WHEN DO I NEED LEGAL REPRESENTATION?
June 9, 2010
Frequently I receive calls from individuals seeking my services after they’ve tried to handle the initial proceedings representing themselves. Many times these individuals have already entered guilty pleas and as a consequence have forfeited nearly all of their rights to contest the charge. Many times when such individuals represent themselves they enter into plea agreements without any appreciation for the consequences of such pleas. Convictions for criminal offenses can have life-long consequences.
Once you have, for example, a domestic violence conviction you may not be able to rent a house or apartment and you will certainly lose your right to own, purchase and possess firearms. It is very difficult to undo guilty pleas and convictions after they have been accepted and entered by the court. For that reason, it is imperative that before you enter a plea you have the assistance of competent and effective counsel.
Competent counsel will be able to evaluate the merits of your case and will identify defenses and other matters in mitigation. Effective counsel will know whether the plea bargain being offered is even a good deal. There are so many instances where plea bargains offered to someone representing themselves are far worse than the plea bargain I have been able to negotiate on behalf of my clients in similar cases.
If you are charged with a criminal offense, the time to consult with an attorney is before you accept any plea agreement from the District Attorney. At the Law Offices of Malcolm B. Seawell, I will ensure that your rights are protected and that you receive the best possible outcome whether it is derived through a plea bargain or through a “not guilty” verdict at trial. In these difficult financial times, effective legal services can be costly and difficult to afford. However, if you compare the severe and adverse impact on your rights, reputation, good character and employability from a criminal conviction to the cost of competent and effective legal services you will appreciate that a good lawyer is a sound investment. Before you make a potential life-long mistake by going at it alone, take the time to give us a call and set up an appointment so we can discuss what I can do for you.