Being charged with a crime is an extremely stigmatizing event. Many times, mistakes are made, and innocent people are charged. Even if you have some responsibility, even if you are guilty an attorney can help make sure your rights are protected, and that you are dealt with fairly.
Misdemeanors and Felonies
Misdemeanors are crimes punishable by one year or less in the county jail. Felonies are crimes which carry a maximum sentence of one year or more in state prison. Both types of charges have ramifications above and beyond imprisonment.
Help from Day One
An attorney can help from the moment you realize you are in trouble. If you are contacted by law enforcement, you may wish to contact an attorney to make sure you are treated fairly. This can prevent you from being taken into custody and having to spend time in jail, awaiting a bond hearing.
An attorney can help secure your release from jail during the duration of your case. In felony cases, an attorney should represent you at a preliminary hearing, to make sure the state has probable cause to charge you with the alleged crime.
No Substitute for Trial Experience
You should make sure that the attorney you have retained has trial experience, and is willing and capable of having the matter tried before a jury. If the District Attorney does not provide a fair offer, a jury trial may be the only way to clear your name. Trial experience could mean the difference between going home, or going to jail.
Early intervention can sometimes prevent charges from ever being issued. An attorney can make sure that your rights are being adequately protected.