Criminal charges can change a person’s future in an instant. Upon arrest, it’s common to feel helpless. Concerns about family, prison time, employment, reputation, and finances can be overwhelming.
When someone in this situation comes to Berry Law Firm, they aren’t always aware of all the ways a criminal defense attorney can improve their case; they simply know that they need help.
So what can be done?
Assessing the Case
Some people charged with criminal offenses readily admit that they committed the crime and are simply looking for a way to survive with the least amount of damage done to their reputation, finances, and family. Other people charged with crimes are innocent and are willing to fight tooth and nail to avoid a conviction.
While it is always the client’s decision as to whether to go to trial or accept a plea agreement, the client does not have to make any decisions until speaking with an attorney, who will assess the severity of existing and potential criminal charges, possible criminal penalties, and other consequences.
At the same time, the criminal defense attorney is determining the strength of the government’s case. It is important for anyone charged with a crime to know that the burden of proving a case beyond a reasonable doubt belongs solely to the government. A defendant is presumed innocent, and the presumption stays with him or her throughout trial.
A criminal defense attorney will discuss strategy with the accused and eventually determine whether going to trial is a good idea. While a criminal defense attorney never really knows what the outcome of a case will be prior to trial, after reviewing all of the evidence, he or she is often in a good position to explain the strengths and weaknesses of the case and make recommendations.
Assessing the Damage
When assessing the strength of the government’s case, the best criminal defense attorneys are will also assessing the risk in terms of exposure at sentencing. During the trial preparation process, a criminal defense attorney will concurrently negotiate with the county attorney to try and get the best possible deal for his or her client. The hope is that the client will ultimately have a choice between going to trial or taking a beneficial plea agreement. It is the lawyer’s duty to advise his or her client as to the benefits and consequences of accepting any plea agreement and going to trial. In Nebraska, the benefits of any plea agreement will be put on the record in a court proceeding.
Someone to Fight the Battle with You
Criminal defense attorneys have an ethical duty to zealously advocate for their clients. If a case goes to trial, the criminal defense attorney is expected to do everything ethically and legally permissible to fight for his or her client. It is important to note that while prosecutors should be seeking justice, the criminal defense attorney is protecting the Constitutional rights of his or her client.
When the government is trying to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty of the crime charged, the criminal defense attorney’s primary focus is to attack the government’s case. If the government cannot prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt, the defendant will win the trial.
Fighting for the Best Result
For many people charged with crimes in Nebraska and other states, the issue isn’t whether they broke the law, but rather which laws they broke, whether they should be punished, and if so, the extent of the punishment. In many cases, especially in Nebraska federal criminal courts, the battle is over whether the defendant should receive a sentence of probation or a lesser prison sentence than what the government is demanding.
Providing Protection from Future Damage
Finally, it is important to understand that often people who have not been arrested or charged with a crime will retain a criminal defense attorney for legal advice in hope of avoiding criminal prosecution. It is a criminal defense attorney’s job to put his or her client in the best position possible to get the best possible result. It is also important for a criminal defense attorney to tell a client what not to do. This advice can be just as important (if not more) than the work the attorney does in the courtroom.
If you have been charged with a crime in Nebraska, contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Berry Law Firm to discuss your case immediately.