Why Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer in San Jose?
Getting arrested is scary and stressful. All of a sudden, you face time in prison or jail, expensive fines, probation, and other penalties. You’re not sure what your future is going to look like or if you have anywhere to turn during this difficult time. Your family and friends may have abandoned you, and you feel more alone now than ever.
Thankfully, there is hope: You can hire a San Jose criminal lawyer, who will be happy to assist you with your case. Then, you can get on the right track and move forward with your life in the best way possible.
What Is a Criminal Defense Lawyer?
A criminal defense lawyer is either a private or court-appointed lawyer who will represent someone who has been charged with a crime. They work with the prosecutor who is bringing about the charges against their client to reduce the charges or have them eliminated altogether.
A lawyer will meet with their client as well as the prosecutor to investigate the evidence, question witnesses, research the facts of the case, come up with a plea, and fight for their client in court. They will prepare their client to testify in court and let them know what to expect every step of the way.
Unlike a personal injury attorney, a criminal defense lawyer can charge a retainer, which is money they will request from you before working on your case. They will also charge an hourly rate. You should find out the amount of the retainer and the hourly rate ahead of time. A court-appointed San Jose criminal defense lawyer is free, but there are many downsides to working with one.
A Private vs. Court-Appointed San Jose Criminal Defense Attorney
When someone gets arrested for a crime, they may not think they should have to pay for a criminal defense lawyer. They believe that a court-appointed Santa Clara County criminal defense attorney will be good enough for them, so why spend the money?
The truth of the matter is that while a court-appointed attorney is very capable, they are often dealing with many cases at a time and are very overworked. The criminal justice system is already overwhelmed, and your lawyer likely will be too. This means they won’t have the time or energy to dedicate their full attention to your case, and you could end up experiencing a negative outcome.
However, if you hire an experienced and private San Jose criminal defense lawyer, they will give their full attention to your case. You will have a much better chance of winning your case or at the very least securing a solid plea deal so you won’t have to serve as much time or pay costly fines. Your private lawyer will work hard on your behalf and be available to you 24/7 if you have any questions or concerns. Unfortunately, you won’t get that with a court-appointed attorney.
Though there may be many other areas in your life where free is better, when it comes to a criminal defense lawyer, you don’t want to play with fire. Your future is on the line, and you just can’t risk it.
What Could Happen If You Don’t Have a Good Lawyer
Whether you take advantage of a court-appointed attorney’s services or you hire a private San Jose criminal defense lawyer who isn’t experienced, you could face terrible consequences in the future. Along with having to serve out your full sentence, pay hefty fines, go on probation, or other consequences, your entire future could be that much more challenging.
For instance, if you have crimes on you record, employers may be reluctant to hire you. Instead of getting the job you want, you may have to take minimum wage jobs and not be able to move up in your career. Not having the money you need or being able to fulfill your professional goals could be extremely detrimental to you and your growth.
Let’s say you never got a college education and after you get out of jail, you want to go to school. Then, you see how much it costs and you look into getting federal student loans. Unfortunately, you won’t be eligible for federal loans or grants if you have a criminal record. This means you either won’t be able to go to college, or you will have to take out expensive, high-interest private student loans that are going to be much harder to pay back. Again, you could end up in low-paying job that’s in a different field than the one you actually want to pursue.
Additionally, landlords don’t want to rent to ex-criminals because they may be afraid you’re going to cause trouble. You may have to live in a less than ideal apartment or move in a family member or friend. Many people with crimes on their records end up in a bad situation after they get out of jail, which could cause them to go down the wrong path and wind up behind bars again.
If you have a good criminal defense lawyer, all of this could possibly be avoided. At the very least, you’ll have a fighting chance that you wouldn’t with a less than capable private lawyer or an overworked court-appointed attorney.
How a Criminal Defense Attorney Will Help You
A San Jose or Santa Clara county criminal defense attorney can help you in a number of different ways. First, they will be your support in a time when your family and friends may have turned their backs on you. They will listen to your side of the story and empathize with what you’re going through. They’ll make you feel validated and like someone cares for you in your time of need.
Your lawyer will also build your case for you. This includes collecting evidence you have as well as gathering any other evidence they can to make your case stronger, including witness statements, photos, video footage, medical records, etc. They will assist you with making your alibi stronger, too.
