I answer this question on numerous phone calls from potential clients: Do I need to hire a lawyer for my case?
The answer is a resounding yes. Although I am an attorney, I recognize I am a biased regarding that answer; however, there are many benefits to having retained private counsel to represent you during your criminal case.
Bond or bail is set in a criminal case assessing numerous factors; however, the judge usually makes their decision based upon two points: (1) whether you will show for future hearings, and (2) to ensure public safety during your release. Judges give weight to the fact a defendant has retained counsel. If you have taken enough interest in your case to pay money to hire a private attorney, the judge will feel you are more likely to show up for your future court appearances, and you will be less likely to commit further crimes while out on release. Your attorney will also know the other numerous factors the judge will consider in setting a reasonable amount for your bond or bail. It is always beneficial to have an advocate in your corner to counter the prosecutor’s request for bond or bail.
Respect from the Prosecutor
Another advantage to retaining private counsel in a criminal case is to gain respect from the prosecutor. If there are plea negotiations, an attorney can speak to the prosecutor about the facts of your case without creating admissions from you. When the prosecutor knows a defendant will have an advocate they must fight, the prosecutor will be more willing to entertain plea negotiations. This is most favorable for getting a dismissal or reduced charges in a plea bargain.
Knowledge about the Judge
By hiring an attorney, you have access to an in-depth knowledge of the judge and how they handle your particular charge in their court. This is invaluable in a criminal case, as your attorney can give you advice about the strength of the prosecution’s case against you, and the pros and cons of taking your case to trial. Additionally, the attorney will know whether your case should be tried to a jury or whether it is best for a bench trial to the judge. Without the resource of your retained attorney, you will be shooting in the dark on these issues, and you will be tainted in your own feelings about your innocence or guilt.
Thanks to our friends from Hernandez Frantz, Von Loh for their insight into criminal law.