If you were recently arrested and charged with a criminal offense in Sarpy County, Nebraska, and this is your first experience with the criminal justice system, you undoubtedly have a number of questions and concerns about your situation and your future. Given the individual nature of a criminal case, the only way to get specific answers to questions you may have is to consult directly with an experienced criminal defense attorney. There are, however, some common questions people have when they find themselves in your situation. In an effort to provide you with some basic education about the criminal justice system, a Sarpy County criminal defense lawyer has provided answers to three common questions.
- Do I really need to hire a Sarpy County criminal defense lawyer? This is often the first question people have when charged with a criminal offense. The average person is living on a budget – a budget that does not include paying for a criminal defense attorney. Based solely on the cost, many defendants question whether or not they really need to hire an attorney. There is no legal requirement that you be represented by an attorney. Ultimately, the decision is yours to make; however, there are several important reasons why you should seriously consider hiring an experience criminal defense attorney, including:
- An attorney understands your constitutional rights and will protect them throughout the prosecution of your case.
- An attorney understands the procedures and rules of court. Even if you are not represented, you will be expected to understand those rules and abide by them.
- An attorney can analyze the evidence against you and find problems with it as well as search for evidence that will help you.
- An attorney can challenge police conduct and/or problems with the evidence.
- An attorney can negotiate a more favorable plea agreement if you choose to accept one
- An attorney can certainly do a better job of defending you at trial if you decide to go to trial.
- How much will a lawyer charge me? This is one of the most commonly asked questions; however, it is virtually impossible to provide a general answer. Every attorney sets his/her own fees. Those fees are usually based on factors such as the severity of the offense, the defendant’s criminal history (or lack thereof) and how the client wishes to proceed with the case (plea vs. trial). You should, however, be able to get a firm idea of what an attorney will charge you at your initial consultation. Then you need to weigh the cost of paying an attorney against the cost to you and your family if you are convicted because you did not hire an attorney.
- Will a lawyer still defend me even if I am guilty? Absolutely! The average person does not fully understand the job of a criminal defense attorney. Your attorney’s job is not to prove that you are innocent because a defendant is not required to do that. In a criminal prosecution, the State has the burden of proving that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The job of a criminal defense attorney to force the State to do its job. In fact, a defendant is not required to present any defense, because the defendant does not have the burden in a criminal prosecution. For a criminal defense attorney, therefore, the issue is not whether the client is guilty or not, but whether the State of Nebraska has done its job of proving the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. With that in mind, the fact that you are guilty is certainly not going to prevent your attorney from mounting a vigorous defense on your behalf.
If you have been charged with a crime in the State of Nebraska and you have specific questions or concerns about your case, it is certainly in your best interest to consult with an experienced Nebraska criminal defense attorney right away. 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.