SHOULD I STILL HIRE AN ATTORNEY IF I THINK I’M GUILTY?
Money. It’s inevitably one of the main reasons defendants avoid hiring an attorney. The truth is yes, attorneys are expensive, but not having one can cost you far more money, time, and trouble in the long run.
If you are facing criminal charges in the Kingston, New York, area, you will want an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you. Let’s take a closer look at the considerations for entering a guilty plea and the reasons to hire an attorney, even if you think you are guilty.
Possible Consequences of a Guilty Plea
The majority of people I speak with who believe they are guilty of a crime truly feel terrible about their mistake. Typically, early conversations with a criminal defense attorney center around expressing feelings of shame, embarrassment, and the desire to get the situation over with as quickly as possible. While I am continuously humbled by how remorseful people can be, those that choose not to hire an attorney more quickly enter a guilty plea and often accept a bigger punishment than they really deserve.
Knowing the full scope of pleading guilty is critical to your understanding of what your life will look like post-conviction. Even though the case might be resolved quickly and you feel relieved that it is over, the consequences of a guilty plea are real and will impact your future in a number of ways. Here are a few:
Maximum jail or prison sentence
Fines and restitution
Loss of driving privileges
Loss of career certificate
Inability to buy or possess a firearm
Loss of parental rights or custody of children
Ultimately, a guilty plea is the same as being convicted after a trial. It is imperative that anyone contemplating a guilty plea be aware of the wide array of consequences of such an act.
Reasons to Hire an Attorney
Even If You Think You’re Guilty
Personalized Advice — an experienced criminal defense attorney can analyze the evidence and circumstances of your case, discuss the potential consequences, and provide the best defense to protect your freedom.
Burden of Proof — In every criminal case, a defendant is innocent until proven guilty. This means that there must be clear and convincing evidence that the person in question has, in fact, committed the crime. An attorney knows the difference between admissible and inadmissible evidence and will fight to ensure any evidence used is accurate and relevant to the current crime.
Negotiate on Your Behalf — Experienced attorneys know sentencing issues, are familiar with the court system and prosecutors, and can negotiate the best possible outcome on your behalf. An experienced attorney knows how to fight to minimize the consequences to their client.
Alternatives to Jail — Depending on the circumstances of your arrest, your attorney can advocate for a diversion program or alternative sentence. Alternatives to jail include community service, probation, house arrest, inpatient rehabilitation, and work release.
Consulting with Your Defense Attorney
Despite what you like or don’t like about the legal system, there comes a time when you’ll need to consult with a lawyer. I understand this is a big and scary step for many and there are two tips you should consider to make the start of the legal process a whole lot less stressful for both you and your attorney.
Be Honest — Don’t buy into the myth that attorneys don’t want to hear the truth or have some secret code to argue innocence for someone they know is guilty. Above all else, be honest, always. Remember, your attorney can’t share anything unless you explicitly permit them to do so.
Speak Less, Listen More — Legal jargon can be confusing. When you are facing criminal charges, don’t pretend to know it all or try to craft the perfect answer. Remember, you and your lawyer are on the same team. Allow the attorney to guide the conversation and explain things in layman's terms.
Legal Advocacy You Can Trust
Being accused of a crime is a highly stressful situation. No matter what type of charge you face, there are always options. Rather than take on the legal system alone, get legal advocacy you can trust. Make the right choice and contact the Melanson Law Office today.
At the Melanson Law Office, I defend clients facing criminal charges in Kingston, New York, and in neighboring areas of Hudson, Catskill, Highland, Poughkeepsie, Saugerties, and New Paltz.
Fight for your defense today by either calling me or connecting online to start discussing your options.