As a criminal defense lawyer for the past 19 years, I have been asked that question thousands of times. Do I need a lawyer? It depends. What are the police contacting you for? What are you being investigated for? Have you been charged with a criminal act and is it a misdemeanor or a felony?
If you have been charged with a crime such as a DUI or domestic battery or if you were involved in a fist fight at a bar and have been charged with a misdemeanor battery, you will need an experienced criminal defense lawyer. If you have been charged with a felony from a sex offense charge to heroin possession or other drug crime, you will also need a lawyer yo help you through the process.
Many people wonder why they need an attorney if they did not commit the crime. The answer is that in order to have a successful outcome of your case, you need to thwart the prosecutions case and show that they cannot prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Would you perform knee surgery on yourself? NO. So why would you try to defend yourself and put your freedom at risk. Misdemeanor charges make up to 364 days in the county jail possible – not always likely – but possible. Felony charges make time in either the county jail or the Illinois Department of Corrections very possible.
Some petty offenses do not require an attorney. But the expertise that a criminal defense lawyer can bring to the table can help you in the long run – making sure that your record and background is as clear as possible.
Posted by criminal defense lawyer John W Callahan