Tuesday, August 4, 2009

You need an attorney - even for "small" offenses

One common misconception held by the majority of the public is that a person will not benefit from the assistance of an attorney for what the person considers a "small" or insignificant criminal charge. Let's look at just one example of how this flawed reasoning can result in severe damages.

When a person is cited in Florida for possession of Cannabis (Marijuana) the officer will often simply write a ticket and require the person to show up for court in 30 days or so. Often, the individual is under the assumption that since he was not put in handcuffs and taken to jail that he need not worry much about this situation. He might even be told by the officer "look, I have bigger fish to fry than messing with you so I'm only going to write you a ticket for this small offense."

Later, the person (let's call him a Defendant because that's what he is now) arrives for his court date and the prosecutor hands him a plea offer that includes a monetary fine and no jail time since this is a first offense. So far, so good right?

The Defendant takes the offer, pays a fine of around 500 dollars and goes on his merry way. Unfortunately, two weeks later he receives a letter from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles informing him that due to his drug conviction his driver's license is suspended for 2 years!!

Now, the Defendant could have likely avoided paying the fine, or could have payed a smaller fine, and he could have certainly avoided the license suspension if he had retained the services of a qualified defense attorney.

The defense attorney would know how to avoid the license suspension and might very well have discovered that there were great defenses to the charge and perhaps gotten the case dismissed.

So, even in "small" cases that seem trivial to the judge, prosecutor, and even the Defendant there can be very serious consequences that are best handled by a defense attorney. After all, the judge and the prosecutor are not looking out for your best interest - but your defense attorney is.

1 comment:

  1. I appreciate all of the information that you have shared. Thank you for the hard work!

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