Every country has laws that must be respected by its citizens. Any breach of these laws may lead to criminal charges being preferred on the culprit. For instance, every citizen or legal resident has the right to privacy, any breach of this right, either through stalking, or infringement by law enforcement authorities, can lead to criminal proceedings. Aside from national, or federal laws, there are also state, county and city laws that must be respected. If you find yourself on the wrong side of the law, it is important you hire someone who is an expert in that field to give you legal advice and represent you in court as well as during the interrogation by investigators.
Why Hire a Lawyer?
It is your constitutionally guaranteed right to have legal counsel whenever you are charged with a crime. Even if you cannot afford it, the state will provide a defense attorney to represent and defend you throughout the case. Before the police can start interrogating you, your attorney must be present.
While it may be your right to have an attorney, you can waive this right by asking to represent yourself. However, this is never a good idea because you will also waive the right to appeal the ruling in case you are found guilty. Therefore, you should always hire a competent lawyer as this will give you the chance to appeal the ruling or sentence if you are found guilty.
Unless you are a qualified lawyer, your knowledge of criminal law, legal statutes, penal code, procedural law and all other matters relating to law is limited. You are, therefore, not competent to argue the case in court. This is the main reason why you need to hire a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney to represent you.
Another important reason why you should hire a lawyer to defend you is the fact that peers can easily negotiate a legally binding deal. If you are charged with a crime and would like to get a lesser sentence by pleading guilty to the charges, it may be a great idea to hire a defense lawyer to negotiate with the prosecutor to ensure you get the best deal possible. If you decide to negotiate on your own behalf, you may get a raw deal.
Lastly, criminal charges usually come with prison sentences, the vast majority of them at least. Since you do not want to go to jail, it is important you employ the services of the most competent legal representation to ensure you get a non-guilty verdict. In fact, the best lawyers know how to get cases dismissed before they proceed to full trial.
What to Look for in a Lawyer
Only lawyers who have been licensed by the local bar association to practice in California should be considered. This is important because laws differ from one state to another, so you want to be represented by someone who is well-versed with local laws and has been licensed to offer legal services to local residents. Besides, a lawyer who has not been licensed to practice in California cannot appear in local courts on behalf of their client.
2. Area of Practice
There are many types of lawyers. For instance, there are family lawyers, constitutional lawyers, real estate lawyers, commercial lawyers and so on. When you are facing criminal charges, therefore, you should only shortlist lawyers who have specialized in criminal law. In fact, you should give priority consideration to criminal lawyers who have been certified by the state’s bar association as criminal law experts. Furthermore, you should pick a lawyer who has specific interest and focuses on the type of criminal charges you are facing, whether murder, a drug-related case or a sexual harassment case among others. This will ensure you get the best legal representation possible.
The number of similar cases as well as the number of years a criminal defense lawyer has been in business matters a great deal. These are the two measures of experience that you need to look at before making a decision. You want to be represented by someone who has been in the industry for long and has handled hundreds of similar cases.
Some attorneys are respected and feared because they are known to be knowledgeable, strategic, concise and precise in their arguments. When a prosecutor meets such a lawyer, they may be more inclined to put a great deal on the table. The reputation of a lawyer can also influence the judge and jury. Therefore, you need to take your time to find the most respected lawyer as this will improve your chances of getting a favorable outcome.
5. Legal Fees
Unless you have deep pockets, it is important you compare the hourly rates quoted by the attorneys on your shortlist. This is important as it will enable you to identify an attorney whose services you can comfortably afford.