The “criminal system” is a powerful collaboration of police, prosecutors, and other individuals all working together toward one goal: to obtain a criminal conviction. Having an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side – one who understands the system, and who knows the law and the rules (both spoken and unspoken) – helps to level the playing field. If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges, early intervention by an experienced criminal defense lawyer can make all the difference in the outcome of your case.
A criminal defense lawyer can help by:
1. Investigating the charges against you. The goal of the police investigation is to obtain evidence that can be used against you in a criminal prosecution. Your defense attorney’s investigation serves a different purpose. Your attorney will visit the alleged crime scene, interview witnesses, review any documents and physical evidence – all with an eye toward finding holes in the prosecution’s case, inconsistencies in the evidence, and other discrepancies that may give rise to reasonable doubt.
2. Scrutinizing the officers’ conduct. If the officers’ conduct, in connection with your arrest and/or in gathering the evidence against you, violated your constitutional rights, your attorney can bring a motion (a formal request) to have the judge “suppress” or throw out the unlawfully obtained evidence before your case goes to trial.
3. Developing a theory of defense. Your attorney can formulate and present a coherent defense theory based on the facts of your case (e.g., you acted in self-defense; you have an alibi; the prosecution’s case is built around an unreliable eyewitness).
4. Representing you at trial. Your attorney will be your voice in the courtroom and will zealously guard your rights and advocate for your best interests.
5. Helping you make the big decisions. A knowledgeable criminal defense attorney can offer wise counsel, based on experience, to help you make the many strategic decisions you will have to make as your case winds its way through the criminal process.
6. Communicating with your loved ones. Your journey through the criminal justice system is likely to be hard on your loved ones. Your criminal defense attorney can lighten their burden by acting as an intermediary between you, your family and friends, and the criminal justice system.
7. Stand between you and the government. Unless you have studied and trained in the law, it is impossible for you to know all of your rights or when those rights are being violated. Your attorney can help you assert your rights and stand up to an overzealous prosecutor.
HOUSON R. LAFRANCE PA