Why You Need a Criminal Defense Attorney on Your Side
If you are facing a criminal charge – even what you may think of as a relatively minor criminal charge – you are well-advised to have an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. Not only does a conviction come with penalties and fines, but it is also a matter of public record and can significantly affect your social standing and your bright future. Taking criminal charges of every kind seriously is always the best course of action.
Common Criminal Charges in the State of Texas
While criminal charges come in many different forms, some are far more common than others.
Larceny-theft is the legal term for theft, which refers to the unlawful taking of someone else’s property. The penalties and fees associated with theft are generally dependent upon the value of the stolen goods, and the level of the charge can range from a misdemeanor to a felony – with fines that begin at $500 and extend all the way to $10,000 and with sentences that stretch as far as 20 years behind bars.
The charges of burglary and theft are often confused, but there are considerable distinctions. Burglary involves the commission of a felony, theft, or assault in the process of entering someone else’s private property. The charge levied depends upon the value of the stolen property and/or the nature of the property that was illegally entered, and these charges can range from state jail felonies all the way to first-degree felonies. Fines can be as high as $10,000, and sentences can reach the level of confinement for life.
Motor Vehicle Theft
Because of the value of the stolen vehicle, motor vehicle theft is in a class by itself. Motor vehicle theft can involve any of the following:
Buying and/or selling stolen vehicles
Failing to register a vehicle
Selling parts out of abandoned or wrecked vehicles (that do not belong to the seller)
Motor vehicle theft typically starts at the level of Class A misdemeanor and can reach the level of a third-degree felony (depending upon the vehicle’s value).
Drug crimes can range from misdemeanors to serious felonies. Drugs are classified according to penalty groups, and the associated charges vary accordingly. The amount of the drug involved also plays a pivotal role in the attendant charge. Common drug charges include:
Possession of drug paraphernalia
Distribution of a controlled substance
Possession with the intent to manufacture a controlled substance
Aggravated assault relates to either causing the victim to lose function of a body part – even temporarily (such as a broken arm) – or to using or exhibiting a deadly weapon in the commission of the crime. Aggravated assault usually carries a charge of a second-degree felony, and a conviction can lead to fines of up to $10,000 and to a sentence of from 2 to 20 years.
Your Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney
There are a number of important reasons why you need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side if you are facing a criminal charge of any kind in the State of Texas.
Understanding the Legal System
Having a dedicated criminal defense attorney in your corner ensures that you will have a reliable guide through the judicial system, which can prove invaluable. The legal system is nothing if not confusing, and failing to understand the ins and outs of the process can land you in considerable hot water – not to mention failing to protect your rights and failing to help ensure your case’s best possible resolution.
Having a skilled criminal defense attorney on your side – who has a close working knowledge of your case – will allow you to proceed with the confidence that comes from knowing your legal rights are well protected and that your best interests have been taken into careful account. Demystifying the judicial process is half the battle, and this is one very important reason why hiring a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney early in the process is paramount.
Experienced criminal defense attorneys have honed close working relationships within the judicial system, including with the prosecution. While a strong working bond between adversarial sides (your defense and the prosecution) may strike you as odd, it can actually prove extremely beneficial.
Optimal case outcomes often come down to negotiating plea deals and even having charges dropped altogether, and this boils down to engaging in skilled negotiations with the prosecution. When your criminal defense attorney knows how the prosecutor in your case operates and understands the best path forward in relation to his or her preferences and idiosyncrasies, it can greatly improve your chances of affecting your case’s most beneficial outcome.
You are facing a criminal charge and are likely at a total loss as a result. The fact is, however, that your seasoned criminal defense attorney has been here before. He or she knows what to expect, how to build your strongest defense, and how best to proceed – so you do not have to.
While no two cases are ever exactly alike, the legal basics generally remain the same for all similar cases, and your criminal defense attorney’s impressive experience guiding cases like yours toward favorable resolutions can go a long way toward helping you. Never underestimate the value of your attorney’s experience successfully handling similar cases when it comes to your criminal defense.
Eyes on the Prize
Your criminal defense attorney has his or her sights on what is most important – your future – which means that he or she is dedicated to doing what it takes to defend your legal rights within the parameters of the law and the evidence in your case. Ultimately, your attorney will focus on crafting your strongest defense and on skillfully negotiating with the prosecution for the best possible terms moving forward (whatever this means in your unique case).
