In my years as a Fulton County prosecutor and now as a criminal defense attorney, I have seen many people try to save money by employing “do-it-yourself” lawyering. Normally the results are not good.
Here are the Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney
10. No One Will Help You
One common misconception people have is that the administrative clerks in the courts will guide them as to what forms they need to fill out and what they need to do. They won’t. Under Georgia law, the clerks cannot advise you in any way because this is considered unlicensed legal practice and is illegal. You will be truly on your own.
9. To Avoid “Rookie” Mistakes
Georgia courts have very strict procedures and hard deadlines. If a form is submitted incomplete or late it may hamper your chances at a viable defense and expose you to stricter penalties.
8. You’re Going Up Against Brutal Prosecutors
In a criminal case you will be going up against brutal, seasoned prosecutors who are result driven. They do not look out for your interests, they look out for the interests of The State. They want a conviction.
I know this mentality very well because I used to be a Fulton County prosecutor and observed the lengths to which some prosecutors would go to secure a conviction. While some were professional, others used unscrupulous and illegal tactics like hiding evidence and coaching witnesses.
7. To Throughly Examine the Evidence
Many times, the evidence brought forth by the prosecution has holes in it and questions that need to be answered. A professional criminal defense lawyer can track down records and show these problems to the court and may save you from a unjust conviction.
6. You May Need an Expert Witness
Sometimes the best way to challenge the evidence is to call upon an expert witness. Think back to the O.J. Simpson trial and Dr. Henry Lee’s testimony that the only way the blood pattern on O.J.’s socks could have been made was if he had a “hole in his ankle” or if it was handled improperly. Dr. Lee’s testimony was key to Simpson’s acquittal.
5. Seek Alternatives
For many crimes, Georgia allows for diversionary programs and other alternatives. Also deals can be worked with the prosecutor to plea to a lesser charge. For example, a reduction to a reckless driving charge from a DUI will save you from jail and a license suspension.
4. A Criminal Conviction Carries a Serious Social Stigma
People will certainly judge you by your conviction. With criminal records available online and through some third-party applications, people meeting you for the first time may learn about your conviction and this can obviously affect your relationships and business dealings.
3. A Georgia Conviction Will Stay on your Criminal History Forever
A criminal conviction will stay on your criminal history forever; it does not go away. In today’s competitive job market, this can mean the difference between getting your dream job and standing in the unemployment line. Who wants to hire an ex-con when a suitable applicant with a clean criminal history can be hired? This is one of the most costly yet most overlooked consequences of a criminal conviction.
2. Many Common Crimes Have Very Heavy Penalties
When you think of the most common crimes you probably think of shoplifting, DUI and drug possession. While these may be common, they also carry some very heavy penalties. For example, possession of a single packet of synthetic marijuana will result in 2-15 years in jail, a first time DUI can result in up to one year in jail and a one year license suspension, and shoplifting can result in a year in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. Jail is a place you don’t want to be and a professional criminal defense lawyer will use every inch of the law to keep you out of jail.
1. To Uncover the Truth
Law enforcement is a human endeavor and while there are many true professionals,there are also many bad apples. Corrupt police officers and detectives have been known to destroy and tamper with evidence and prosecutors have been known to hide evidence that favors the defense. No matter how nice the police officer was, when you read the police report and hear their testimony you’ll be thinking to yourself, “THAT is not what happened!”
This is why you need a true professional, to uncover the truth and show the court what really happened and protect your rights.
If you have a criminal case in the Atlanta area and need an attorney who will be 100% dedicated to your defense, please call 1-855-9-ATL-DUI.