For the average person, being arrested and charged with a criminal offense is a frightening experience. If you were recently charged with a crime, and you did not commit the crime, you may also be feeling shocked and confused. Most people who are wrongly accused go through a period of disbelief, waiting for someone to tell them it was all a big mistake and the charges have all been dropped. If this is how you are feeling, you may also be wondering if you really need to hire a criminal lawyer to defend you. After all, if you are innocent you shouldn’t need a lawyer, right? Unfortunately, that is not the case. In fact, the converse is true. If you are innocent, the need to have a criminal lawyer on your side is greater than if you were guilty.
Criminal Law Basics
If you are unfamiliar with the criminal justice system, that can put you at a disadvantage. Therefore, you need to learn some basics. You have probably heard the expression “beyond a reasonable doubt” before in a movie or television show. In order to convict you, the State (through the prosecuting attorney), must prove that you are guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.” That means that the prosecutor must prove each and every element of the crime with which you are charged. If you did not commit the crime, you may be tempted to count on the system to ultimately reach that conclusion. In theory that is precisely what should occur; however, reality often strays from theory in the real world. In the real world, innocent people do end up being convicted and sentenced to prison – sometimes for lengthy periods of time. The bottom line is that counting on the criminal justice system to exonerate you all on its own is never a good idea.
“Why Do I Need a Criminal Lawyer If I Am Innocent?”
This is a question criminal lawyers hear all the time. There are a number of reasons why anyone who has been accused of a crime needs an attorney; however, if you are innocent, three of these reasons are even more applicable, including:
- Protecting your rights – as an accused, you have a number of Constitutional rights that are intended to protect you from exactly what could happen to you – being wrongly convicted of a crime. Those rights, however, can only help you if you understand them and know when and how to exercise them. A criminal lawyer will ensure that your rights are used in the way they were intended to be used — to prevent an innocent person from being convicted of a crime.
- Reviewing the State’s case against you – as a defendant, you have a right to review all of the State’s evidence against you and speak to all witnesses who plan to testify against you. Often, a criminal lawyer is able to go through all the alleged evidence against you and point out the holes in the State’s case or even major flaws in the case. Sometimes this even results in the prosecutor realizing that they have accused the wrong person, leading to a dismissal of the charges against the defendant.
- Defending you – just because you are innocent does not guarantee your case will be resolved without the need for a trial. If a trial is inevitable, you need an attorney who can convince a judge or jury of your innocence. You need an experienced criminal lawyer who understands what a judge or jury is likely to believe and what they are looking for ad considering when deciding a defendant’s guilt or innocence. You need someone who is persuasive enough to convince the judge or jury that the State has wrongly accused you of a crime.
If you have been charged with a criminal offense in the State of Nebraska it is certainly in your best interest to consult with an experienced Nebraska criminal lawyer right away to discuss what defenses might be available to you. 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.