There are a number of reasons that someone may need the help of a criminal defense lawyer. A good one is not cheap, but a conviction on your record can cost you over and over for the rest of your life. First of all are the very real possibilities of large fines and time behind bars. However, even misdemeanor convictions can keep you from getting a good job. Although many potential employers will tell you that they will only check back through 7 years of your criminal history, that is largely a myth. When a criminal history report is generated your ENTIRE criminal history will be visible. Whether an employer admits it or not, your history will influence your chances of being hired no matter how far back the charges or convictions may have occurred. Many offenses will keep you from being able to rent an apartment or condominium.
Prior convictions will cause law enforcement to scrutinize you more closely if you are suspected of or charged with a crime in the future. It may influence sentencing in future cases and can wreak havoc in your life in many ways. These days, people even check criminal history reports before going on a date for the first time. In other words, if the need arises you need to defend yourself vigorously to achieve the best outcome possible and the best way to do that is to hire the best defense attorney you can find and can afford.
The most common areas where people may need the assistance of a criminal defense attorney are:
- Domestic Violence- In some domestic violence cases, false accusations are made out of spite or to further the alleged victim's own agenda. In a divorce proceeding, for example, a mother may claim spousal abuse in order to harm her husband's credibility in a custody battle.
- DUI and DWI Cases- When are stopped by a law enforcement official for suspicion of drunk driving, there are defined rules which must be followed prior to and during the stop. A violation of procedures may be a violation of your rights and might significantly weaken the prosecution's case against you. Look for a defense attorney who specializes in this area of criminal law. They will look for the following:
- Was there probable cause to stop you
- Was a breath test properly administered
- Was the person administering the test qualified to do so
- Was the test equipment accurate and functioning properly
- Juvenile Crimes - In the case of juvenile charges, a criminal defense attorney is needed who knows how to work within the juvenile system. You need a good negotiator and someone who is skilled at getting the charges reduced or dropped.
- Federal Charges - The time to hire a good attorney in federal cases is ideally while an investigation is under way prior to charges being filed. Federal charges are generally serious and carry stiff penalties. An attorney who is experienced with the federal criminal justice system and understands the investigative process and procedural steps is critical to initiate a good defense. Some of the most common legal problems associated with federal charges include:
- Medicare and Medicaid fraud
- Drug conspiracy
- Mortgage Fraud
- Money laundering
- Tax fraud
- RICO Act and Racketeering Crimes
When you are faced with criminal charges or under investigation, an experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney can help you protect your rights. A criminal defense lawyer who understands the law, the process and has experience in the area of criminal law which applies to your situation can help you evaluate your options and make the right decisions.