Anyone charged with a crime in the city of Philadelphia should seek out an experienced criminal defense attorney. When navigating the legal system, it becomes vital to secure reliable counsel who has your best interests in mind. The attorney should also possess the required background to defend the specific charges levied against you.
Whether facing misdemeanor or felony charges, you must work with someone capable of mounting the best defense possible. Once convicted, you carry a criminal conviction on your record forever. Yes, options for expungement may exist, but they are rare. Would it not be best to seek the withdrawal or dismissal of charges or procure a “not guilty” verdict, if possible?
Several reasons exist why retaining a criminal defense attorney is necessary in Philadelphia:
The Attorney Fully Explains the Charges
Just because you are arrested and arraigned doesn’t mean the police or the courts will thoroughly explain your situation to you. Discussions about the seriousness of the charges, the case against you, and the odds of a conviction should come from an attorney hired to represent you.
The Attorney Speaks for You
The attorney represents you during questioning. A common mistake people make when arrested is they speak to the police without an attorney present. They can incriminate themselves unnecessarily in doing so. They also make their defense more difficult. Once an attorney officially represents you, the chances of a defendant hurting his/her case diminish. Self-incrimination becomes much less likely once an attorney takes over.
A Weak Case Might Not Stand
District attorneys don’t always have a strong case against the accused. Evidence, for example, could be circumstantial or illegally obtained. If the case is incredibly weak, an attorney could seek the dismissal of charges. That means it does not go to trial and ends.
Dealing with the Courts, District Attorneys, and Sentencing
A reputable and ethical attorney won’t lead a client to believe an impossible outcome is possible. If going to trial means a near-certain conviction, the attorney can work on behalf of the courts to devise a plea deal. Pleading to a lesser charge is common, but don’t expect the DA to offer the best plea deal out of pure generosity. A defense attorney likely must negotiate a reasonable deal.
Plea bargains can lead to a reduction of charges and/or the withdrawal of some charges. A felony charge could be reduced to a misdemeanor. A misdemeanor may even be reduced to an infraction. Infractions aren’t considered criminal convictions, which benefits those hoping to avoid the stigma of a record.
Whether pleading or facing sentencing at the end of a trial, an attorney can argue for leniency. A defendant does not necessarily have to face the maximum penalty as many factors come into play. A prior record, time served, and more contribute to sentencing decisions.
Seek Qualified Counsel
Dealing with the Philadelphia courts and the Pennsylvania criminal justice system can become overwhelming. When facing charges, seeking out the best possible defense attorney makes sense.