During a criminal court arraignment, the defendant must enter a plea of not guilty or guilty before a judge regarding the offense he or she is being charged with. Most defendants will enter a not guilty plea. After this plea, the judge will set a date for the next steps in the case. The judge will also take into consideration any bail requests made by a prosecutor or the defendant. If the defendant cannot afford a lawyer, the judge will appoint one. The may possibly ask the defendant to “waive time” or give up the right to any statutory proceedings or a trial.
While many people can handle this part of the process without a lawyer, if a defendant cannot afford a lawyer, it is always a better choice to have a lawyer. Lawyers are familiar with the law, legal proceedings and cases that are similar to what a defendant is being charged with. There are deadlines and practical aspects of the law that a defendant without legal experience can unknowingly miss.

When it comes to a less serious criminal charge, many defendants do choose to represent themselves. For example, a defendant charged with minor traffic incidents will rarely if ever hire an attorney or get one for free. However, defendants charges with serious felonies should always get an attorney.

The most crucial part of deciding whether to represent one’s self or get a free criminal lawyer is what the punishment will be if the defendant is convicted of the offense. If jail time is a possibility, it is always a smart decision to be represented by a lawyer. Keep in mind that minor offenses can have heavier costs down the line like insurance rates increasing, more severe punishments for second convictions, suspension or loss of a license, deportation and more.

When in doubt, if a defendant is being offered free counsel, it is always better to be safe than sorry. A free criminal lawyer can make all the difference.

Looking for a criminal lawyer in Los Angeles? Consider the following choices

  1. Farar Law Group
  2. Callahan & Blaine
  3. Gary Brustin
Categories: Legal

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