Although in the United States a person is considered innocent until proven guilty, the reality is that the police who arrest and the prosecutors who try cases in court all feel they have enough evidence to prove guilt and they work very hard to get convictions. They already have “probable cause” before the arrested person even has time to call an attorney, so they’re ahead of the game and the arrested person and his defense team are playing catch-up. You may have heard the old saying “A person who defends himself has a fool for a client.” Without knowing all the complexities of the law, people who are not lawyers are at a significant disadvantage and may actually cause themselves more problems than they are currently in. Some of the best reasons for hiring an attorney include:
- You are facing a legal battle that could permanently change your life.
- Criminal records ruin lives and futures.
- You may unintentionally incriminate yourself.
- You may unintentionally waive your rights.
- You could lose your license, your job and your freedom.
Some things to keep in mind:
- If you are arrested, don’t talk to the police except to ask for a lawyer and then wait for the lawyer to arrive before you answer any questions.
- When you call an attorney’s office for a consultation, explain the situation briefly and to the point and tell the truth.
- When you meet with your attorney, and especially when you go to court, dress appropriately — your appearance indicates your credibility and how much you care about your case.
- Make sure you have your “proof” to confirm that your version of the story is true — such as documents, photos, and people to testify to corroborate your story.
- Understand court cases take time and be patient.
- Be polite and courteous — the judge and jury may react against your case if you are rude and disrespectful.
If you appear not to care, neither will your lawyer, the judge or the jury.