Why Should I Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer?
They can protect your rights
The average person has a very limited understanding of what the police are allowed to do to make an arrest. A good defense attorney does not. The instant you have a contact with law enforcement that you think might be detrimental to your interests, hire a criminal defense lawyer. They will slow everything down and take the pressure off you by preventing you from doing or saying anything that might be harmful to your cause, and making sure law enforcement does not overstep their bounds.
They can fight for a dismissal
A good criminal defense lawyer will thoroughly examine all aspects of a case before negotiating with a prosecutor. They will look at both the facts of the matter and the procedures used by law enforcement. It is rare to see a dismissal based on the facts alone; the police say something happened a certain way and prosecutors are inclined to agree with them. The real value of a good criminal defense lawyer lies in their ability to look closely at all the actions law enforcement took before, during and after an arrest to find where they made mistakes. The more experienced a lawyer is, the more likely they are to know how and where to find the errors that can lead to a dismissal.
They have a relationship with the prosecutors
Very few criminal cases end with a trial. A 2018 study of the federal system found that 8% of cases are dismissed, 2% go to trial and the other 90% are resolved with a plea negotiation. A similar study from 2016 in Nashville, TN found that out of almost 25,000 cases only 83 reached the trial stage. In other words, almost all criminal cases are resolved through a negotiation between a defense attorney and a prosecutor (keeping in mind that a dismissal is often the result of a defense attorney convincing a prosecutor that a case is not worth pursuing). Knowing this, a good defense attorney will cultivate an understanding with the various prosecutors they work with. They will strike a delicate balance, letting them know that they will fight with determination and skill if their clients are not treated fairly, but will convince their clients to accept deals that are presented in good faith.
They know what a good outcome is
Most people have no idea what the punishment is for most crimes. They can look up the statute and see, for instance, that their class C misdemeanor carries up to 15 days in jail and a $700 fine and feel relieved when they accept a conviction that keeps them out of jail. An experienced criminal lawyer, however, might know that a little negotiation could have resulted in a lesser charge or maybe even an outcome that would have kept their clients' record clean.
They can conduct a trial
You can't. Simply put, unless you are a trained trial attorney, you do not have the skill set to handle a trial. Think about someone with no training trying to do your job. Is that the level of competence you want when your freedom is on the line?
They can save you time
Whether you have a simple traffic ticket or a serious felony, hiring a criminal defense attorney is going to save you from wasting a lot of time. For many lesser charges, you can hire a lawyer and forget about it. They will take care of everything and contact you when it is resolved. For more serious charges, especially felonies, it is hard to overstate the amount of aggravation and wasted time you will experience trying to represent yourself. The criminal justice system is just not set up for people to be their own lawyers for serious charges and you will feel that every step of the way. Additionally, and obviously, a criminal defense lawyer can save you from the worst waste of time, jail or prison.
They can save you money
This may seem counterintuitive, but think long term. It is impossible to anticipate all the various ways a criminal record can affect your life, but it can certainly affect your employment, housing and ability to get credit to name a few. Hiring a criminal defense lawyer may be an unwanted expense, but having a serious criminal record will ultimately prove to be more expensive. Another thing to keep in mind is, as you can see here, public defenders are not free. They may cost less than a private attorney, but they are mandated by law to charge those who they represent.
They can give you peace of mind
Facing criminal charges can be scary and navigating the criminal justice system alone can be confusing and intimidating. You need a competent and caring professional by your side. You need to know that you are giving yourself every opportunity to minimize the negative impact these charges can make on your life. The only way you can do that is by hiring a capable criminal defense attorney.
How Do I Choose a Criminal Defense Attorney?
A good place to start is by looking at the attorney's results page. Keep in mind that this is a list curated by the attorney, but there is still an opportunity to gather some useful information. Here are a couple of things to look out for.
Does the attorney have results for cases like yours? Some attorneys specialize in certain aspects of criminal law. If you have a felony theft case, for example, and you see a results page with only DWI victories, that lawyer might not be a good fit for you. On the other hand, there could be such a thing as too little specialization. You may be uncomfortable hiring a lawyer who does criminal cases, family law, bankruptcy, civil litigation and personal injury if you are facing serious consequences.
Does the attorney have a diverse range of outcomes? Generally speaking, a criminal case will be resolved either by dismissal, plea or trial. What you should be looking for is a variety of good results at each stage. Too many results of one type might indicate a lack of strength or experience in obtaining other kinds of favorable results. For example, a high number of trial results may mean the attorney lacks plea negotiation skill, and no trial victories on a results page is a certain indication that the attorney has not won a case in the courtroom.
