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Do I Need a Criminal Lawyer? Here’s How to Tell

For the most part, if you have been charged with a crime, hiring a criminal lawyer is almost mandatory. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. A criminal lawyer knows the ins and outs of the legal system and is best equipped to advise you throughout the process. The criminal lawyers at Posner Craig Stein LLP explain more about how to tell if you need to hire a criminal lawyer.Prison Time
If the consequences of your crime include the possibility of prison time, you definitely need to hire a criminal lawyer. You want to get the shortest prison term possible or to stay out of prison altogether, and without a lawyer, it’s unlikely that you’ll know how to do that. The criminal justice system is extremely complicated, much more so than it appears to be on television. It’s not something you should try to learn when you’re facing charges.
Crimes that could include a prison term include some misdemeanors, such as simple assault, theft, public intoxication, vandalism, trespass, possession of some drugs like marijuana, and prostitution. Felonies such as murder, kidnapping, rape, aggravated assault, arson, robbery, burglary, fraud, possession of some drugs, and grand larceny almost always include a prison term as a consequence. If you’re charged with any of these crimes, call a lawyer right away.
Repeat Offender
While a criminal lawyer is recommended even when someone is charged with a crime for the first time, it’s definitely suggested if you’re a repeat offender. This is because even misdemeanors can have harsh consequences if you’ve been in trouble with the law on prior occasions. You are going to need all the help you can get to stay out of prison or get a short prison term if the judge determines you’re a habitual criminal (even if you’re not). 
If you’ve been arrested for an offense and it’s not your first time you’ve been arrested, a call to a criminal lawyer should be the first call you make. If it’s not, it should be the first call your family makes on your behalf. A lawyer needs to get started on your case right away to make sure your rights are protected every step of the way.
Under Investigation
You may not have been arrested yet, but if you are currently under investigation for a crime, a criminal lawyer can help make sure that investigators and other law enforcement representatives don’t overstep their legal limits. If the police are requesting that you come in for questioning about a crime, don’t assume they think you’re just a witness. Bring your lawyer with you to keep you from saying something you’ll later regret. If you’re presented with a search warrant, contact a lawyer right away to be present during the search, as is your legal right to do. Again, this ensures that the search follows exactly what is in the warrant and doesn’t violate your rights.
Essentially, if you have been arrested or are being investigated with regard to a crime, hiring a criminal lawyer is a must. You don’t want to leave your future to chance and a lawyer is your best bet for a positive outcome.

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