Being charged with a crime in Missouri can have serious and life-changing consequences. Whether you are facing a misdemeanor charge for public intoxication or a felony charge for murder, you and your case stand to benefit from hiring a criminal defense attorney. The aid of a lawyer will greatly increase your chances of reducing your sentence or winning your case outright.
A good criminal defense attorney will not just simply work to prove your innocence or lessen your sentence. Instead, a good criminal defense attorney will make sure that the State proves its case against you. In every case the State is responsible for proving its case against you. A good criminal defense attorney will make sure that the State does its job if you are forced to take your case to trial.
In misdemeanor cases where a plea is necessary, a criminal defense attorney can work to make sure that you do not serve any jail time or lessen the amount of fines and jail time sought by the State. Your attorney may also plead your case directly to the court and encourage the court to permit you to complete public service hours or pay fines instead of spending time behind bars.
Felony charges carry a greater penalty than misdemeanor charges. If found guilty, you can be required to spend more than a year in prison or worse. If you and your attorney agree that you cannot win the case, efforts will be focused on shortening your sentence and the impact of the conviction on your life. In those circumstances, a criminal defense attorney can be effective in negotiating a plea deal with the State which may include lesser charges, minimal time in prison, or alternative sentencing options. The attorney may also plead your case directly to the court and request alternative sentencing options, if available.
Court-appointed defense attorneys are required by law to be made available for every individual facing criminal charges when those charges may lead to jail time. However, most states and counties including Missouri require proof of insufficient finances before the court will provide you with legal representation free-of-charge.
There is also no guarantee that you will be issued a criminal defense attorney to represent you for all of your pre-trial hearings. Pre-trial matters (everything leading up to the trial date, including your arrest and court appearances) are the foundation of your case. From the moment you are arrested, everything you say and do can affect the outcome of your case. You have the legal right to request an attorney be present for all police questioning and you should do so. Failure to hire a criminal defense attorney to represent and advise you through all of the pre-trial matters can be a very costly mistake.
Although no attorney can guarantee any outcome in your case, hiring a criminal defense attorney who understands how the process works can greatly increase the chances of a good defense or a successful plea deal. If you or someone you love is facing criminal charges in the state of Missouri, our law office can help. Mike Campbell, Columbia, MO criminal defense lawyer is experienced in all areas of criminal law, from infractions to serious felonies. Contact our legal team to today for a free, confidential, zero-obligation consultation of your case.