Conduct of Law Enforcement
Your criminal defense attorney has close working knowledge of the legal limits that guide law enforcement, which can prove exceptionally beneficial in your criminal case. The fact is that the police are not without limits, and not everything they come up with is going to hold up in court.
Because your attorney understands the law’s blind spots, loopholes, and nuanced requirements, you can count on him or her to hone in on any infringements of your rights. An important element of the work performed by criminal defense attorneys is ferreting out any illegal and/or suspect conduct on the part of law enforcement and proceeding accordingly.
You have been charged with a crime, and you are very likely fretting that you will ultimately face the worst possible outcome that the law can throw at you, but with an experienced criminal defense lawyer, this is not likely to be the case. In fact, an important facet of your attorney’s job is to help you understand what is likely to happen in your case and what your best options are.
The best path forward for you will be specific to the unique situation involved, but with the right criminal defense attorney on your side, you can trust him or her to provide you with knowledgeable guidance every step of the way – helping to ensure that you obtain the best deal and the most favorable case resolution possible in your specific situation. Is a plea deal best for you, or are you better off battling the prosecution in court? These are questions that only you and your criminal defense attorney can answer – after thoroughly examining the specifics of your case.
Yes, hiring a reputable criminal defense attorney can be expensive, but the truth of the matter is that having solid legal representation on your side can save you money in the long run. A conviction can lead to serious legal consequences that have untold financial ramifications in addition to coming with serious fines attached. Resolving your case as favorably as possible can benefit your reputation, can save you money, and can protect your future – all of which make hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney a bargain.
The answers to some of the most frequently asked questions as they relate to criminal charges may help you answer your most pressing questions.
Doesn’t hiring an attorney make me look guilty?
If you have been arrested for a crime, it is time to put away your concerns about how things look and reach out to an experienced criminal defense attorney. Your legal rights are far more important than appearances, and if the police have arrested you, they already think you are guilty. Do not be fooled into forsaking your rights in an effort to maintain the appearance of innocence. Plenty of innocent people are found guilty, so do yourself a favor and hire a criminal defense attorney sooner rather than later. Further, if you are being questioned in relation to a crime, cutting your losses and moving directly toward calling an attorney is a sound approach. Again, the police are questioning you because they believe you played a role, and the distance between being questioned and being charged is often short.
What qualities should I look for in a criminal defense attorney?
Finding the right criminal defense attorney for you can feel like a crapshoot, but there are several qualities you should be on the lookout for, including:
An attorney with whom you are comfortable opening up (you are going to have to share with your attorney)
An attorney who has considerable experience successfully guiding cases like yours toward optimal outcomes
An attorney with an impressive track record overall
An attorney who genuinely cares about the outcome of your case
An attorney who has time to take on your case, give it his or her all, and go to the mat for you
An attorney who is well acquainted with the prosecution in your case and who has the proven ability to work with them
When it comes to a criminal defense attorney, experience and hard work matter, but there are no guarantees. If a prospective attorney tells you otherwise, you should consider it a red flag and keep looking.
What should I do if I am arrested for a crime?
Being arrested for a crime is easily one of life’s more difficult challenges. Not only is it a terrifying event, but it can also leave you at an utter loss regarding how best to proceed. Although your situation will be specific to the circumstances involved, there are some basic tips you should know that apply across the board and that can help you, including:
Provide the officer with your name and contact information
Maintain your composure
Ask for an attorney from the outset
Do what you are asked but remain silent until your attorney arrives
Do not talk about the charges or the case on the phone
Do not agree to anything in relation to the charge, and do not sign anything before your attorney arrives
Many people mistakenly believe that, because they are innocent, talking – and explaining their innocence to the police – is the best course of action, but this is a naive approach. Although the police are generally skilled at what they do, they are also predisposed to believe that their own assumptions, presumptions, and hunches regarding guilt are correct (whether this is true in the case at hand or not). Do yourself a favor and allow your dedicated criminal defense attorney to handle the police on your behalf.
You Need an Experienced Killeen Criminal Defense Attorney on Your Side
When it comes to criminal charges, the question of whether or not you need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side is the easiest of all, and the universal answer is yes, you do. Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard – proudly serving Killeen, Texas – is a savvy criminal defense attorney whose practice focuses on guiding cases like yours toward resolutions that benefit his clients, and he is here for you, too. Your legal rights and freedoms are far too important to leave to chance, so please do not hesitate to contact us online or call us at 254-501-4040 today.