If you are under investigation for criminal wrongdoing, you may be tempted to hope the whole thing blows over. Law enforcement may find the evidence they need to exonerate you and move on to another suspect. However, it is important to keep in mind that police are not searching for evidence in your favor. In fact, they are likely seeking anything they can find to prove their suspicions about you.
The person who will be watching out for your best interests is your attorney. Not only does an experienced defense attorney understand the penalties you face, but he or she understands how the criminal justice system works and how to build the most appropriate strategy for your situation.
Criminal attorneys can understand and evaluate the merit of the evidence police collect from crime scenes. While you may be tempted to launch your own defense, with an attorney at your side, you will have access to other resources, such as expert testimony, forensic investigators and witnesses the prosecution failed to include.
An attorney also knows the rules related to evidence and will know when it is appropriate to object to the inclusion of certain items in the prosecutor's case. For example, you may not understand the rules governing police searches and questioning. If officers violated your rights in any way during your arrest or questioning, an attorney will be more likely to recognize these irregularities.
After a careful assessment of the evidence against you, an experienced attorney can provide a frank and realistic appraisal of your chances at trial. From your vantage point, you may not have access to the complete information to which an attorney may be privy. Based on a careful evaluation of the strength of your opponent's case, your attorney will be able to recommend whether it is better to proceed to trial or accept a plea agreement, if one is offered.
The advice you receive from your attorney will include a complete picture. This may include any consequences you may not anticipate, such as the damage to your career options you may face after accepting the conviction that comes with a plea deal. You will also have the benefit of a professional opinion of how your case is progressing and whether it is advisable to change course.
Your impulse to defend yourself may come from your exposure to criminal defense procedures through television, books and movies, or even your previous experiences. However, those things cannot prepare you for the nuances that exist in each unique criminal case. An attorney with experience in the criminal justice system can provide a realistic and quality defense that will improve your chances of a more positive outcome.