Monday, November 24, 2008

DO I NEED AN ATTORNEY?

Whether it's internet crime, DUI, a simple traffic ticket or a more serious misdemeanor like retail theft or internet crime, clients often ask: "Do I really need an attorney?" The client may have blown a bad breathalyzer test and thinks a guilty plea is a foregone conclusion. Or a client may feel they will just get the same fine that everyone else does without paying more money to an attorney.

Whatever your crime and no matter how guilty you may be, an attorney can only benefit you when you appear in court. You may feel you are "nailed" anyway, but as one attorney friend of mine once said, you may not realize just how deep that nail can go.

One person I know of represented himself on a misdemeanor case. The court convicted him on his first offense, instead of giving him the supervision that I know he was eligible for. In most cases, supervision allows you to clean the arrest off your record at a later date. But a conviction can follow you around forever. So by not consulting an attorney first, that person created a problem that he is still living with.

Not all attorneys are equal. An attorney who has a reputation for pleaing out every case may not get you the respect your case deserves. But a skillful attorney with a reputation for vigorously defending their clients can help you immeasurably. The court is more likely to offer a better deal when the court knows that the attorney will put his money where his mouth is and take the case to trial.

If you have questions about a criminal matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email matt@mattkeenanlaw.com

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