Why would I want to hire a criminal defense attorney?
You want the best lawyer by your side, regardless of the charges or possible penalties. Every criminal offense has potential direct and indirect consequences that can have a life-long impact.
Do I really need a lawyer? Is the money worth it?
“Do I need a criminal attorney?” Yes! If you are charged with a crime, you need a good Michigan criminal defense trial lawyer by your side, fighting for your rights. Trying to deal with the criminal justice system without an attorney is insanity. They say, “even a lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client.” If you do not have the money to hire an attorney, you may be eligible for a court-appointed attorney. If you cannot retain a Michigan Criminal Lawyer, your next best option is court-appointed counsel. A person who cannot afford a retained lawyer has a 6th Amendment right to appointed counsel. If you have the resources to hire a retained criminal attorney, that is your best option.
Self-Representation – A Recipe for Disaster
Sometimes people accused of a crime attempt to represent themselves without the assistance of a lawyer. In the law, the term for such a person is in propria persona or pro per for short. It literally means “by oneself.” Imagine trying to carefully strategize and win a game of chess when you don’t even know the rules. This is a similar scenario to the one encountered by the person appearing in court pro per. Self-representation is almost assuredly going to end in an utter disaster. Many essential aspects of your criminal case will be severely hampered, and defenses will not be sufficiently utilized without a good, retained trial lawyer.
Two Reasons You Need the Best Criminal Defense Attorney
A self-represented defendant is at a severe disadvantage when negotiating with the prosecutor. A prosecutor won’t meaningfully negotiate with a person in pro per (or someone who has a court-appointed lawyer in some cases) because neither you nor a low-cost lawyer has the credibility to be an effective negotiator with a prosecutor. This same principle applies to budget or low-cost attorneys notorious for manipulating their clients into unfavorable plea bargains. The prosecutor knows that a person in pro per or a lawyer who is not a great Michigan criminal defense trial lawyer doesn’t possess the experience, talent, and tenaciousness to be a credible threat. The prosecutor will not haggle over legal issues with a non-lawyer or weak lawyer.
Prosecutors can be very cynical. One of the best ways to get a prosecutor to listen is to convince them that there is a legitimate risk that the government might not be able to win at trial. For legal reasons, a judge may not let the government introduce specific evidence at trial, or evidence of the crime charged may be weak. A prosecutor is much more apt to acknowledge these potential problems in your case if they are brought to their attention by an experienced, aggressive trial lawyer who has earned their respect.
The second aspect that you are severely limited by when a good trial lawyer doesn’t represent you is the ability to present your case and prevail at trial effectively. If you want to win at trial, you need a good trial attorney. All the evidence in your favor does little good if you can’t get it admitted or if it is not admitted persuasively and compellingly. You wouldn’t go to a professional boxing match thinking you could climb into the ring, throw a lucky punch, and walk away with a title belt. You would probably walk away in need of medical attention if you walked away at all. Attempting to try a criminal case where your freedom is at stake without a good criminal attorney might end very badly for you.
Achieving the Best Plea Bargain with a Criminal Attorney
If you want a great plea bargain, the way to achieve an extraordinary result is to be represented by a great trial lawyer. Why do you need a great criminal attorney if you only want a great plea bargain? Because the two go hand-in-hand. Suppose a lawyer is known as a “plea lawyer” or is a habitually unsuccessful trial attorney. In that case, the prosecutor has no incentive to give an amazing plea bargain, and the judge has no incentive to offer a lenient sentence. An attorney who is not a threat to the government’s case carries little weight in the courtroom.
“Do I need a local criminal lawyer?”
Is there an advantage to hiring a local lawyer? Maybe and maybe not. The more important question is whether there is an advantage to hiring a great criminal lawyer. There is a distinct disadvantage to hiring a mediocre local lawyer because everyone in the court will know the lawyer is ineffective. A lawyer that goes golfing with the judge or dinner with the prosecutor has less ability to achieve a superior result. A respected lawyer maximizes your odds of a favorable result, like a dismissal of all charges, if they are known as an outstanding criminal defense lawyer and thus a credible threat to win in court.
The Defense Team with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. routinely practices in Oakland County, Wayne County, Macomb County, Washtenaw County, and throughout Southeastern Michigan. When we get calls from prospective clients in Northern or Western Michigan, they often wonder if hiring a lawyer in Southeast Michigan or Metro-Detroit criminal attorney is best. It is critical to remember that the lawyer who is more of a friend to the prosecutor, instead of a tenacious defense attorney, is more likely to sell out the client rather than fight for a great result. The best lawyer is one who is not afraid to win!
What about a court-appointed lawyer?
According to the State of Michigan’s State Appellate Defender Office in April 2018:
“Our criminal justice system relies on zealous defenders and independent pretrial investigations to ensure just results. Yet the reality is that public-defense delivery systems — nationally and in Michigan — are inadequate and underfunded. Court-appointed trial attorneys carry excessive caseloads and lack the time and funding to investigate cases. One result from this breakdown in the adversarial system is the wrongful conviction of innocent people.”
Are your life, career, and family important to you?
Are your life, career, and family important to you? This is a rhetorical question, and the answer is clearly “YES!” If you are accused of criminal activity or under suspicion, there has never been a more critical time in your life than now to do what is necessary to protect yourself with the best retained criminal attorney you can get. If you bargain hunt now or go with a friend’s lawyer because they offer you a discount, you can expect discounted service, skills, and results – one that you may regret for the rest of your life.
There are so many ways a good trial lawyer can help you with all facets of your criminal case. When you, or someone you love, face criminal charges, it is also of great value to have the peace of mind that your case is being handled by the most experienced professional available and one who can achieve the best possible result.
If you are accused of a felony or misdemeanor or charged in state or federal court, we can and will help you. Call us for a free consultation and confidential case evaluation. If you call us, we will take the time to talk with you, answer your questions, and address each of your concerns. We will find a way to help you.
Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete an online Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.