If you have been arrested and accused of a crime, you have the right to have an attorney present for any police questioning and to protect your rights in the course of a police investigation. Often if you can’t afford an attorney you can ask for a court appointed attorney but this won’t guarantee you the same quality of legal representation that hiring your own attorney can.
If you have been accused of a crime your best chance to avoid jail time and having a permanent criminal record which can impact your future ability to work, is to ensure your criminal defense attorney is able to do the job you need done. Often court appointed attorneys are underpaid, over worked and appointed to represent more clients than they can devout one on one attention to. What this ultimately means for you is that your attorney may be highly competent and believe in your innocence but may be unable to give your case the care it needs.
Since it is your freedom and your future at stake, hiring your own attorney should not be something you are willing to forgo, no matter how much of a financial burden it may be. Your criminal attorney is there to ensure your constitutional rights are upheld with every police contact and interview and to ensure you don’t incriminate yourself in an attempt to explain yourself. Many people who are arrested mistakenly believe they can talk their way out of an arrest and in the process waive their constitutional right to counsel and incriminate themselves in a crime.
Even innocent people have been convicted for crimes they didn’t commit so having an attorney does not indicate a sign of guilt; rather it shows you want to help in any investigation to clear your name, while you protect yourself and your rights.
When you are looking for a criminal lawyer, you should find out the attorney’s going rate and what they think it will cost to represent you through to a trial. You want to hire the best attorney you can afford to hire but you also need to have an idea about what the bottom line will be.
You should also make sure any attorney you decide to hire has actual courtroom experience time. Most criminal cases end in plea deals; so many lawyers don’t have any actual courtroom experience that you see on television court dramas. If you are not willing to consider the possibility of a plea deal early on in your case and want to go to trial, you want to ensure your attorney is able to do so effectively.