If you have been accused of a crime in the city of Los Angeles, and you know you are guilty, you may think it is futile to hire a criminal defense attorney. This is actually a misconception. You may think that your fate is sealed, but the truth is that there is still much that a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney can do for you even if you are guilty of the crime you are being charged with.
Taking Responsibility For Your Actions
Some folks think that if they approach the judge and admit that they are guilty of the charges against them, the judge may consider their actions noble and dole out a lesser punishment. While it is true that judges often appreciate honesty and holding oneself accountable, you don’t necessarily have to plead guilty to earn the court’s respect.
Judges are just as aware of the fact that you have a right to an attorney. They also expect that you will go over all of the evidence in the case with your criminal defense attorney and that, after his or her review of the law, your attorney will guide you insofar as how to proceed.
The Difference Between Being Guilty And Being Wrong
One thing to understand about the law is that there is a vast difference between being in the wrong and being guilty of the charges against you. When you are charged with a crime, that charge typically has a series of elements to it that must be proven in order for you to be found guilty. If the prosecutor cannot prove those elements beyond a reasonable doubt, then you cannot be found guilty. And why make it easier for them?
The last thing you want to do is rush to plead guilty to a charge when you are not actually guilty beyond a reasonable doubt as defined by law. Depending on the charges against you, you can potentially suffer heavy consequences, including but not limited to:
- Jail time
- The loss of your driver’s license
- Fines and/or fees
- Loss of your firearms, or the loss of the right to bear arms
- Loss of custody or supervised visitation of your children
This list goes on. The elements of the charges against you that must be proven can hold significant sway over the penalties that are ultimately handed down upon you.
For instance, maybe you are being charged with possession of a drug, but did you know there are steeper penalties if you are charged with possession with an intent to sell? You may think you are just pleading guilty to a possession charge, when really you are opening yourself up to something even worse.
Sentencing For A Guilty Plea
You have to be certain that you are guilty before you actually take a guilty plea because once you are convicted, you must be sentenced accordingly. This is one area where you may want to consider hiring a criminal defense attorney. This is because many people leave out information out of fear that it may hurt their case when it may help them, and vice versa.
For example, some people don’t want to tell the judge that they suffer from substance abuse, thinking that may hurt their case or their character in the judge’s opinion. In fact, depending on the situation and the judge, the court’s awareness of this fact may mean the difference between rehab and jail time. An attorney may be better able to tell when such a revelation would hurt or harm a case.
Others are anxious to speak to the judge; however, they inadvertently implicate themselves in the crime at issue, or establish a foundation to be charged with an entirely new crime. An attorney may be able to guide the person on how better to address the court or, if the client so chooses, to allow his or her attorney to address the court for them.
Negotiating A Guilty Plea
Instead of just pleading guilty and taking what comes after, a guilty plea is typically negotiated down to a lesser crime that carries a milder punishment. You miss out on this negotiation if you just plead guilty to whatever crime is being lobbed at you.
Criminal defense attorneys are experienced at negotiating plea deals and, as a result, may be able to get you a better deal than if you were to try and negotiate yourself. And once you do agree to a plea bargain, it is a good idea to have an attorney review it. Once you have committed to that deal, it is next to impossible to reverse it, so be sure that you are fully okay with what you are agreeing to.
Ensuring Your Rights are Protected
Experienced attorneys may be better able to call to mind the criminal procedure law they need when they need it. This may allow them to find loopholes that a person who is representing himself might have missed that may have helped his or her case.
Attorneys may be better able to tell when evidence is being used improperly. As such, they can move to have the evidence thrown out. It would then be ruled inadmissible at trial and would potentially weaken the prosecution’s case.
Hiring a criminal defense attorney in LA may allow you to reduce your stress. It can be a relief to know that your attorney has your best interests at heart and, as such, will ensure that your rights are being properly protected.
When To Consider Hiring A Criminal Defense Attorney
In a nutshell, you may want to consider hiring a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney if you have been charged with a crime in the city of LA. This is because an attorney may be better equipped to shoot holes in the prosecution’s case against you, or to find those holes that you might have otherwise missed in representing yourself.
If you are on the verge of pleading guilty to a crime, you may want to consider hiring a criminal defense attorney to help manage your case. Give us a call at 310-997-4688, or fill out the form to the right, and we can provide you with a free case evaluation with no obligation to retain our firm.