If you have been accused of committing a crime, you have two options. You can sit back and accept the punishment – even if you maintain that you are innocent – or you can fight back.
Hopefully, you choose to fight back. And when do so, you do it with the help of an experienced Illinois criminal defense attorney.
Because a criminal lawyer is your best chance at getting your charges reduced, dismissed, or dropped altogether.
A qualified attorney will have the experience and knowledge you need to challenge the prosecution’s case and recognize certain facts or arguments within your case that will lead to the best possible outcome.
But if you’ve never hired a lawyer before, it’s important to know what to expect so you can make sure you get the best possible person for you – someone who’s truly looking out for your best interests.
Here are a few things you should expect your Chicago criminal defense attorney to do.
Present all of your potential options. When people think of lawyers, they often think of going to trial. But a trial isn’t the only option available. In fact, many cases don’t even come close to trial; they get settled with negotiations known as plea bargains.
A skilled lawyer should be able to discuss the possible plea bargains he might be able to negotiate on your behalf. And in the event that a plea bargain won’t cut it, your lawyer should be able to tell you your case’s chances if you go to trial, as well as what the process will be like.
Gather key evidence and witness statements. The more information your lawyer has about your alleged crime, the better off your case will be. Luckily, good criminal lawyers are skilled at gathering key pieces of evidence and collecting witness statements.
They should also be asking you lots of questions to get the facts of the situation out of you as you understand them, so it is vital that you be as forthcoming with your attorney as possible – unless they explicitly tell you differently.
Explain the legal process. The Illinois legal process and judicial system in general is complicated and often confusing to outsiders. Without a deep understanding of Illinois criminal laws and how they work – both written and “unwritten” rules – going through criminal court can make you feel like you’re lost.
Good attorneys will take the time to talk you through what’s going to happen, lay out your options, and the likelihood of success using particular strategies in fighting your charges.
Tell you the truth. It’s important to find a lawyer to take the time to talk to you about the specifics of your case, but what’s even more vital is working with someone willing to be honest with you. This should go without saying, but you don’t want a lawyer to lie to you about how your case can possibly end up just to get your money.
Every case is different and nothing is 100% guaranteed, but there are certain aspects of a case that can be helpful and hurtful. Your lawyer should be upfront about how he feels your case will turn out and then be able to build an appropriate defense to achieve that outcome.
About the Author:
Andrew M. Weisberg is a former felony prosecutor who now serves as a defense attorney in the greater Chicago area. He has extensive experience in handling all types of criminal cases, from sex offenses and domestic violence to retail theft-related crimes, Murder, and drug crimes.