Most people have heard the phrase “You have the right to an attorney,”—even if only on TV—but how many people know what a defense attorney actually does during criminal proceedings? We explain the role of a criminal defense attorney and why you should seriously consider hiring one if you are facing drug or driving under the influence (DUI) charges in Florida.
What a Defense Attorney Does
You have rights when you are arrested and charged with a crime. The right to an attorney is an important one to be aware of because it is the job of your attorney to ensure that all of your other rights are protected. The following are just some of the things a qualified defense attorney will do for you at each stage of a criminal proceeding:
- If you are under investigation for a crime but have not yet been charged, an attorney can advise you on what you should and shouldn’t say, protect you from illegal searches, and generally make sure your rights are not violated.
- Once you are charged, your attorney may be able to get the charges dropped if there is insufficient evidence. If the charge stands and a judge orders that you be detained until the trial, your attorney can argue for a reasonable bail amount for your release.
- The prosecutor is likely to offer a plea bargain, where you plead guilty in exchange for a reduced sentence. Your attorney can negotiate with the prosecutor to get you the best possible deal and will advise you on whether you should take it or go to trial.
- If your case does end up going to trial, your attorney will, of course, argue for your acquittal. Representing yourself in a criminal trial is never a good idea, particularly when you are facing jail time. Your defense attorney will gather evidence, call witnesses, question the state’s case against you, and utilize various other legal strategies to get you the best possible outcome.
- If you are found guilty, your attorney will argue for the lowest possible sentence given the charges against you. He may call character witnesses to help convince the judge that you do not deserve the maximum sentence.
- If he believes there is cause, your attorney can begin the process for an appeal to try to get the verdict overturned.
It is important to realize that an attorney who has been with you on your case from the time of your arrest will be much better prepared to fight for you than an attorney who joins after your trial has already begun.
Criminal Charges Must Be Taken Seriously
If you are arrested and charged with a DUI, drug possession, or drug dealing in the Jacksonville area, call the Clifton Law Office. If our experienced criminal defense attorney believes he can help you, he will take your case and fight for your right to fair treatment by the criminal justice system. Call us today.