Being charged with any crime puts a lot on the line. From fines and fees that can impact your financial well-being to short- and long-term consequences that threaten your future, penalties that come with a conviction can be steep. Although felonies are notorious for their significant repercussions – including the potential for lengthy prison sentences – misdemeanors are nothing to take lightly.
At Ilkhanoff & Silverstein, our York criminal defense lawyers have more than 30 combined years of experience representing clients charged with all types of offenses, including misdemeanors ranging from DUI and drug crimes to theft offenses and probation violations. Although the facts of every case are different, all criminal charges are serious matters – especially when they are handled by a system and prosecutors that aggressively seek convictions.
Because misdemeanors are serious cases, and because protecting your future is of the utmost importance, working with a proven criminal defense attorney can make all the difference when you or a loved one faces charges. Although these allegations warrant skilled representation, we have spoken with many clients over the years who were unsure as to whether hiring a private criminal defense attorney for a misdemeanor case is worth it. Below are a few reasons why you still need an attorney when being charged with a misdemeanor.
- Serious Penalties – Penalties associated with a conviction are among the top reasons why working with an experienced lawyer is critical in misdemeanor cases. Depending on the charges, defendants can face a range of serious short- and long-term consequences, including fines, court ordered classes, probation, terms of imprisonment, and criminal records that can limit professional and personal opportunities in your future. Some crimes will also pose additional penalties, such as driver’s license suspension (in DUI cases) or even the loss of certain civil rights (the right to own a firearm after a domestic violence conviction). If aggravating factors (such as accidents or high BAC levels in DUI cases) or prior convictions are involved, penalties can be elevated. By understanding what’s on the line, you can understand the importance of working with top attorneys capable of avoiding or mitigating the consequences you face.
- Protect Your Rights – One of the most important things to understand when being charged with any crime is that you have legal rights. By working with an attorney, you can ensure those rights are protected at every stage of the process. Additionally, skilled lawyers can review the facts and circumstances surrounding your arrest to ensure your rights were not violated when you were stopped, searched, and arrested under suspicion of committing a crime, which may be the case if law enforcement conducted an unlawful search and seizure. Attorneys know what to look for, how to protect your rights, and what can be done to secure a positive outcome when those rights are violated.
- Court Appearances – As a matter of practicality, attorneys can handle a great deal of work on your behalf. This includes not only communicating with law enforcement officials, but also making certain court appearances to reduce conflict in your personal or professional life. As a client-focused law firm, we always keep clients involved in the status of their case and defense, and discuss all matters and appearances we handle on their behalves.
- Public Defenders – If you choose to forgo a private defense lawyer, you may be represented by a public defender appointed by the government. Public defenders have admirable professions, and are dedicated to helping defendants facing criminal charges. Unfortunately, it is a known fact that PD offices are often overburdened with heavy caseloads, underfunded and lacking resources, and commonly staffed by younger lawyers. When you choose to work with a private defense attorney like those at Ilkhanoff & Silverstein, you get a legal team that makes itself readily available to your needs, and that has the time, resources, and experience required of a successful defense strategy.
- Pursuing the Best Possible Outcome – Criminal defense attorneys have experience pursuing various outcomes for clients. Rather than simply pleading guilty, you can work with a defense lawyer to not only explore viable defense strategies that can result in a dismissal of charges, but also to pursue negotiations or sentencing alternatives such as reduced charges and penalties, treatment or diversion programs in lieu of incarceration, and other possible outcomes that mitigate consequences and provide you with the best possible outcome.
Working with a criminal defense attorney when it matters most can make all the difference. As can taking immediate action to secure the help you need. At Ilkhanoff & Silverstein, our criminal defense lawyers are ready to discuss your case, rights, and defense during an initial consultation. Contact us to get started.