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As a former Assistant State's Attorney, Cal has experience with prosecution and can help with your defense...

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If you've been accused of a crime, it's likely you'll want to hire an attorney for criminal defense. There are some times more than others where this is terribly important. The severity of the crime, your background or your innocence can really help determine how important it is to hire an attorney for criminal defense over going with what the public defenders office provides.

Crimes come in two major classes: misdemeanor and felony. A felony crime is the most serious class of crime and it brings with it the distinction of staying on your record pretty much forever. If you've been accused of a felony, getting an attorney for criminal defense can be very important. The more adept your attorney for criminal defense is the more likely you are to get a fair shake whether you're innocent or not. A good attorney for defense will argue in your favor and fight for your cause.

Whether you're innocent or not, a good attorney for criminal defense might be able to:

* Get you off of the charge all together. This might not always be possible depending on the circumstances of the case, but if the charges are weak, a good defense lawyer might be able to see this through before a trial even happens.

* Get the charge's severity dropped based on circumstances of the case. There are times when a lesser charge is more appropriate based on the proof the prosecution is presenting and other mitigating circumstances. If, for example, you've been charged with a felony battery, but your defense lawyer can prove you were pushed beyond human limits before you reacted, a lesser charge could be in order.

* Enable you to get a plea agreement that might lessen jail time or other punishment. This doesn't always happen, but when it does, a plea could save you jail time and even felony charges.

* Prove your innocence, if you are, and alleviate any questions others might have in the future

* Find a technicality

When it comes to felonies, however, these can be very reaching. A felony check-writing disaster might be considered less 'severe' in some books than a murder. If you've been charged with either, consider these things before you break your bank trying to get off on the charge:

* Your innocence. If you are, stop at nothing to prove it. When a felony is in the works, the ramifications can follow you for a lifetime. It's imperative to get the charge dropped, thrown out or proven false.

* Your ability to pay. A good attorney for criminal defense will work with you on this, but why pay out thousands of dollars if you know you're guilty and there's no chance of getting the charges dropped or reduced?

* Your background. If you've never been in trouble before, but you're now facing a 'minor' charge, a good lawyer could be your best friend. A clean background can be very helpful in getting charges mitigated.

No one wants to face the wrong side of the criminal system, but sometimes even the innocent do. Before you decide whether to pay out lots of money for an attorney for criminal defense, carefully weigh your case and its circumstances. Sometimes a public defender might be able to achieve what needs to be done without strapping your budget. Other times, nothing but the best available will do.

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