In 2010 over 13 million arrests were made in the United States; that is a number that has been dropping since the 1990s, but it is still quite large nonetheless.
And even though not all of those arrests result in criminal charges, millions do. Criminal charges are filed in one of two categories: misdemeanor or felony. Felonies are the more serious of the two categories. But how do you know if you need a criminal defense attorney?
Charged with a Felony
If you have been charged with a felony, you are likely in some serious trouble. Most violent crimes fall in this category, like murder, rape, kidnapping, arson, aggravated assault/battery and robbery/burglary, just to name a few.
You will want a lawyer as soon as possible if you have been charged with a felony. You’ll want to find someone who has experience defending felonies in the same category as yours, as well as someone who is familiar with the courthouse your case will be heard in and the people in it. Knowing the other lawyers and the judges in a courthouse can give you defender – and therefore your defense – a decided boost. After all, you can be sure that the prosecutor in your case is very familiar with the surroundings.
Charged with a Misdemeanor
If you have been charged with a misdemeanor, you are probably looking at a lot less punishment than if you had been charged with a felony. Misdemeanors usually include things like simple assault, petty theft, marijuana possession (in some states), trespassing, vandalism, public intoxication and disorderly conduct. Most of the time a misdemeanor could lead to less than a year in jail.
But unless you plan on not fighting the charge at all or have legal expertise when it comes to your charge, it would probably be a good idea to have an attorney that meets the same criteria listed above. All the confidence in the world in your own ability to handle things in the criminal justice system won’t keep your case from getting away from you, and before you know it you’re facing jail time.
What Else to Look For?
When hiring a criminal defense attorney, not only do you want experience and familiarity with the law and the players involved in the case, but you also want someone who you are sure is going to defend your rights. You want someone who is going to make sure you get a fair trial and that your voice is heard in court. You also someone you are comfortable with and who you feel listens to you.
If you have been charged with a crime and have questions, contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys at The McDaniel Law Group, PLLC or call 202-331-0793 for a free consultation.