There are three central roles in every criminal case: the prosecution, the judge, and the defense. The prosecutor works to convict the accused of a crime, often by any means necessary. The judge plays the role of the neutral referee, although no judge is completely without bias. The role of a criminal lawyer as defense id to have the best interests of the accused at heart.
A criminal lawyer is an advocate for someone that is accused of an illegal act. They advise their clients on their legal rights and advocate for them in court. A criminal attorney could pursue a plea bargain on their client’s behalf or fight for them at trial.
Ultimately, your choice of a criminal lawyer will have an enormous impact on the outcome of the charges against you. To discuss your case in detail, contact the criminal defense lawyers of Gerald Miller today to schedule a free consultation.
The Value of a Criminal Defense Attorney
Hiring the right attorney is important to anyone facing the potential of a criminal conviction. While the court might allow you to represent yourself in some cases, that decision is certain to work against you.
Every state prosecutor has the full weight of the government behind them. They can rely on the police to serve as their investigators, and they typically have extensive backing from elected officials. With so much adversity facing you, it is never advisable to take on this challenge alone.
By hiring a skilled criminal defense lawyer, you can ensure you make the best case possible for acquittal. Your attorney can argue for a dismissal of the charges against you, and potentially see those charges reduced or dismissed entirely.
What a Criminal Defense Attorney Can Do for You
When you hire a Minnesota criminal defense lawyer, they take on many roles for you. These roles include:
- Evaluate your case. The process of defending you in a criminal case begins with a thorough investigation. Your attorney will assess every aspect of your case, starting with your arrest. Your criminal defense attorney will determine what occurred and assess the strength of the evidence against you.
- Collect evidence. After reviewing your arrest, it will be time for your attorney to compile the evidence that is in your favor. This could include anything from exculpatory video evidence to helpful witness testimony.
- Building a defense. After investigating the claim and compiling evidence, your attorney must next build a winning defense. There are countless defenses available, but not everyone will make sense in your case. Your criminal defense lawyer must identify the defense that is the best fit for your facts.
- Talking with the prosecutor. Not every criminal case goes to trial. The effort to resolve a criminal charge without the need for a trial starts with a discussion with the prosecutor. Your criminal defense attorney could speak with the prosecution in an effort to have your charges dismissed. In other cases, they could ask for the charges to be reduced. Your attorney can also discuss the possibility of a plea bargain.
- Fighting for you at trial. When cases go to trial, the true value of your attorney will become obvious. Prevailing at trial takes skill and experience, highlighting the importance of choosing the right criminal defense lawyer.
What to Look for in a Defense Attorney
Finding the right criminal defense lawyer requires more than a careful review of a lawyer’s resume. Experience with defending the accused is important, but it is only one fact you should pay attention to. Some of the other factors to consider when hiring a criminal defense attorney are:
- Communication. Find an attorney that makes themselves available to you.
- Capable of handling stress. Criminal defense is stressful work. Find an attorney that is up to the challenge.
- Relatable. You will spend substantial time with your lawyer. Find one that you get along with.
- Knowledgeable. A defense attorney should know the basics of criminal law backward and forwards. Find someone that knows the answer to your questions from experience.
The information you need for you to hire the right attorney can’t be found on a website or during a TV ad. These are questions you should ask directly of your prospective attorney. You deserve to know who you are hiring to serve as your advocate. This decision could impact the outcome of the rest of your life.
The attorneys of Gerald Miller understand how important your choice of attorney is. For that reason, the initial consultation with our firm is always free. We are ready to answer any questions you have about your defense options. Reach out today to set up you free initial consultation. You won’t regret discussing your options with our team of compassionate legal professionals.
Identifying the Right Defense Strategy
The central role of your attorney in a DWI is developing the strongest possible defense strategy. Your strategy will do more than guide how your case proceeds should it go to trial. The right strategy could aid you during negotiating a plea bargain or even pushing for a dismissal of your charges.
There are multiple defense strategies available in a standard DWI case. However, not every strategy applies in each situation. Your attorney could carefully review the facts surrounding your arrest and advise you on the best approach. Below are some of the most common strategies employed by criminal lawyers.
You Were Not Impaired
Ultimately, the crime of driving while impaired is centered on impairment by drugs, alcohol, or a combination of the two. It goes without saying that if a jury has reasonable doubt regarding your impairment, a conviction for DWI would be inappropriate.
Remember, you do not have to prove you were sober at the time of the arrest. Instead, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were impaired while operating a motor vehicle. You could cast doubt on that conclusion without having to prove anything affirmatively on your own.
Most cases involve a blood, breath, or urine test that shows your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was at or above the legal limit. Whether or not you gave a sample will play a big role in developing a defense strategy.
You Were Not Driving
On its own, it is not illegal to be impaired by alcohol in Minnesota. The state’s DWI laws only come into play in cases where you were driving, operating, or in physical control of a motor vehicle while impaired. This defense is not applicable in cases where an officer witnessed you driving. However, many DWI cases result from incidents that do not involve driving on public roadways. These cases involve drivers in actual physical control of a vehicle.
Actual physical control of a vehicle means the driver was in a position that they could operate the vehicle at a moment’s notice. This standard is subjective, but it often involves an impaired person behind the wheel of a running vehicle that is parked. Simply having the keys for the vehicle on your person could be enough, even if the vehicle is off.
Challenging the Traffic Stop in Minneapolis and Minnesota
One of the strongest defense strategies available involves a challenge to the underlying traffic stop. Remember: the police must have a valid reason to pull you over. If they cannot articulate reasonable suspicion that you have violated the law while driving, they may not pull you over.
If the police make an illegal stop, your attorney could exclude any evidence collected from you at trial. This evidence varies, but it could involve anything collected at the illegal traffic stop or following your arrest. Examples include incriminating statements, breathalyzer test results, or the presence of alcohol in your vehicle. Often, the state will dismiss a DWI charge if the stop is found to have been illegal.
Learn the Role of a Criminal Lawyer in Your Defense from Gerald Miller
For many people, the thought of serving as your own attorney might be appealing. Some people might be concerned about the financial cost of hiring attorney. Others may feel that fighting back against a DWI charge is fruitless. The reality is that an attorney could dramatically improve your chances of a favorable outcome to your DWI case.
Do not leave your future to chance. If you are facing criminal charges in Minnesota, let the skilled attorneys at Gerald Miller review your case. Our team can guide you every step of the way through the justice system. To learn more about how we can help. Schedule your free consultation with Gerald Miller today at (612) 440-4608.
This article was originally published on November 4, 2020 and updated on July 23, 2021.