This article is by Michael Kotik – a premier Philadelphia criminal attorney. Being charged with a crime is never a positive experience. Some crimes are relatively low level legal issues that do not necessarily carry a jail sentence. This means that having a criminal defense attorney is not a legal requirement when there is no chance for a jail term and the only punishments are financial. However, this can still present a problem for an individual who pleads guilty because it generates a criminal history that the defendant may not have from prior legal situations. Merely having a criminal history for misdemeanors can be problematic in the future, as those convicted of certain seemingly small crimes can still be denied public housing, gainful employment or government benefits in certain conditions.
Do You Need a Clean Criminal History?
Having a clean criminal history can be a very important component of maintaining your good name when there are prospects for a bright future. And in some instances, those who are already gainfully employed in a professional field may actually have to leave that earning platform, which becomes a very expensive addition to a fine even when no jail sentence is included. This is especially true for industries like truck driving that require an even stricter adherence to rules of the road. Even a DUI charge can put a career on hold for several years. Your need for a criminal attorney always depends on the material case facts and the potential negative outcome following the conviction.
Can You Avoid a Jail Sentence?
Jail terms are common with many criminal charges, and always apply when felony charges are leveled by the state or federal government. All defendants in criminal cases are required by law to have some form of professional legal counsel who is effective and adequate according to the rules of the court. This evaluation assessment can be a problem when defendants are represented by a court appointed pro bono attorney, or even when the court requires the defendant to pay a minimal legal fee in addition to any sentencing. Going to jail can result in lost wages, or even employment in some situations. This just adds insult to injury when fines are included additionally as part of the punishment. Being on probation or parole can present trouble too for some convicted individuals, especially regarding drug charges. Even in misdemeanor cases, the defendant can receive up to one year in jail although it does not produce a felony record. Always remember that probation is often not available for those who have a prior record, so avoiding the conviction at any ate can be vital for the defendant.
What Can an Attorney Accomplish?
Many times having a reputable attorney handling a criminal case means that a full investigation can be conducted in the defendant’s behalf, establishing a counter argument and version of events. Many charges are applied on borderline or inadmissible evidence when the arresting police officer or the prosecutor are over-zealous in seeking a conviction. Prosecutors are not required to respect the rights of the accused beyond the basic assurance that a pro bono attorney will at least be representing your case. Pro bono attorneys are commonly actual employees of the same state that is pressing the charges and they must deal with the prosecutor every day on a wide variety of cases. This never bodes well for the defendant and many times an appointed counsel will walk the defendant directly into a conviction for professional protection. Defendants in criminal cases always need an attorney who will investigate the evidence, question the officers, and negotiate aggressively with the state attorney, including with illegal search and seizure cases. This may also include taking a case completely to trial, which prosecutors hate and appointed attorneys are reluctant to complete.
Always remember that retaining a criminal defense attorney to fight a criminal case is really an investment in the future of the defendant, but it is important to choose one with a solid track record of proven results for their clients. This is especially true regarding dismissed cases because of weak or inadmissible evidence. Prosecuting attorneys do not appreciate being upstaged in court, and having an attorney who is more concerned about the client than the perception of the prosecutor is an important quality for the right attorney. Always get a criminal defense attorney, and get a good one who can potentially win an acquittal or get a case dismissed completely.