The criminal justice system in the United States is based on the presumption that people are innocent until proven guilty. Even though the concept sounds great, the system does not always embrace the principle. As a result, innocent people go to jail for crimes they did not commit.
When you are arrested on criminal charges, the district attorney and the law enforcement officers already believe you are guilty. The police officer who arrested you believes you committed the crime. For that reason alone, you need to seek legal advice from an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Our San Diego criminal attorneys offer a free case evaluation. The initial consultation is confidential, and you are under no obligation to hire our law firm. Instead, you receive skilled legal advice about criminal law and your legal rights so you can decide whether fighting criminal charges is in your best interest.
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There Is No Such Thing as a Minor Crime
Some people believe they do not need a criminal defense attorney if they are charged with a minor criminal offense. That is not the case. Some misdemeanors can result in up to one year in county jail.
Therefore, even if you are innocent, a guilty verdict could result in a jail term of up to one year. During that year, you will likely lose your job. You could also lose your home, and the absence could profoundly impact your relationship with your family.
Never assume that you should plead guilty to a crime because it is referred to as a “minor” charge. Always seek legal advice before entering a plea. If you appear in court before talking with our law firm, enter a plea of not guilty to protect your right to defend yourself against criminal charges.
Collateral Consequences of a Criminal Conviction
Even if your punishment for a crime is a small fine, a few days in jail, or probation, the long-term consequences of a criminal conviction can be devastating. You have a criminal record that could impact your life in many ways, including:
- The conviction shows up on background checks by prospective employers, landlords, colleges, etc.
- Felony convictions could result in the loss of certain rights
- The loss of suspension of a professional license. In some cases, having a criminal record could prevent you from being eligible for some professional licenses. The consequences depend on the criminal charge, the licensing regulations, and other factors.
- A criminal conviction could impact a child custody or family court case. For example, depending on the charge, the court could deny or restrict visitation with your children.
- Criminal records can impact relationships. Some family members, friends, and co-workers might not be forgiving or understanding. In addition, if you enter new romantic relationships, your criminal record could be an issue.
- Some crimes are priorable offenses, meaning prior convictions result in harsher criminal sentences for repeat offenders.
At Blair Defense, our lawyers have years of experience defending clients against criminal charges. We fight to have the charges dismissed, dropped, or reduced. If not, we aggressively pursue the best possible plea deal and advocate for you in court.
How Can a Criminal Defense Lawyer Help if I Am Innocent?
The state has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the crime. However, that does not mean you do not need to mount an aggressive defense to the charges.
A criminal lawyer helps you develop a defense strategy that gives you the best chance of beating the charges by:
- Ensuring you understand the criminal charges against you and the potential outcomes in your case
- Guiding you through the judicial process
- Conducting an independent investigation into the criminal charges filed against you
- Identifying witnesses who could testify to support your innocence
- Analyzing the evidence in your case to determine the best possible defense strategy
- Determining if law enforcement officers or the state violated your civil rights
- Negotiating for a charge reduction or a reduced sentence
- Assisting you in obtaining bail so you can get out of jail as quickly as possible
- Arguing for home detention or electronic monitoring instead of incarceration in county jail
Our experienced criminal defense lawyers have extensive courtroom experience. As a result, we are familiar with the criminal courts and judges handling your case. In addition, our attorneys have working relationships with district attorneys and prosecutors.
Exercising Your Right To Remain Silent and Demand Legal Counsel Does Not Imply Guilt
Police officers and investigators use whatever resources and tools they can to obtain information from suspects. A police officer can lie to you and claim that they can help you with the prosecutor if you talk. However, officers do not have any authority to enter plea agreements.
In many cases, police officers tell suspects that refusing to answer questions and/or asking for a lawyer makes them look guilty. The officer might state that if you are innocent, you can tell your side of the story without a criminal defense lawyer.
However, that is not true. Exercising your rights means you understand your rights and how to protect yourself when dealing with the police.
The best time to exercise your rights is immediately upon being detained, questioned, or arrested. The less you say to the police officers, the better.
Respectfully inform the officers you intend to exercise your right to remain silent and that you want to talk to your lawyer. Then stop talking until you can discuss your case with one of our attorneys.
Explaining What Happened Is Not the Best Way to Prove Your Innocence
You might feel compelled to tell your side of the story. If you can get the police officers to understand that you are innocent, they will let you go. However, police officers are not interested in discovering the truth.
The officers are looking for evidence to prove your guilt. They are trained to develop a connection with a suspect to gain the suspect’s trust. Once they have your trust, you are more likely to waive your rights.
On the other hand, a criminal defense lawyer wants to prove your innocence. You have the constitutional right to be represented by counsel. It is best to exercise your Miranda Rights even when you are entirely innocent.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our San Diego Criminal Defense Lawyers
Never assume you will be found innocent because you were arrested or charged with a crime you did not commit. Whenever a person is charged with a crime, they need to hire a criminal defense attorney. Contact our law firm Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers to schedule a free consultation with an experienced San Diego criminal lawyer by calling (619) 357-4977.