If you or a loved one has recently run into some legal trouble, you are probably wondering at what point you should hire a criminal defense attorney. There are a lot of things to consider, and often the primary worry is cost. This is a fair concern to have, considering that attorney fees can be very expensive. However, hiring an attorney early in the process can often result in fewer large expenses down the road.
A criminal defense attorney is someone who is there to guide you through your legal problem and defend you when necessary. The legal system can be tricky and when you are in trouble with the law, it is important to have someone who knows how to guide you through your issue. Depending on the seriousness of your problem, the consequences could be much worse than being out a couple thousand dollars if you decide to go it alone.
Ideally, it would be nice to have an attorney from the moment you get arrested. While this is may not be practical, you should attempt to speak to an attorney as soon as possible after being released after your arrest. This is especially true if you are facing a more serious criminal allegation.
In most cases, however, you will be let out and receive a date on which your arraignment takes place. An arraignment is a hearing in which you hear what you are being charged with and are given a chance to plead guilty or not guilty. You may also have a chance after the arraignment to meet with the prosecutor. This is just one reason why it is extremely helpful to have counsel available to you at this point, given that this is a meeting you do not want to go into by yourself.
Speaking to your lawyer prior to the arraignment will allow you to have a complete understanding of the charges that are being brought against you before you even set foot in a courtroom. Perhaps more importantly, you will understand the range of punishments you could face should you be found guilty. This will give you the ability to weigh the pros and cons of fighting your charge versus seeking a plea bargain.
Fighting a charge can be a painful and emotional process. The personal support and comfort you receive from having someone who has been there before and knows his or her way around the legal system is invaluable. Just having them there can make each and every step along the way much less grueling.
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