Being charged with a crime in Kansas City can leave you confused and stressed, especially if it’s your first time or if you believe that you’re innocent. The Sixth Amendment of the Constitution declares that every person has a right to an attorney to represent him or her from the time of the arrest.
It doesn’t matter who you are or the charges you’re facing. If you want to get the best outcome in your case, you need to hire the right criminal defense attorney at the right time.
For those wondering when to hire a criminal defense attorney in Kansas City, here’s what you need to know.
Why you need a good criminal defense attorney
Many people shy away from hiring an attorney because of the expenses associated with the process. They consider it more cost-effective to work with a public defender assigned to them by the court.
However, what you need to know is that the expenses accrued in hiring a good, experienced criminal defense attorney are nothing compared to the life-altering costs that you may get down the line. It might even save you a lot of money in the long run.
It doesn’t matter whether you are guilty or not; if you don’t have good DWI lawyers in KC Mo in your corner to clear your name or at least mitigate the issue you are charged with, there is no telling the extent of the damages you might experience.
On the other hand, a good lawyer will take good care of you from the time of arrest, during the pre-filing investigations, all through to the trial process, sentencing, and beyond. They know the ins and outs of the judicial system. Therefore, with them, you can be confident that everything will be handled in the best way possible.
Understanding Criminal Charges
You need a better understanding of the nature and gravity of criminal charges is an essential part of a strong defense. It involves knowledge of different types of criminal charges, potential penalties, and how a criminal defense attorney can help.
Types of Criminal Charges
Criminal charges can range from minor infractions or crimes to serious felony charges. In Kansas City, MO, criminal charges are classified into three categories:
Infractions: The least serious offenses that typically result in fines.
Misdemeanor: More serious criminal charges than infractions that typically result in jail time, fines, or both.
Felonies: The most serious category of criminal charges that leads to long prison sentences and substantial fines.
Potential Penalties and Consequences
The penalties for criminal charges vary depending on the severity of the offense, the defendant’s criminal history, and other factors.
The most common potential penalties may include fines, imprisonment, community service, probation, and more. In addition to penalties, criminal charges, and convictions can have serious personal and professional consequences that include
Loss of employment opportunities
Long-term damage to reputation
The strain on personal relationships
Role of a Criminal Defense Attorney
A criminal defense attorney is a professional advocate of the accused person. The attorney has a better understanding of criminal law, hence, can help you provide multiple ways to navigate through the criminal charges.
Your attorney will gather evidence, conduct interviews, question witnesses, and prepare a strong defense strategy to protect your rights in court. It helps you get the best possible outcome out of the situation.
Your attorney will also handle the legal document preparation, question the legality of the arrest, negotiate plea deals, and represent you in the trial.
With the experience and knowledge of a criminal defense lawyer, you can understand the complexities of the system and get guidance and support throughout the legal process.
When should you hire a criminal defense attorney in Kansas City?
The best time to hire a criminal defense attorney is right away. If the prosecution has already filed criminal charges against you, don’t be surprised if the criminal justice system moves faster than you thought. Hesitation can lead to more severe consequences or ruin your chances of getting acquitted.
As mentioned earlier, the court carries out a pre-filing investigation – this is where the prosecutor gathers as much evidence as possible on the charge made against you by the police. Your defense attorney can monitor this investigation and prevent the prosecutor from making outrageous accusations against you.
The more serious the crime, the faster you should act. Contact our Missouri DWI & criminal law center and consult with experienced criminal lawyers. Our criminal defense firm helps people in North Kansas City and nearby areas.
What kind of lawyer should you hire?
Hiring an experienced criminal defense lawyer could benefit your case and its outcome if you face criminal charges.
However, bear in mind not all criminal defense attorneys can be proficient in every possible practice area of criminal law. So, looking for a criminal defense lawyer with enough experience in the area of law you are having trouble with can be a good idea.
For example, you should consider hiring a lawyer experienced with federal criminal defense cases if you are facing federal criminal charges. On the other hand, if the charges you are facing involve property crimes or drug crimes, then you should consider hiring a criminal defense lawyer who has previously handled these criminal offenses.
In addition, it can be good to hire a local lawyer who frequently appears in the court where your criminal case is pending. So, those facing criminal cases in Kansas City metropolitan area should consider hiring a Kansas City criminal defense attorney.
Local criminal defense lawyers would have extensive knowledge of the judges and prosecutors in that court. Hiring a criminal lawyer who feels familiar with the courtroom may help them focus on crafting the best possible strategy.
After being charged, you will be informed of the date of your arraignment. This is when your hearing will take place. You will be given a chance to plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest.
Pleading guilty is an admission of a crime. Not guilty is denying the charges, whereas no contest is where you don’t admit guilt or contest the charge against you.
If you plead guilty or no contest, your sentencing date will be scheduled. If you plead not guilty, a pre-trial will be scheduled for you.
You can also decide to enter a plea bargain. This is where you plead guilty to the charges, and your attorney and the prosecutor agree on a more lenient sentencing or to drop the charges altogether. This only works for lesser charges.
Speak to one of our defense attorneys to help you clearly understand what is at stake before you walk into the courtroom. Together, weigh out the pros and cons of every plea you might take.
Should you tell your defense attorney everything?
Telling your Kansas City, MO criminal lawyer all the facts surrounding the case can help them with their defense strategy. Even if the client admits guilt to their lawyer, there are ways to defend them or introduce mitigating circumstances that may change how the court or the jury sees the case.
Some clients may feel uncomfortable and worry that their lawyer will judge them for their actions. However, it’s always better that your criminal defense lawyers know everything that happened that to be blindsided by the prosecution.
The majority of Kansas City criminal defense attorneys are professionals whose job is to defend their clients and act in their best interest. Having a good criminal defense lawyer on your side might be the only way to achieve a positive outcome from your situation.
As you can see, getting an attorney as soon as possible is the best decision to make when charged in Kansas City. Not only will a good attorney help get you out of trouble, but they will provide you with invaluable emotional support and comfort that you need to face the grueling legal process.
Contact the Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center if you or a loved one has been recently charged with a crime. Our trusted team of attorneys is dedicated to protecting you and your rights. Call now at (816) 322-8008 and schedule a free consultation, so we can discuss your case and prepare an adequate defense.