For the average person, being accused of a crime is a traumatic experience – particularly if the individual is not guilty of the crime. If you find yourself in that position, you may be dealing with a wide range of emotions from anger to confusion to fear. One of the first steps you should take is to retain the services of an experienced Nebraska criminal defense attorney. You may be wondering why you need to hire a criminal defense attorney if you are not guilty. After all, you have nothing to hide, right? Moreover, our criminal justice system operates under the presumption of innocence, right? In theory, both of these are valid points; however, in reality, you need an attorney.
The Presumption of Innocence
If you live in the United States you are undoubtedly familiar with the concept of the presumption of innocence. You have certainly heard the line “innocent until proven guilty” hundreds of times in cop shows, movies, and books. It may surprise you to know, however, that the presumption of innocence is not actually explicitly mentioned in the U.S. Constitution. It can be inferred from several other concepts that are explicitly mentioned, such as the right to remain silent, the right to bail, and the right to a trial by jury and has been part of the English common law system for so long its existence is effectively taken for granted in our system.
What the presumption of innocence means is that the State of Nebraska, in this case, is required to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. You, in theory, are not required to prove anything. The defense, in a criminal case, does not have to present any evidence or testimony, though they usually do. Instead, the prosecution must prove each and every element of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt. If you did not commit the crime, it would appear that you have nothing to worry about, right? Unfortunately, the way things should work and the way things do work is not always the same.
Why Do You Need an Attorney?
Navigating the criminal justice system can be challenging and stressful, particularly if you are a defendant trying to navigate the system for the first time. Although there is no law requiring you to be represented by an attorney, the parties within the criminal justice system (judges, prosecutors, court staff etc.) do not typically give a pro se (without counsel) defendant any breaks. You would be expected to understand the law, the local rules, and the court’s procedures just as an attorney does. This, alone, is sufficient reason to hire an attorney.
The idea of having to spend time and money finding and retaining a criminal defense attorney for a crime you did not commit likely does not sit well with you. While understandable, it is crucial to get past an idealized viewpoint and deal with the reality of the situation. The reality is that innocent people do get convicted. Innocent people are sitting in jail right now all across the country. Though they may be the minority, it happens and you don’t want it to happen to you. The best way to prevent that from occurring is to allow an experienced Nebraska criminal defense attorney to represent you throughout the prosecution of your case.
A criminal defense attorney knows how to analyze the State’s case and look for things the police may have done wrong as well as determine where the weak spots are in their “evidence” against you. If you did not the commit the crime, there is a good chance that the “evidence” against you is largely circumstantial. The key is to make sure a judge or jury sees how weak the evidence against you is — a task you are likely not trained to accomplish but one a criminal defense attorney does all day long, every day.
The bottom line is that your freedom and your future are at stake. Knowing you did commit the crime is a good start; however, you cannot just leave it at that. You need to be prepared to actually defend yourself and to do that well you need the assistance of an experienced Nebraska criminal defense attorney.
If you have been charged with a criminal offense in Nebraska contact Petersen Criminal Defense Law 24 hours a day at 402-509-8070 to discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney.
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