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5 Clear Signs That It’s Time to Call a Defense Attorney

The Law Firm of Andrea M. Kolski

The U.S. Sentencing Commission reports that about 57,377 federal criminal defense cases ended with a sentence in 2021. If you’re worried about joining these ranks, it’s important that you call a lawyer to help you defend yourself in a court of law.

A criminal or civil defense attorney can help you avoid hefty fines and jail time. Read on to learn some situations where it’s important to get legal help ASAP.

1. You Want to Win

If you’re the defendant in a criminal case, you’re guaranteed a public defender. Unfortunately, the courts are overloaded with cases and public defenders bare the burden of this workload. Even with the best intentions, it’s nearly impossible for a public defender to devote the time necessary to adequately defend your case. They are often forced into accepting plea deals in order to avoid the heavy lifting of an actual trial. It may not be fair, but it’s the reality of our overworked court system.

National standards recommend that public defenders handle under 150 felony cases, 400 misdemeanors, 200 mental health cases, or 25 appeals annually. These numbers are already high but 60% of public defenders exceed the threshold. Thus, they do not have the authority to refuse new cases as they continue to pile up.

If you’re in a civil case or refuse a public defender in a criminal one, you’ll need to provide your own defense. Heading to court without a lawyer is like bringing a knife to a gunfight. It’s not likely to go very well. Even the best attorneys know to hire attorneys to represent them. Lawyers understand self-representation is a losing bet.

Put simply, defending a case requires a lot of research, legal understanding, and experience. History shows that hiring an experienced attorney is a wise decision that can produce the best possible outcome.

2. The Police Are Investigating You

Most people trust the police have their best interest at heart. This is a mistake. The police are there to enforce the law, not to look out for you. Unfortunately, jails and prisons are full of people who unknowingly spoke to the police without a lawyer present. Whether you’re a witness or suspect, you should never speak to authorities without a lawyer present.

You likely know that “anything you say can and will be held against you” per your Miranda rights. This is 100% true, and saying the wrong thing to law enforcement can help them build a court case against you- whether you know it or not.

Police have a lot of leeway when it comes to the truth- and they can flat out lie in many instances to extract information. A good example is this Louisiana case. Using a single word incorrectly can forfeit your right to counsel… or be used to prove that you’re guilty later, even if you’re innocent.

A defense attorney will serve as a legal confidante. You can tell them anything about your case and get advice on what to say. They can help you talk to the authorities and avoid saying the wrong thing.

It’s always a good idea to have an experienced attorney on your side when dealing with law enforcement.

3. Jail Time Is a Possibility

Time behind bars is serious business, whether it’s in a county jail or a state prison. Even a short stint can ruin your life. It’s important to work with a criminal defense attorney to avoid jail altogether if possible.

Experienced attorneys know time is of the essence in criminal cases. Therefore, they understand that prosecutors are more likely to work with them early in a case to hopefully avoid more work in the future. An experienced attorney can use this to your advantage when negotiating with the court.

If jail seems imminent, an experienced defense attorney can work to secure a shortened sentence or get credit for time served, etc. For example, one might get 6 months rather than 5 years, which can alter the course of your life. Even in the most dire situations, an experienced defense attorney can help you avoid jail altogether.

Hiring a lawyer immediately also gives them more time to prepare your case. If there’s evidence that will exonerate you, they’ll have more time to find it.

4. Police Are Searching Your Belongings

We’ve all seen it on countless crime shows and movies- the dreaded police search. Most people believe if they’re innocent, they have nothing to hide. Once again, those assumptions could cost you your freedom. While it’s true that that authorities must have a warrant to search your home, that doesn’t mean you don’t have rights. Having a defense attorney will insure your rights are protected and that any searches of your property follow the letter of the law.

Probable cause is the rationale behind most property searches. Whether it’s your car or home, a search means the police believe there’s evidence or information to help them with a case. It’s important to remember, the police are there to enforce the law, not look out for your best interest. Therefore, a defense attorney is often the only thing standing between you and the power of the state.

The bottom line is this: if a search is being conducted in your home or car or place of work, contact your defense attorney immediately. Even if you are not involved in a crime or believe you’re a suspect, you can easily get caught up in a case without knowing it. Your freedom could be at stake. Having a defense attorney is the best insurance against a police search gone awry.

5. You Want a Record Expunged

If you have already been convicted of a crime in the past, that record is likely to stick with you for life. A quick internet search can reveal decades-old convictions or long-forgotten legal issues. These records can have terrible consequences throughout your life. Having a record can impact your ability to find a job, secure a bank loan, rent an apartment, or even get a date! A stained reputation can be an albatross around the neck for life.

Luckily, there are ways that you can expunge some criminal records. This means that they’ll be cleared from your records and you’ll have a clean slate.

Depending on the type of offense and the circumstances, it’s possible a defense attorney can help you clear your records. Texas has recently passed legislation to help many people looking to clear their records and start fresh. However, the requirements and filing protocols can be complicated and time consuming.

An experienced attorney can review your situation and determine whether you qualify for an expungement or non-disclosure. This can save you countless hours of time and possibly give you the fresh start you deserve.

Ready to Hire a Defense Attorney?

Now that you know some of the ways a defense attorney can help you, it’s time to find the right one for your situation. Texas defense attorney Andrea M. Kolski is a former prosecutor with over 22 years experience in tough Texas courts. Her track record of success is second to none. While no attorney can guarantee an outcome, Andrea has secured countless dismissals and reduced sentences in even the most difficult cases. Her brand, Nonstop Justice is a reflection of her commitment to defending the rights of the accused.

If you or a loved one are facing charges or legal issues, it’s worth talking to an experienced attorney. Contact us today to get started.

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