If you are charged with a crime, you want to know what your legal options are for beating the charges. You actually have a number of different defense options at your fingertips, but what is the best route to pursue? Should you represent yourself, or look into a defense attorney? Below, we break down four common types of criminal defenses and explain what your best options are following an arrest.
Ways To Defend Yourself in Court
Here are four ways you can move forward with a legal defense, and their potential drawbacks and benefits.
1. Self-Representation – The first defense option is to represent yourself in court. While you won’t have to pay any money to a lawyer, that’s really the only benefit of self-representation. Odds are you do not have enough of a legal background to successfully challenge the charges, unless it’s a minor violation like a speeding ticket, and even then it may be worthwhile to consider a lawyer if it could affect the status of your license. We only recommend self-representation for very minor citations and violations, because the prosecution will probably be able to put forth a better case simply because they are familiar with the proceedings while you are not.
2. Public Defender – In Minnesota, you can apply to have a public defender appointed to your case if you are deemed financially unable to afford a private lawyer. You can find the form you are looking for by clicking here, filling out the form and following the directions about filing it with the correct jurisdiction. If you cannot afford a lawyer, this is a great route to go because at least you’ll have someone with a legal background working on your case. The problem is that many public defenders have numerous cases and very little time to dive into the specifics of your case. They can help you get a better plea deal or challenge obvious errors in the state’s case, but don’t expect them to spends hours pouring over witness statements and coming up with a foolproof defense. They are better than self-representation if money is an issue, but they will still be fighting an uphill battle to win your case.
3. Public Defense Corporation – PDCs are non-profit groups created back in the 1970s as an alternative to a county-based public defender system. In the beginning stages of their development they helped to defend minorities or people who were often disadvantaged by the criminal justice system. In St. Paul you can look for assistance from the Neighborhood Justice Corporation and in Minneapolis you can reach out to the Legal Rights Center. If you can’t afford a private attorney, these corporations can help.
4. Private Attorney – Avery and his team serve as private lawyers, and while you do have to pay for their services, hiring them means they are dedicated and committed to your case. They will be working for you in order to get you the best possible outcome. When it comes to hiring a private lawyer, money is usually a big factor, but we try to mitigate that as much as possible. We don’t overcharge for our services, we’re more than happy to set up a payment plan that fits your lifestyle, and we work hard to save you money by helping you beat the charges and avoid fines or time away from work. Oftentimes a private lawyer can actually pay for themselves many times over by helping you beat a drunk driving or similar charge. We’re so confident that we’re the right fit for you that we offer a free case review where you can sit down with a lawyer, talk about your charges and then decide whether you want to hire us to represent you. If you want to set that meeting up, free of charge, click here.