Too often people think of a defense attorney as being someone who defends those who are guilty. The first time a person is arrested for a crime they did not commit, they might be under the impression that all they need to do is explain their side of the story, and everything will be all right. Unfortunately, the legal system does not work this way. The following are only three of the reasons you need to hire an attorney.
You can make matters worse answering questions
Being interrogated by a police officer or detective without an attorney can easily work against you. Detectives want to close cases, and prosecutors want to put people in jail. It is not their job to defend you. Without an attorney, you could easily dig a hole for yourself, and make it more difficult for an attorney to defend you at trial. Having an attorney you can speak to instead of answering questions makes it more difficult to prosecute an innocent person. Having an attorney means there is little chance of self-incrimination due to ignorance of the law.
You don't know all of your rights
You may know your rights in general, but it is unlikely that you know the specifics of your rights, and how they are interpreted by courts. If you have a lawyer from the beginning, he or she will be able to stop law enforcement from crossing over the line in gathering evidence, and protect you from a zealous prosecution. In some situations, charges may not be brought against you or dropped, if the district attorney realizes that certain pieces of evidence cannot be used in court because it was gathered illegally.
An attorney can help during an investigation
Prior to being charged with a crime, you may be under investigation, and detectives may pursue you as their only suspect. But there may be evidence that indicates the guilty person is someone else. An attorney can highlight alternative theories of the crime as well as evidence that isn't being given enough consideration.
Every American has a right to an attorney, and the idea that this is only to defend those who are guilty is mistaken. No one can understand the law well enough to defend against a legal system that is antagonistic towards those who are under suspicion of a crime. You should hire an attorney to be your advocate at the earliest possible moment, and follow his or her advice carefully. For more information, talk to a professional like http://www.robertsfisherlaw.com.