The cost of hiring a criminal defense attorney may look expensive, but not when you look at the potential cost of not hiring one. Depending on the charge you face, you may miss weeks to years of employment. If you lose your job, finding another may be difficult, so there’s additional time without income.
When questioning the cost of hiring an attorney, think about the big picture.
Representing Yourself Isn’t a Great Idea
It’s common sense to hire someone when you need specialized help, especially when the consequences may be severe.
- If you’re having health problems, do you see a doctor?
- If you own a business, do you use an accountant to avoid tax problems?
- If you need a new roof for your house, will you replace it yourself?
The cost of legal representation varies widely, based on the amount of time the attorney expects your case will take. The more serious the charge, whether you have a prior record and the facts will largely determine the time it will take to defend you.
If you’re charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OVI) and representation costs you $2,500, that can be a lot of money for some. You could represent yourself, but the chances are good you know little or nothing about criminal law, the trial process, or legal procedures.
You’ll be at the mercy of the prosecutor who wants to close your case and put a win in their records. He or she doesn’t work for you and doesn’t have your interests in mind. They don’t care what happens to you now and how it may impact your future. The judge is neutral, so they won’t advocate for you.
The prosecution may offer a plea agreement that may or may not be reasonable. If you go to trial, the prosecutor will probably run circles around you. Remember there are rules about what evidence you can present and when. You might not realize how bad things are going until you hear the verdict. When you represent yourself, you’ll probably be convicted and may get a stiff sentence.
The Higher Costs of Not Hiring an Attorney
What will a conviction cost you? Depending on your prior record and the facts, you may:
- Spend days to years in prison and pay thousands of dollars in fines
- Lose your job and benefits as well as the ability to support yourself and your family
- Lose your reputation, which can significantly hurt if you own a business or are involved in local organizations
- Break up with your partner or get divorced
- Lose custody of your child
- Be deported if you’re an undocumented immigrant or on a visa
With a criminal record, you may:
- Be prevented from getting a professional license
- Need to disclose it on job applications, which can make it harder to get hired
- Have a difficult time renting because a landlord may not want tenants with criminal records
Contact an LHA and Get a Columbus Criminal Attorney
There’s no guarantee there won’t be any consequences if you retain a lawyer to represent you. But an experienced attorney who knows criminal law and the court process is your best chance at getting the best outcome possible.
With a defense lawyer with LHA, you can:
- Highlight police or prosecution mistakes; This can lead to a reduction or dismissal.
- Negotiate a favorable plea agreement that will lessen the harm you face.
The criminal court system is intimidating, and it might seem like a maze. When you work with a capable criminal defense attorney, you’ll be guided by someone who knows the best way through the system who will protect you along the way.