So, you’ve been charged with domestic violence and are wondering what to do next. You know the charges are serious and that the consequences of losing the case can drastically alter your life. Like most people, however, you’re probably unaware of exactly how these cases are handled. Do you need a lawyer, though? Consider these six reasons to hire a criminal defense attorney.
1. This is a Criminal Case
Domestic violence falls under criminal charges, which come with higher stakes upon conviction. A substantial fine is the lightest sentence you can receive. Most individuals found guilty of this crime face incarceration, the loss of certain rights like owning a firearm, and permanent smear on their public record.
Being convicted could also cost you your job, make it difficult to rent from landlords, and shows up during a background check. Attempting to represent yourself could lead to one or any combination of these consequences.
2. The Prosecution
Chances are that your accuser has already lawyered up, and their prosecution isn’t going to go easy on you. Their lawyer will not take you seriously if you try to negotiate a plea bargain, won’t reduce the charges, and will hardly listen to your legal argument if you choose to represent yourself.
Your accuser’s lawyer is well-versed in domestic violence law. Are you? The fact is, it takes an attorney to fight an attorney. If you represent yourself, the prosecution knows that this case is not only an easy win but that they can punish you to the full extent of the law.
3. Saving Yourself a Headache
Unlike working on a car or building a shed, the amount of work it takes to prepare for trial is immense. Hiring an attorney allows them to do the work for you. They examine the case, handle documentation, and build your defense in accordance with the law. An attorney may also be familiar with the court your hearing is scheduled at, helping you understand what you’re up against.
4. They Speak to Law Enforcement for You
According to a Boulder domestic violence defense attorney, one of the biggest mistakes individuals make when representing themselves is self-incrimination when speaking with law enforcement. Police routinely speak with defendants in-person or over the phone in an informal manner to gain incriminating evidence they can use in court.
5. Attorneys Are Investigators
Your lawyer doesn’t just sit in an office and prepare case files. They counteract law enforcement efforts with their own investigation. In many cases, their findings can help reduce your charges or dismiss them altogether. They can also levy the information they find to encourage the prosecution to drop or lessen charges.
6. Having Someone on Your SideDealing with any type of criminal charge is a stressful situation. Your attorney works with you during this time, offering legal counsel and helping you cope with the emotions you’re feeling. It helps to have someone on your side to talk to who can help you focus on what matters.