Being arrested and charged with a criminal offense is a traumatic experience for anyone, and most people understand that having proper legal representation is essential if you want to have the best possible chance of clearing your name.
But there are other situations where a criminal lawyer can help as well. In this article, we’ll look at three of them.
1. Before a Bail Hearing
If you’ve been charged with an offense, the law dictates that you must have a bail hearing within a certain period of time (in some jurisdictions, the bail hearing must happen within 24 hours, while in others it can take a few days).
The bail hearing is designed to ensure that offenders who do not pose a danger to the public are released pending their trial. People who are let out on bail can continue to work and care for their families, and reduces the burden on the prison system.
Unfortunately, bail is not granted in every situation where it should be, and judges often err on the side of keeping people in custody. In jurisdictions where bail involves a financial payment, working class and working poor people face particular challenges in securing bail.
Making sure you have an experienced criminal defense lawyer represent you at your bail hearing increases the chances that you will be released from custody.
2. If There is a Warrant Out for Your Arrest
When the police want to charge someone but they are unable to locate them, they will ask a judge to issue a warrant for that person’s arrest. This is common in the case where allegations have been made regarding crimes like:
- Property crimes
If there is a warrant out for your arrest, turning yourself is in the most sensible decision, and a criminal defense lawyer can help you coordinate the process in a way that is safe for you and for others.
3. If You are Facing Unlawful Arrest
In countries like Canada and the United States that provide constitutional protection for the civil rights of citizens and residents, the police cannot simply arrest whoever they want. They can only place someone under arrest if they have reasonable grounds to believe that person has:
- Committed an offense
- Is about to commit an offense
- Has a warrant out for their arrest
Unfortunately, law enforcement officers sometimes act beyond their powers by arresting people who they do not have reasonable grounds to believe are guilty of committing a crime. Due to the ongoing problem of racial profiling, Black people, Indigenous people, and people of color are particularly likely to be victims of unlawful arrest.
If you believe the police have violated your civil rights and are unlawfully detaining you, a criminal defense lawyer can help you regain your freedom.
The bedrock of a well-functioning justice system is the basic principle that people are innocent until a court has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that they are guilty. In practice, this cannot happen unless the accused has access to a criminal defense lawyer who can interpret the law on their behalf and present their side of the story.
If you have been charged with a crime, have a bail hearing coming up, are subject to an arrest warrant, or have been unlawfully arrested, the first step you take should be calling a criminal defense lawyer.