It's one of our basic human rights. It's laid out right there, in black and white, in the U.S. Constitution. The Sixth Amendment clearly states:
"In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense."
It's the last sentence which, for many, is the most important. As the old saying goes, 'a man who represents himself in court has a fool for a client,' and it's not hard to see why. No matter the level of education achieved or intelligence level inferred, a layman has no business standing before the Bar. The deck is stacked against them, not only from a personal but professional standpoint.
Lawyers only like to interact with other lawyers in criminal cases. Courts and the judges who rule over them only give merit to members of the legal profession. So before you decide to try and defend yourself over an indictment or other charges, consider these 10 ways you will benefit if you hire an attorney:
1. They Have Expertise And Specialized Knowledge In Defending The Accused - It's what they went to law school for. It's the kind of practice they've pursued. It's part of the oath they take as an attorney. They are duty-bound to vigorously defend their clients and have access to the facts, case law, and other legal rules and procedures that may impact your situation.
2. They Know The Criminal Justice System Inside And Out - Believe it or not, many prosecutors and defense attorneys, judges and court officials, know each other. Perhaps they went to school together, practiced in the same offices, or just run into each other on a daily basis as part of their job. They know the intricacies and idiosyncrasies of the local system and how best to use them to your advantage.
3. They Understand The "Strategy" Behind The Charges - Each case is different, each set of charges a mind field of potential problems and pitfalls. When the police arrest you, or the State impanels a Grand Jury, there is a strategy involved. From primary charges to lesser-included offenses, all have to be taken into consideration as part of the overall legal strategy. Only a lawyer can handle something so complex.
4. They Can Mitigate Penalties And Even Get Some Charges Lowered - More often than not, a defendant is charged with many crimes, some of which sound ancillary to the situation being adjudicated. That's what we meant by lesser-included charges before. An attorney knows how to handle these issues. They can also negotiate the best deal when it comes to trial, verdict, sentence, or the avoidance of all three via a plea deal.
5. They Can Take Action Quickly - As an individual dedicated to your cause and your defense, a lawyer must do all that they can to aid in your case. They are aware of possible prosecutorial misconduct and trickery, and can help clear the pathway to justice out of a mangled menagerie of hearings, motions, and pleadings. They can also do it with speed and efficiency, knowing which corners to cut and which factors require more time.
6. They Have The Staff To Fully And Adequately Protect Your Rights And Defend Your Interests - Granted, no lawyer is Superman. They are not going to be able to handle a dozen clients with the same exact level of concern and concentration. That's why their staff is so important. They can step in when the attorney is unavailable, and assist when cases get too complicated or dense, all in the hope of providing the soundest strategy possible.
7. They Can Aid In Getting You A Plea Deal Or A Fair Settlement Of The Charges - Backroom deals. Minimum-mandatory sentencing. The benefits that come with specific pleas and the penalties one might pay if probation or an alternative verdict is rendered. These are the everyday considerations of a criminal defense lawyer. They're the reason hiring one makes sound legal sense.
8. They Will Save You Money In The Long Run - Legal representation does not come cheap. From the free public defender to the big guns with the corner offices in the downtown high rise, the rule of thumb states you get what you pay for. If you can afford it, hire the best attorney you can. If you don't you will end up paying for it (in other ways) in the long run.
9. They Have Access To Expert Witnesses And Legal Professionals That Can Help With Your Case - No lawyer can do things alone. That's why they maintain a crackerjack staff of helpers and assistants. The same applies when it comes to trial. From assistant counsel or jury consultants, experts in all areas of the law and life, attorneys have access to a wealth of specialists who can make your day in court a little less frantic. Do you?
10. They Provide Pragmatic, Moral, And Emotional Support In Trying Times - Finally, and this may seem like a strange item to include, but the person who represents you in court doesn't just have a legal obligation to do so. They have a moral and emotional one as well. Legally, they stand for you. Pragmatically, they are a shoulder to cry on over the course of what can be a very long and grueling process.
Let attorney, Brian Lee Nash be that rock in the sea of legal chaos. He has nearly a decade of experience working with a wide range of clients. He brings a vast amount of knowledge, drive, and determination to every case he works with. If you've been involved in a criminal case, have been arrested on charges, or need answers to general questions about Tennessee and its criminal justice system, please contact Nash Law, PLLC today at 615-628-7555.
This article was written by the author on behalf of Nash Law, PLLC.