Your lawyer will look at what happened with your arrest to see if there were any issues. For instance, if the arresting officer didn’t read you your Miranda Rights or explain the consequences of not doing drug testing after you were arrested, then your case could be thrown out altogether. Only a lawyer will be able to find these loopholes.
Since they understand the legal system, they will explain what’s happening with your case every step of the way. The legal system can be very confusing; they’ll be happy to go over everything with you so you’re always kept in the loop.
An experienced San Jose criminal defense attorney will also have relationships with local judges and prosecutors, which could result in a more favorable outcome for you. Additionally, they can prepare you for what’s to come since they’d worked on cases like yours before. For example, if you got charged with a DUI, they could tell you that in the past, they’ve been able to reduce fines for their clients who also had DUI charges. Then, you’ll know what to expect and you aren’t blindsided when the prosecutor makes their decision.
Coming Up With a Plea Deal or Going to Trial
The most important service a criminal defense lawyer can provide for you is working on your sentencing. A majority of criminal cases never go to court; instead, lawyers will negotiate with prosecutors and come up with plea deals. For instance, instead of going to prison for five years, you may only have to go for two years. Or, perhaps instead of going to jail at all, you can perform community service, go to classes, and pay some fines.
Keep in mind that an experienced lawyer won’t pressure you to take a plea deal. They will simply let you know what worked for their clients in the past and the chances of winning your case if you take it to court. Of course, they’d be willing to take it all the way and go to court for you. Typically, prosecutors are happy to do plea deals because court is time-consuming and costs much more money. Plus, they don’t want to clog the criminal justice system.
Since you’re the client, the course of action your lawyer takes is completely up to you – they’ll provide their advice to you and you can then decide what you want them to do.
How to Find a Good San Jose Criminal Defense Lawyer
When searching for a San Jose or Santa Clara County criminal defense attorney, you will likely start with word of mouth recommendations. Ask any other friends or family members who have hired a lawyer in the past what if they have any solid referrals.
If not, then look for a lawyer who has years of experience representing clients who were charged with the same or similar crimes. You can check out their website, paying attention to their testimonials and results pages to see what kind of deals they were able to work out for their clients. In addition, make sure you look them up on Yelp, Google Reviews, Avvo, and other review sites to see what clients had to say.
When you get in touch with a lawyer, they should respond to you within 24 hours. If they don’t, it may be a sign that they are unresponsive. Since you might be in an emergency situation, time is of the essence, and you can’t wait too long for a lawyer to return your call. Beyond that, they should be available to you when you need them. Though they may not always be able to take your call every minute of the day, they should still get back to you promptly.
You should ask your lawyer about their experience in the Santa Clara County and San Jose court systems. Do they have positive relationships with local prosecutors and judges? This will really help your case if they do.
At your first meeting, ask your lawyer about how they typically work with clients. Do they always go for plea deals, or are they willing to go to court for you if that’s what you want? If it seems like they aren’t willing to work on your terms at all and instead have their own agenda, then you may want to find someone else.
Also, ask your lawyer about how the legal system works and what will happen from here. They should take the time to explain the process and clear up any legal jargon. If they seem impatient or like they don’t care to explain things to you or listen to you, then find someone who will go the extra mile for you.
Contacting a San Jose Criminal Lawyer
If you are facing criminal charges and need representation, Elliot Silver, San Jose criminal attorney, can help. He has over 25 years of experience as a criminal defense lawyer in San Jose, Santa Clara County, and surrounding areas.
Elliot Silver has secured many favorable outcomes for his clients. One client was facing drug charges and he was able to negotiate outpatient drug treatment instead. Another client was charged with robbery after an alleged purse snatching, and Elliot Silver worked hard so that his client wouldn’t have to go to jail. A third client Elliot was representing was charged with theft, but the person didn’t commit the crime. Elliot got the case dismissed after reviewing surveillance footage of the alleged transaction.
You never know what Elliot Silver could accomplish for you. In a time when it seems like you don’t have any hope, he can provide a silver lining and help you get back on your feet.
Ready to get in touch? Then contact Silver Law Firm today to schedule a free and confidential consultation. You can email us at [email protected], fill out the form on our website, or call us anytime at (510) 995-0000.