The task of mounting a defense against criminal charges can be a very serious matter for anyone to handle. Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions regarding this process, and if you assume these notions are true, you may find it more difficult to successfully defend yourself against charges and accusations. To help you more effectively defend yourself, you should consider the realities behind the following commonly held misconceptions about criminal proceedings.
Myth: You Can Always Avoid Paying For A Lawyer By Opting For A Public Defender
It is no secret that hiring a lawyer can be a costly investment, but there are many people that assume the courts will automatically supply them with an attorney upon request. While it is true that public defenders are an option for those that are unable to afford an attorney, the courts impose strict income requirements to qualify for these services.
For those that qualify for a public defender, it may be worthwhile to find a private attorney that is affordable or willing to make payment arrangements. Public defenders often have intense caseloads, and this can limit the time that they have to represent each client. By hiring a private attorney, you can ensure that they are able to give your case the attention that it warrants.
Myth: You Will Always Be Offered A Plea Deal
Plea deals are common in the criminal justice system, but some defendants make the mistake of assuming that they will automatically be offered one. However, these deals are made at the discretion of the prosecutor, and depending on the seriousness of your case, you may not receive one of these offers.
However, if you are represented by an experienced attorney, it may be possible for them to initiate the negotiation process with the prosecutor. While this may not always be successful, it can be a worthwhile attempt for those that want to avoid a jury trial. During this process, it is also important to note that you must agree to the terms your attorney negotiated before the courts will accept the plea deal.
Fighting a criminal charge can be one of the most stressful and serious things that a person can have to do. Failing to properly defend yourself can result in your rights being violated, jail time and criminal records. By having an appreciation for the fact that there are requirements to be appointed a public defender and that plea deals are not automatically given to defendants, you will be in a better position to protect your rights during criminal proceedings. For further assistance, contact a local criminal defense attorney.