Most people do not have a very solid understanding of the criminal system, which causes confusion when they are confronted with a criminal case. Even the little things like knowing where to go and who to talk to can be frustrating. Having an attorney to guide you through the process can make things more bearable, and give you peace of mind. An attorney will be able to explain to you the process, and give you an idea of what you will face when you step into the courtroom.
Relationships with the Court Personnel
By working in the court system, attorneys develop relationships with all of the people you will face during your case. Your attorney will know the judges, prosecutors, bailiffs, clerks, and police officers who will be handling your case. This allows your attorney to know what to expect when you step into court, so there won't be any surprises. Additionally, the relationships your attorney has with the court personnel can help your case through plea bargains, reduced penalties, and fair treatment.
Unless you are well versed in criminal practice, it is nearly impossible to evaluate a case and see all of the possibilities. Even someone who does have a basic understanding of the law should not try to develop their own case, because it is difficult to look at the case objectively. That is why it is said that a person who represents themselves has the world's dumbest client. An experienced attorney will be able to look at your case and see what strengths and weaknesses it has to devlope the best course of action. But more importantly, an attorney is trained to use the strengths of your case to get you the most favorable results.
Dismissed Cases and Reduced Penalties
A prosecutor's job is obtain convictions, and dispose of cases quickly. So when they have a defendant who comes to court unrepresented, there is a good chance that they are going to try and get the defendant to just plead guilty and be done with it. This is true even in cases where there are serious holes in the prosecution's case. If you have an attorney to point out these holes, the prosecution is much more likely to reduce the charge/penalties, or dismiss the case all together. Even in cases where all the evidence is against you, if you have an attorney, prosecutors tend to be willing to work out a deal favorable to you in order to avoid a costly trial.
Protection From the Police
In order for your case to be prosecuted, the prosecution needs evidence to convict you. The police are very skilled at getting information from defendants even when the defendant does not know that they are giving information. Unless you know what and why you are being asked certain questions, you could very easily be eliciting incriminating information. That is why you need to have an attorney with you to put a stop to questions that could hurt your case.
Most of the time, a defendant has already spoken with the police before consulting with an attorney. During that conversation, the police may have obtained damaging information. If left unchecked, this information could be devastating to a case. An attorney may be able to have this information suppressed or put into perspective so that it does the least amount of damage possible.
A Friend in a Time of Need
An attorney is more than just a legal adviser, but also friend during a difficult time. Attorneys have been through cases with many different clients, and they understand the extreme stress and anxiety that it causes. You can tell your attorney anything that you are feeling, and there is a good chance that they have heard it before and will be able to offer you advice to ease your mind. But most importantly, anything you tell your attorney is confidential and you won't ever have to worry about what you say being disclosed.
No Case is too Small
Most people don't realize the long-lasting affects of even the smallest infraction. For example, something as small as a speeding ticket can cost considerable sums of money over the course of time. Although the fine for the ticket may not cost much, the increased insurance rates can add up fast. Likewise, a drug abuse conviction may only cost a few hundred dollars, but it could affect your ability to gain employment, receive promotions, receive student loans, and find housing. An attorney will be able to address these issues with you, and prevent your past from hindering your future.