While many of us have experienced the panic and fear involved in receiving something as menial as a speeding ticket, the stress cannot compare to that of being charged with a criminal offense. The differences are night and day. There is no easy fee to pay to make it all go away. There are plenty of unknowns (especially if this is your first time). Plus, the very idea of the repercussions involved in a guilty verdict can be utterly terrifying.
Fortunately, you will not be alone on this frightening journey. Whether you're appointed a legal defense team by the state or have the means to afford your own, there will be a team by your side fully equipped with the knowledge and experience necessary to handle your case. Let's look a little closer at each member and what you can expect of them.
- Significant Other: This is your most important team member! While they don't necessarily have to be a spouse or significant other, they are going to be your main means of communication to the outside world before your bail hearing; they should be somebody who you trust explicitly and who is responsible enough to handle the role. They should know how to contact your attorney in the event you are unable to reach them and have access to your funds in order to arrange for bail and pay your lawyer for their services.
- Primary Attorney: Your primary criminal attorney will be the one who meets you at the police station (or jail if you've already been arrested). They will be your representation in court, who will argue the issue of release pending trial. It can be incredibly beneficial if you know them already, either professionally or as a family friend/member; if you're already well-versed in each other's characters, the entire process will go much smoother.
- Paralegal: Paralegals, also known as legal assistants, are a vital part of the legal defense team. They help the attorney manage all the minute details of the defense and frequently communicate with defense witness to ensure they appear in court on time. They perform a significant amount of research during the trial, especially when previously unknown legal issues pop up.
With over 1,315,561 lawyers in the U.S., you're sure to find the right legal defense team for your personal case and needs. If you find yourself facing a criminal investigation, know that you don't have to go it alone; with so many qualified and experienced criminal defense lawyers available, you can rest assured you're in safe hands.