Reviews are a great way to see what past clients are saying about an attorney. They can be tricky to interpret, though. The reviews that are on an attorney's website are placed there by the attorney. They can pick from among their best reviews or even create them out of thin air. Better is to do a google search for the lawyer and read the reviews there. Without focusing too much on any one entry, you can get a general sense of how they operate. You can even click on the reviewer to see other ratings they have done to gauge their reliability. One word of caution: some attorneys are known to buy reviews from foreign companies. If you see reviews from people who have one review for a cinema in California and 7 or 8 5-star reviews for the same firm in our area, run the other way. You have no business trusting someone who would behave like that.
Follow Your Instincts
This is, by far, the best way to choose the right criminal defense lawyer. Results and reviews can be used to give you an idea of which lawyer you want to talk to, but the impression you gather from your first consultation is more important than both of those combined. Human beings are social animals, and we pick up a myriad of subconscious clues from our interactions with other humans. After talking with a lawyer about your case for a short while you will have a good feeling for their level of competence and, more importantly, their integrity. This is going to be an important person in your life for a while, and you need to trust them implicitly. Just as importantly, you need to feel like you can be honest with them, that you can discuss your case openly and candidly so that they can represent you to the best of their abilities. And, most importantly, you need to feel like they care. If you are lucky enough to find a lawyer who you feel genuinely has your best interests at heart, you can achieve some level of calm in a difficult time.
Why Should I Hire St. Charles Defense Attorney Ruth Beerup?
Obviously, the most important skill a criminal defense attorney can have is the ability to get things done. Ruth has a proven track record of succeeding in all phases of the process. She has obtained dismissals by finding hidden errors in police reports, negotiated outstanding plea deals to keep clients' records clean and won trials thought to be unwinnable.
Ruth knows the best outcome for her clients is a dismissal and works hard to get one. The most consistent way to get charges dropped is to find mistakes in the procedures used by law enforcement, and Ruth has the experience to know where to find them. She learned her trade the hard way in the high-pressure environment of the public defenders' office in the 1990's and has since refined it by examining countless police reports in private practice. If there is a mistake to be found, she will find it.
Around 90% of criminal charges result in a plea deal. It makes sense, therefore, to hire an attorney like Ruth Beerup who is undeniably talented at getting amazing plea deals. The secret to this talent is Ruth's empathy. When you hire her, she will get to know you and have a compassionate understanding of the circumstances surrounding your case. She will then make the prosecutor see you in the same way. When the prosecutor gets your case they have very little information about you: your name, your record and your current charge. Ruth changes that. She lets them see you as who you are, whether that is a hard-working single mother who needs help with a substance problem, a good guy who made one bad decision or a kind person that just needs to catch one break. When the prosecutor sees you as someone just like them, just like everyone else, with hopes and dreams and fears and, yes, flaws, they are more likely to work with you to minimize the impact of your charges and help you get your life back on track.
Most lawyers won't admit it, but a criminal trial is a last resort. It is, in a sense, a failure. A failure to find the facts that will allow a dismissal and a failure to convince the prosecutor to offer a fair plea deal. Sometimes, though, a trial is just unavoidable. When that is the case you want an attorney with a history of winning in the courtroom. This may come as a surprise, but many criminal defense attorneys have never conducted a trial. Fewer still have won one. Ruth has won in the most difficult of circumstances. There is a bright, sharp line between those who have been through a trial and those who have not. You should hire an attorney on the right side of that line, just in case.
At least once a week a client who has just hired Attorney Ruth Beerup to defend them in a criminal case will let her know that they had called a lot of other lawyers and were quoted prices much higher, often double what Ruth is charging. Ruth knows she could charge higher fees. There are a couple of reasons she doesn't.
First, when Ruth assesses your case she will quote a price based on how much work it will take to complete it and what her time is worth, not how much she thinks she can get away with charging. Simple honesty. These days that almost comes across as naivety, but there it is.
Second, Ruth genuinely likes helping people. Not all rewards are monetary. Take a second to read her reviews page. Ruth can tell you the story behind each and every one of them. Some of those people were in a really bad situation when they called Ruth, the kind of situation where powerful forces almost beyond your understanding are against you and you can't possibly see a way out. Ruth extended a helping hand to pull them out of a dark place and she knows in her heart that she has made a lasting impact in many lives.
When you call the Law Office of Ruth Beerup, you will speak to Ruth Beerup. Not a secretary, not an office manager and not an answering service. If Ruth is in court or on the phone with another client she will return the call promptly, not several days later. Ruth believes it is absolutely vital to keep the lines of communication open not only for the client's peace of mind but also to make her job easier. Some clients have been known to abuse this openness, but that is the price you pay for being possibly the most accessible attorney around.