Being charged with a crime can make you angry and confused, especially if you are innocent. You know you didn’t do it—but do you still need a West Chester criminal defense lawyer?
Here are four reasons why you still need an attorney to fight criminal charges, even if you are innocent. In fact, if you are innocent, it is arguably even more important to have an aggressive attorney.
#1 Innocent People Get Convicted
The first reason you need a Chester County criminal defense attorney is that innocent people are convicted and sent to prison all the time. This is known as a wrongful conviction. Sometimes a wrongful conviction is overturned years later. Still, these innocent individuals may spend years in prison before they are finally acquitted.
Prosecutors and police officers are human. They can easily make mistakes, especially when they are under pressure to solve a case. All it takes is one bad coincidence, and you can become their prime suspect. It is critical that you hire an attorney to fight back against false accusations.
The Sixth Amendment right to an attorney was designed to prevent wrongful convictions. If you are innocent and wrongly accused of a crime, you are exactly who the founding fathers wanted to have a lawyer.
#2 You Can’t Protect All Your Rights By Yourself
It is impossible to adequately protect all of your rights without a lawyer. Every day, state and federal courts interpret the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights when they make rulings in court. These rulings form a body of law known as “case law.”
Millions of pages of case law are written about each individual constitutional right. Some examples of important constitutional rights include:
- Due process rights (14th Amendment)
- Privilege against self-incrimination (Fifth Amendment)
- Right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures (Fourth Amendment)
- Right to confront your accusers (Sixth Amendment)
- Right to counsel (Sixth Amendment)
You also have additional procedural and constitutional rights not listed here. In addition to constitutional rights, there is another body of statutory law known as the rules of evidence.
This body of law governs what types of evidence can be used against you at trial. Taken altogether, criminal defense is extremely complicated. Do not make the mistake of trying to defend yourself. A criminal defense lawyer is the only one who will know of and protect all your rights.
#3 Judges and Prosecutors Treat Pro Se Defendants Harshly
Under the Constitution, you have the right to defend yourself (“pro se”). However, this is never a wise choice. Judges and prosecutors will likely become frustrated and angry when you violate court norms or make poor legal arguments. When judges and prosecutors are irritated, things can get bad in a hurry.
Courtrooms are well-oiled machines. The judge has a specific way they like things done. If anything is done out of order or too many questions are asked, the judge may become impatient. Judges are extremely busy. They often have little tolerance for unprepared pro se defendants.
A good defense lawyer will raise objections and file motions at the right time, in the right order. They will also make legal arguments at the appropriate time. Defense lawyers know the process and keep your case progressing smoothly and efficiently. Prosecutors will also appreciate this process. A less irritated prosecutor is more likely to play fair at the negotiation table.
Make no mistake about it – a defense attorney’s job is to make it as hard as possible for the government to put you behind bars. A strong defense lawyer will make the process incredibly difficult on the prosecution, but they will do it with constitutional and procedural rules that judges and prosecutors respect. You need an attorney to fight back without breaking court procedures and rules and making things worse.
#4 Your Lawyer Knows The Best Tactics To Achieve Your Goals
If you are wrongly accused of a crime, your head is likely spinning. You may feel completely alone. Fighting to prove your innocence becomes the only thing in your life that matters. Without proving your innocence, your entire future is on the line.
Every single aspect of false accusations needs to be addressed. Challenging a single detail can mean the difference between conviction and acquittal. When it comes to fighting the government, your lawyer will know the best tactics to achieve your goals for your case.
Earlier, we discussed the complexity of your constitutional rights and how you cannot possibly stand up for all of your rights on your own. Similarly, putting together a defense theory and choosing the tactics that will be used to fight for your innocence is extremely complicated. Drawing on years of experience, your criminal defense lawyer will be able to choose the best tactics to fight for your goals.
Contact a West Chester Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
Now you know the answer to the question, “Do I need a West Chester criminal defense lawyer if I’m innocent?” The answer is yes, for the four reasons discussed above.
Your future is too important to risk trying to go it alone. You deserve a strong legal defense. Contact a criminal defense lawyer today to fight for your innocence.