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If I Am Arrested, Should I Hire an Attorney?

Key Takeaways:

  • You have the right to legal representation before questioning by police.
  • A lawyer can give you legal advice, negotiate with the prosecutor, and fight for your rights in court.
  • Ask about the defense lawyer's experience to find out if they're the right one for you.

If you are arrested and are facing criminal charges, you should consider contacting a criminal defense attorney. Hire a lawyer as soon as you learn there is a criminal investigation. A lawyer can represent you through the entire criminal process.

States have different criminal laws and court procedures. Contact a criminal defense lawyer for legal advice to answer questions about your criminal case.

Why Should I Hire an Attorney?

Whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or a serious felony, having an attorney will make a big difference. An attorney can help in many ways, including:

  • Giving you advice on how you should proceed during the criminal investigation
  • Assessing whether the conduct of law enforcement conduct was legal
  • Negotiating with the prosecutor for a plea bargain
  • Keeping your information confidential (attorney-client privilege)
  • Representing you in court
  • Making sure you get a fair trial

When Should I Hire an Attorney?

If a police officer arrests you for allegedly committing a crime, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. If you are under arrest, you will probably be brought to a judge for a court appearance called an arraignment. In an arraignment, you will be called before the judge, and you will hear the charges brought against you.

Before the arraignment, your attorney can help you understand the charges and advise you on how to proceed. This can include deciding whether to plead guilty or not guilty. Your attorney can also negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecution to avoid or minimize jail time. Your attorney can also help you preserve important information and evidence to build a good defense.

How Do I Hire a Lawyer if I Am Already Arrested?

You have the constitutional right to an attorney in the criminal justice system. If you cannot afford one, you can get a court-appointed attorney. You have the right to legal representation before questioning. When you are arrested, inform the police that you want to speak to an attorney.

If you have worked with a criminal defense lawyer before, you should contact them. If you don’t have prior experience with criminal defense attorneys, you can call other lawyers, family members, or look into lawyer referral services.

How Much Does It Cost To Hire an Attorney?

The cost of hiring a criminal defense lawyer depends on the attorney’s experience, the law firm, and how complicated your case is. The cost will also vary depending on whether you only need a consultation, a one-time court appearance, or representation at trial. Most attorneys will charge you either hourly or by a flat-fee arrangement.

What Do I Do if I Can’t Afford an Attorney?

If you are charged with a crime, the state may appoint a public defender to represent you at no cost to you. To qualify, your income must be low enough to be indigent. An indigent person is one who cannot hire legal representation without causing substantial financial hardship for themselves or their family.

If you think you qualify for a public defender, you can request one at your first court appearance. If you qualify, a lawyer will be appointed for you. If you are found guilty, the court may require you to repay some or all the cost of your defense if it determines you can.

How Do I Choose the Right Attorney for My Case?

Hiring the right attorney can make all the difference when coming up with the best possible defense for your case. Consider the following before hiring an attorney for your criminal case:

  • The attorney’s legal experience in criminal law
  • Attorney costs and their options are for payment
  • Whether the attorney has handled cases similar to yours
  • The number of cases the attorney has
  • Whether the attorney can provide references from previous clients

You can meet with multiple lawyers before deciding if the attorney is the right one for you. Ask for an initial consultation before hiring an attorney after an arrest. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to find out about your legal options.

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