We are often asked “Should I hire an attorney if I think I’m Guilty?” According to a recent global study conducted by the World Justice Project, nearly 50% of surveyed Americans reported that they experienced some form of legal issues within the past twenty-four months. Suffice it to say, the need for seeking legal representation is significant.
But what if I’m guilty of a crime? Do I really need an attorney?
Yes — even if you believe you are guilty of the charges against you, you should still seek the help of a criminal defense attorney. Let’s explore the dangers of avoiding legal representation as well as sound reasons to hire an attorney, regardless of the circumstances surrounding your case.
Possible Consequences of a Guilty Plea
From minor traffic tickets to serious felony charges, there are generally two main reasons people refrain from hiring a criminal defense attorney. These reasons are:
- The cost of legal fees
- The belief that they are guilty
So the first consideration of the question “Should I hire an attorney if I think I’m Guilty?” should perhaps be “What will happen if I just plead guilty?” While making the decision to retain legal counsel is an investment, entering a guilty plea without professional support can lead to far greater consequences and expenses that could otherwise be avoided with the aid of an attorney.
The following is an overview of common consequences of pleading guilty, whose severity can compound when you do not hire an attorney:
- Increased jail time or prison sentence. Avoid the assumption that entering a guilty plea will carry the minimum penalty. When you enter a guilty plea without an attorney, the judge may impose much harsher jail or prison sentence than what you expected.
- Fines. When you enter a guilty plea, you may absorb a massive amount of court costs, fines and fees, and, in civil cases, court-ordered financial restitution. Oftentimes, hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you save more money in the long run.
- Suspension of driving privileges. When you plead guilty to a DUI charge or another traffic crime, you increase your risk of losing the freedom to drive. And, even if your charges are not directly related to driving, you may be given additional penalties that can affect your ability to legally operate a motor vehicle.
- Probation has many different varieties and not knowing the full scope of the requirements can lead to a heavy and unexpected penalty if you submit a guilty plea.
- Employment consequences. Having a criminal record acts is like having a permanent scar — one that can cause job termination and difficulty finding new employment.
- Inability to carry a firearm. Depending on your crime, your ability to possess a firearm may be restricted if you plead guilty.
- For certain crimes, if your immigrant status is anything other than “U.S. Citizen” a guilty conviction may carry mandatory deportation.
- Damage to personal and family relationships. Initiating a guilty plea rarely considers the wake of collateral damage on the other side of a conviction. Not only can a guilty plea affect parenting plans and child custody, but also a feeling of resentment and depression for not fighting for a better outcome.
Reasons to Hire an Attorney, Even When You Think You Are Guilty
“Should I hire an attorney if I think I’m Guilty?” Yes. There is a lot we can do to protect our client’s and bring facts to the Court’s attention which can reduce your consequences.
Navigating the criminal justice system alone rarely leads to favorable outcomes. While there is no shortage of free advice on the internet, there is no substitute for the high-level knowledge, understanding, and guidance that an experienced lawyer can offer.
Even if you think you are guilty, hiring an attorney is always the best step to see that your rights are protected. A quality criminal defense lawyer will explore every option and detail when building your defense and keep you well-informed regarding the progress of your case. Only an experienced representative can provide you with a clear understanding of the charges, penalties, and the best pathway for minimizing damages.
When you work with a skilled defense attorney like ours at the Law Offices of John Schmidt & Associates PLLC, you can feel confident that we will:
- Investigate and examine all evidence that pertains to the burden of proof
- Negotiate a plea deal on behalf of your best interests
- Request alternative sentencing so that your punishment fits your crime
To start seeking justice, contact our office in Shepherdsville, Kentucky, and schedule an appointment.
Communicating With Your Defense Attorney
Of the many reasons to hire legal representation, one major benefit is having open and honest communication about your case with your attorney. Doing so serves as a critical foundation for building your defense and fighting for your best result.
Navigating the criminal justice system is a frightening experience, so it’s understandable when people who believe they are guilty struggle with sharing their stories with an attorney. Here are some tips on effectively communicating with your attorney:
- Answering questions with honesty and integrity
- Maintaining transparency with small details that may impact the perception of the case
- Revealing up to date information and progress
- Adhering to advice on what to say and what not to say
- Allowing them to facilitate, advise, and lead you through the process
Fighting for Your Rights, No Matter What
When you choose to navigate the criminal system alone or plead guilty without an attorney, you put your freedoms at risk for the maximum penalties the law will allow. Despite what you may think, options are always available to build a proper defense.
At the Law Offices of John Schmidt & Associates, we take pride in offering compassionate legal representation. We will aggressively fight on your behalf, no matter what.
Remember, pleading guilty without a fight is a huge mistake. Don’t risk it. If you are facing criminal charges in Shepherdsville, Kentucky, or the neighboring areas of Louisville, Elizabethtown, Jeffersontown, Mount Washington, or Radcliff, we are here to help when you need it most.
Share your story in confidence and call our office today.