As the police say you are under arrest and read you your rights, your first thought might be, “Am I going to jail right now?” Your next thought could be, “Should I hire a lawyer?” After all, a defense attorney costs money. Maybe you should try to handle the charges on your own.
While it’s your right to represent yourself in criminal court, it’s almost never a good idea. The average person in Lee County has little idea how criminal procedure works and only a vague idea of what their rights are. It is almost impossible for someone in this situation to prepare a strong defense and work toward the best possible plea bargain or trial verdict. As a result, they run the risk of being found guilty of something they did not do or of being handed a sentence far harsher than they deserve.
The alternative is to work with an experienced and dedicated Fort Myers defense attorney. A lawyer can provide many benefits, such as:
- Knowledgeable advice. Your attorney has defended clients against a wide range of charges. They know the law and how the criminal justice system works. They can explain the situation to you and answer all your questions so you can make smart decisions about how to proceed.
- Strong advocacy. Dealing with the prosecutor’s office, court clerk and judge can be intimidating and confusing. It can be easy for someone representing themselves to make a mistake that damages their own defense. Things tend to go much better when you have an attorney handling settlement negotiations, court filings and hearings on your behalf.
- Emotional distance. Since it’s your freedom and record at stake, it’s natural to feel strongly about your case. But your emotions can blind you to what is best for you in the long run. A defense attorney will have the emotional distance from your case to examine the evidence and overall situation objectively and give you honest advice.
For most people, the cost of hiring a defense attorney is well worth these advantages.