Why Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer if Your Disposition Resulted in Jail Time?
Why Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer if Your Disposition Resulted in Jail Time?
Getting arrested and charged with a crime can be an incredibly stressful and frightening experience. Even if you believe you are innocent, the criminal justice system can feel like an intimidating and confusing maze. Having an experienced criminal defense lawyer to guide you through the process can make all the difference.But what if you’ve already gone through the system without a lawyer and ended up with a conviction and jail time? Is it still worth hiring an attorney at that point? The answer is often yes. Here are some of the top reasons to have a criminal defense lawyer even if you are already facing incarceration:
They Can Help Get Your Sentence Reduced
Just because you’ve been sentenced to jail time doesn’t mean that sentence is set in stone. An experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to file a motion to reconsider your sentence. They will look for any potential problems with how your case was handled, such as errors made by the judge or prosecutor, and argue that you deserve a more lenient sentence as a result.While motions to reconsider sentencing are not always successful, a good lawyer can greatly improve your chances. They know how to effectively argue your case in a way you likely couldn’t do on your own as a non-lawyer. Even shaving a few months off your sentence can make a big difference.
They Can Help Get You an Earlier Release
In addition to getting your initial sentence reduced, a criminal defense lawyer may be able to help you get released from jail early. One way is through a motion for early termination of probation if you were given any probation time along with your jail sentence. They can argue that you have successfully complied with all probation terms and deserve to have it ended.If you are close to your minimum parole eligibility date, an attorney can put together a strong case for why you should be granted parole. They can gather evidence of your good behavior in jail, program participation, work history, and release plan to show that you are ready to re-enter society. Having an advocate on your side makes you much more likely to get parole than trying to argue for yourself.
They Can Help With Expungement After Release
Once you have served your sentence, a criminal record can make it much harder to get your life back on track. An attorney can help you get your record expunged so that your conviction doesn’t keep haunting you.Each state has different laws regarding when and what types of convictions can be sealed or expunged. A lawyer will know exactly what options are available and the best way to petition the court to clear your record. Having a clean slate after release makes it much easier to find a job, secure housing, and fully put the past behind you.
They Can Identify Any Problems With Your Case
There may have been significant problems with how your case was handled that you didn’t recognize at the time without legal counsel. For example, your constitutional rights may have been violated during arrest or interrogation. This could potentially make your conviction invalid.A lawyer who reviews the details of your case may find improper police conduct, mistakes by the prosecutor, ineffective assistance by your public defender, or other issues. Identifying any violations of your rights or other legal errors could potentially lead to your conviction being overturned entirely.
They Can Provide Ongoing Legal Advice
Navigating life in jail and the criminal justice system is extremely difficult without guidance. A criminal defense lawyer can answer questions about your case, provide advice on your legal options, and assist with any issues that come up.Having an attorney who you can call on for help makes the experience less terrifying and confusing. They can explain the process every step of the way, advise you of your rights, and ensure you don’t jeopardize your case through accidental missteps. Their expertise and advocacy helps empower you.
They Can Keep Fighting On Appeal
If all other efforts to get your sentence reduced fail, a criminal defense lawyer can potentially take your case to the appeals court. They will thoroughly examine the trial court transcripts and all other records for any legal errors or problems. If any issues are found, such as the improper introduction of evidence or ineffective counsel, they can file an appeal.The appeals process is complex and requires an in-depth understanding of criminal law and procedure. Having a legal professional argue why your conviction should be overturned or your sentence reduced provides the greatest chance of success. Though appeals are not guaranteed to work, they are at least one more option to fight your case.
They Can Provide Emotional Support
Being convicted of a crime and sentenced to incarceration is emotionally devastating. Adjusting to life behind bars separated from loved ones can be an extremely lonely and isolating experience. A dedicated criminal defense lawyer can provide much-needed emotional support during this difficult circumstance.Though lawyers cannot serve as an official therapist or counselor, a compassionate attorney will take the time to listen and provide encouragement. Knowing someone has your back and believes in you can go a long way toward keeping your spirits up when things seem bleak.
They Can Advise Your Family
A lawyer can also help your family members understand what is happening and how they can support you. The criminal justice system is complicated for non-lawyers to grasp. An attorney can explain to your loved ones what to expect at each stage, the meaning of various legal terms, and the best ways they can aid in your defense.They can also provide advice on productive things your family and friends can do like writing letters of support to the judge or gathering evidence. A lawyer can guide them to take actions that actually help your case versus just venting frustration.
They Can Prevent Future Problems
Unfortunately, a criminal record often leads to increased scrutiny by law enforcement. Any future interactions you have with police may be viewed through the lens of your prior conviction. This makes it more likely you could face arrest or charges again, even for minor issues.Having a lawyer gives you someone to call anytime you have a run-in with police or legal questions. Quick access to advice helps prevent complications and protect your rights. A lawyer can also proactively work to get your record expunged to decrease the chances of future false accusations or harassment.
They Can Help With Employment After Release
Finding a job after release from jail is critical to getting back on your feet, but a criminal record can make that extremely difficult. Applicants with convictions are 50% less likely to get an interview or job offer.A lawyer can provide documentation on your case explaining mitigating circumstances. They can also advise you on laws that prohibit discrimination based on criminal records and intervene with employers who violate those laws. Having a legal advocate makes building a new career after release much more feasible.
They Can Provide Guidance on Restoring Rights
Certain rights like voting, gun ownership, and occupational licenses can be limited after a felony conviction. An attorney well-versed in this area of law can guide you through the process of restoring those rights after release from incarceration.Requirements vary greatly by state and even by county. Navigating the restoration process and necessary paperwork is difficult without a legal expert on your side. With their help, you can regain all privileges and get a true fresh start.
Going through the criminal justice system and serving jail time is a painful experience. Having a knowledgeable and compassionate criminal defense lawyer can make the process less intimidating and traumatic. Even if your case appears resolved, legal counsel provides many benefits like sentence reduction, early release, record expungement, and emotional support. Their advocacy and guidance can help you move forward with your life after release. If you are incarcerated or have a past conviction, consulting an attorney should be your first call.