Do I Need an Attorney for a Minor Crime?
Everyone makes mistakes. Some may be less serious than others, but nobody is perfect. Sometimes a momentary lapse in judgment can lead to criminal charges and, if and when that happens, you may be tempted to try to handle the situation on your own. However, no matter how insignificant the charges may seem, you need the help of a qualified lawyer to ensure your rights are fully protected.
Under Illinois law, criminal charges may range from Class C misdemeanors, including assault, disorderly conduct, and minor marijuana possession, up to Class X felonies and murder charges. Regardless of the seriousness of the charges, an attorney can help you in three primary ways:
Understanding the Process
The criminal justice system can be very confusing and stressful, particularly for a first-time offender who is unfamiliar with the process. Your lawyer can help you keep abreast of the progress of your case, remind you when your appearance is necessary, and take care of logistical details along the way. Even if you do not plan to fight the charges, an attorney can review any proposed agreements and ensure you are getting the best deal possible.
Impact to Your Future
A conviction on any criminal charge can negatively impact your life for years to come. In addition to fines, prison sentences, probation, and other criminal penalties, a conviction becomes part of your permanent record. You may also be required to cover the costs associated with getting your life back on track, including alcohol awareness classes and other diversionary programs. Qualified legal help from an attorney can often reduce or eliminate a number of the potential effects to your life and future. A lawyer can negotiate with prosecutors to minimize the negative impacts and help you move forward more quickly.
Many times, a defendant will forego legal help because he or she believes an attorney costs too much. However, the cost of a lawyer for a relatively minor charge is often less than one might think, as the court requirements and time investment for misdemeanor offenses are not particularly intensive. It is also important to remember that qualified representation can help minimize fines and other required expenses related to a conviction, which may actually result in financial savings.
If you have been charged with a misdemeanor or any other type of crime, contact an experienced Joliet criminal defense attorney. At the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba, we understand the challenges you may be facing and are equipped to help you through the process. Call 815-740-4025 today to schedule a free consultation and put our team to work for you.