Everyone wants to go through life without getting in serious trouble. Nobody wants to end up in a courtroom fighting criminal charges, with a prison term threat hanging over them.
Sometimes, though, unforeseen situations occur. Perhaps you made a mistake, and now, your life is on the line. You’ll need a lawyer who can keep you out of jail or who can convince a judge to reduce your sentence.
Let’s go over five times where it’s undeniably in your interest to retain a criminal lawyer to defend you.
You Shoplifted Something
Some people compulsively shoplift. These individuals do it for the adrenaline rush that comes with it rather than because they want the items they’re taking.
Other people do it because a peer is pressuring them. Peer pressure is hard to overcome, but trying to impress your friends can land you in front of a judge if a security guard or police officer spots you.
Finding qualified criminal counsel is the first thing you’ll want to do in this situation. If this was your first offense, and what you stole was not valuable, you might get off with a reduced sentence. If you stole something valuable or you have prior offenses on your record, the situation is more dire, but you still need an experienced lawyer if you want a better outcome.
You Vandalized Something
Vandalizing something is common, particularly with younger people. This is another situation where peer pressure often plays a part.
Often, when someone vandalizes something, like a park bench, a vehicle, or a billboard, it’s not for any particular purpose. They do it to blow off some steam, or maybe they’re intoxicated, and they do it without thinking about the consequences. You’d hope that the older you get, the more you’ll realize that these are pointless actions that harm no one but yourself.
If you’re facing a vandalism charge, you’ll need a lawyer who can convince the judge that you’ve learned your lesson and won’t do anything like this again. If the damage did not amount to anything too costly, you might be able to avoid any jail time.
You Injured Someone
You might need an attorney if you got in a fight and injured someone. Many times, younger people get into physical confrontations, but it can happen at any age. You would hope that an older individual would know better, but sometimes alcohol or drugs come into play, and physical violence comes from lowered inhibitions.
If everyone can walk away with no severe injuries afterward, then you’re probably okay. Perhaps you hit one of your friends, though, and they fell and struck their head, which caused a traumatic brain injury. They might even die afterward, in which case, you’ll likely face a manslaughter charge.
If this occurs, it will be hard to avoid any jail time since you took someone’s life, albeit unknowingly. A good lawyer can argue that you’ve learned your lesson, but probably a shorter prison term is the best for which you can hope.
A Drug Charge
If the police catch you buying or using illegal drugs, you might not get any jail time, especially if this was a first offense and you were buying or using a small amount. If the cops catch you with a larger quantity, they might try to hit you with an intent to distribute charge, which carries a longer sentence if the court convicts you.
Your lawyer might be able to convince a judge that the drugs were all for you and you did not intend to sell them. This is a nonviolent charge, but the American justice system is still harsh on drug crimes in many instances.
If you can convince a judge that you’re struggling with drug addiction, they might allow you to remain out of prison. They might be okay with you attending Narcotics Anonymous and getting probation instead.
There are several different sex crimes, some of them more serious than others. If someone accuses you of rape, that’s much more of a dire situation than if the police caught you in the midst of public urination.
Regardless of what the sex crime is, you’ll want an attorney who can get you the lightest sentence possible. Maybe you can convince a judge that this was a one-time judgment lapse and you’ll never do something similar again.
If any of these situations arise, make sure to find a lawyer who has experience with similar cases.