including medicine, architecture, finance, and the law – are heavily regulated and require many years of initial and ongoing education. Some tasks shouldn’t be attempted by laypersons.
Just as you wouldn’t try to pulverize your own kidney stones with shockwaves – you’d leave that task to a physician – you shouldn’t assume that you’re capable of doing what a lawyer does simply because it seems like less technical work than that undertaken by doctors, architects, and certified accountants.
The truth is that the legal system is not designed for self-representation. Yes, individuals are generally permitted to represent their own interests if they choose to. But simply because a courthouse will allow you to present your case in a way that a hospital would not allow you to treat yourself doesn’t mean that taking advantage of this opportunity is a good idea.
Neither a judge nor administrative staff will “slow down” on your behalf. You’ll be expected to know everything that lawyers know about filings, pleadings, decorum, procedures, and more, even though you don’t have any legal experience. And, because your matter is a criminal defense matter, the prosecutor assigned to your case –who likely prizes their win-loss record – will almost certainly do what they can to hang you out to dry.
What Should I Look For When Searching For Representation?
Suppose you accept the (sometimes frustrating) reality that you will need legal representation to best position yourself to win your criminal defense case. In that case, your next step is to find an attorney whose character, approach to representation, reputation, location, and availability meet your needs.
First, you’ll want to ensure that anyone with whom you are interested in working is local to you. This seems like a pretty obvious consideration, but it can get easy to fall down a search results rabbit hole only to discover that an attorney you like practices 60 miles away.
Second, you’ll want to make sure that they focus their work on defending against the kinds of charges you’re facing. For example, some criminal defense attorneys only take cases involving federal charges or drunk driving. If an attorney doesn’t represent cases like yours, move on to the next name in your search.
Third, you’ll want to research a potential candidate’s reputation. Everyone gets negative reviews at some point, but an excessive number of negative reviews or a history of disciplinary action may be reason enough to move on to the next candidate.
Fourth, you’ll want to take a little time to look over their website. Does the law firm’s “vibe” match what you’re looking for? Law firms tend to express quite a bit of company personality on a site; you can tell a lot by scanning it. Is it professional looking, for starters? Are there multiple attorneys on staff? Has the company been in business long?
Finally, schedule a consultation if a firm seems like a good fit. You’ll be able to ask questions and get a far better sense in person as to whether an attorney’s approach will fit your needs.
Schedule A Free Consultation With A Reputable Michigan Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
At George Law, our knowledgeable and experienced attorneys take great pride in advocating aggressively for our clients’ interests. Whether a person has been accused of misdemeanor or felony offenses, our dedication to securing the most favorable outcome possible under the circumstances remains unwavering.
To learn more about your rights and options – as well as our firm’s approach to criminal defense representation – schedule a free case evaluation by calling (248) 247-7459 or by submitting a contact form on our firm’s website. Our firm’s website also features a convenient chat opportunity that is available 24/7. We understand that you can’t afford to let “just anyone” represent you. Connect with our team today to discover why we’re likely to be just the lawyers you’re looking for when your future is at stake. We look forward to speaking with you.