Why You Should Call a Criminal Defense Attorney
Apr 17th, 2022 | by Scott C. Thomas, Orange County Criminal Law Attorney
Modern criminal law is not to be taken lightly when it comes to being arrested or indicted for a misdemeanor or felony. Aside from the possible professional, financial and personal consequences of being convicted, you will face a police investigation and a legal process that is ferociously geared towards helping the prosecution win.
While it would be incorrect to say that the justice system at every level in Orange County or the United States is dishonest, it’s not wrong to claim that criminal prosecutions are heavily weighted in favor of prosecutors and the investigators who assist their cases.
You will be just one person with your own resources fighting against charges leveled by a legal machinery that’s rigorously designed to win and well-trained in doing so. This is not a winning proposition, regardless of whether you’re innocent or guilty. To even the odds considerably, you will absolutely need a lawyer of your own choosing to give you a serious chance of success.
Guilt and innocence are formally the main considerations in criminal court cases tried in Orange County, California, or anywhere else in the U.S. court system. In practical reality, however, prosecutors and police frequently do target and successfully convict people whose supposed guilt is extremely shaky at best.
For one thing, the successful prosecution rate in California averages about 72% annually and in the case of federal prosecutions for the U.S as a whole, it sits at 99%. These numbers should worry you. In part, they’re the result of prosecutors going after cases selectively based on the likelihood of winning, but they’re also partly the result of extreme pressure for a guilty plea and plea bargaining applied to suspects.
Police will routinely weave cases out of weak evidence even against suspects that rigorously, plausibly deny their guilt. Furthermore, prosecutors will aggressively, and universally pressure you into an admission of guilt with threats of multiple charges and maximum sentences for the sake of extracting guilty pleas and the chance of leniency (plea bargaining).
In other words, even if you truly are innocent of the crime you’re charged with, the system itself will frequently work to push you into pleading guilty regardless. Your own attorney can be your most reliable shield against this.
The court system of Orange County may provide suspects charged with a felony or misdemeanor with an offer of a public defender. However, it’s important to know that a public defender is not guaranteed. Only suspects who are indigent are guaranteed a public defender, while all others must qualify.
Additionally, while the work and effort of public defender attorneys deserve appreciation, their caseload is inevitably enormous and their personal attention to your own case will probably be minimal in comparison to what you would receive from your own personally hired counsel.
Public defenders have to juggle between multiple duties and multiple court-appointed clients almost all of the time. No matter how much some of them may personally, or sincerely want to help their charges, their time usually doesn’t allow it. In other words, you using a public defender is a sort of Russian Roulette that you impose upon yourself, in which the cost of losing is a permanent criminal record and possibly even extensive prison time.
Hiring your own attorney may seem expensive, but when weighed against the cost of losing in court and the years of trouble or lost freedom that can follow, it emerges as a superb investment.
As for simply representing yourself, it’s not even worth considering. There are few worse choices that you as a defendant can make inside the criminal justice system than trying to be your own defender. The lawyers working for the prosecution have years or decades of professional experience ahead of you and will almost certainly be able to shred your attempt at self-defense to pieces, and very punitively when it comes to sentencing.
Do not even consider being your own legal representative, even if you have some degree of legal experience. It’s a workable strategy in so few cases that success might as well be considered miraculous.
For one thing, by failing to hire a soundly experienced attorney of your own, you will be looking at a near-certain loss of your case in the court system. This means that you will be convicted of a crime and face the full legal consequences of that conviction.
At the very least, these can consist of crushing fines, lengthy probation periods, and a criminal record that follows you for life, ruining many employment or financial opportunities.
In worse cases, you’ll be faced with all of the above plus a prison sentence that can stretch for years, even for offenses that you’d think incapable of generating such a sentence: Even misdemeanor convictions can land you in county jail for months and up to a year or more, and this will definitely not be a pleasant experience. In the case of felony offenses, sentences can end up taking decades off your free life.
None of these possible consequences include the enormous professional, reputation, and financial costs that you could create for yourself by forgoing your own dedicated attorney.
Don’t let the universally unfavorable odds of fighting the justice system unprotected crush your life. Consider speaking to a professional attorney now. Scott C. Thomas Law can offer you enormous leverage in your own criminal case. Contact us for a free initial consultation.
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