Should I hire a lawyer? Tips for knowing when to look for a Milwaukee criminal defense lawyerby Gamino Law Offices on 03/02/14
People ask us all the time, do you think I need to hire a lawyer? While that may seem like a difficult question for us to answer, if know you’ve done something wrong that could subject you to criminal charges, or you believe someone else (like the police) thinks you’ve committed a crime, then the answer is probably yes. We empathize with the stories we hear of people who say they didn’t think they needed a lawyer because they knew they hadn’t done anything wrong. Unfortunately, knowing you didn’t commit a crime doesn’t mean you can’t become embroiled in defending criminal charges that may be brought against you. In fact, when you are innocent, having the assistance of a lawyer is just that much more important.
Here are some of the questions we are frequently asked, and the response from from a Milwaukee Criminal Lawyer, Attorney Carlos Gamino:
Q: Do I need a lawyer if I am innocent of the allegations brought against me?
A: Being innocent of a criminal allegation does not mean that you cannot be charged. Sometimes innocent people are found guilty due to mistakes made by the police, or zealous prosecutors looking to get a conviction and close a case, and even sometimes the things innocent people say trying to explain the situation, their lack of knowledge about the allegations, or even something they knew about the situation due to being in the wrong place at the wrong time can be taken to mean something different and end up being used against them in unintended ways. Having an experienced defense attorney by your side can make a difference during an investigation, and once charges have been brought by a district attorney’s office. In the Milwaukee area, a skilled Wisconsin criminal defense lawyer can analyze your case, build a strong defense for you, and provide support to prove your innocence. Otherwise, you run risks by representing yourself.
Q: Do I need a lawyer if my case is being investigated and no charges have been filed against me?
A: Hiring a lawyer as early as possible is the best decision. Lawyers can work with the police investigating the offense, to explain your situation in ways that do not subject you to prosecution, and may help change or refocus the nature of the investigation away from you. Even if no charges have been filed yet, you run the risk of being wrongfully charged, or facing more charges or more serious charges than if a lawyer were involved. You should not assume that the police will fairly decided whether you should be charged or not. Police and prosecutors have a job to do – investigate and prosecute offenses, not look out for your best interests. – and they often make mistakes. An experienced Wisconsin criminal lawyer in the Milwaukee area can investigate and gather evidence to influence police or prosecutors before charges are filed against you. It is substantially easier to convince a district attorney not to file charges to begin with, or to negotiate which charges to file, than to try to get the charges changed or dismissed later.
Q: What can a lawyer do once the state has filed charges against me?
A: The best criminal defense attorneys in Milwaukee, Wisconsin will evaluate the evidence, conduct independent investigation when there are facts in dispute, and attempted to have the charges dismissed. If your lawyer can’t get the prosecutor to dismiss the charges, there are motions that can be filed to ask the judge to dismiss the case, motions that can be brought to impair the district attorney’s case in the hope they will no longer have enough usable evidence to proceed with the prosecution of the charges against you, and your lawyer can engage in negotiations to reduce the charges against you to reduce the possible consequences you are facing, and/or plea bargain to have the State request lower penalties at sentencing.
Q: I know I committed a crime, what if I just want to plead guilty?
A: Even if you committed the crime, and you accept responsibility for the criminal charges that have been brought, an experienced criminal defense lawyer can protect you by helping to make sure that you are treated fairly in court. In Wisconsin judges are not bound by plea agreement negotiations, and you may receive a sentence that is higher than you expected based on an offer from the district attorney trying to resolve your case.