Do You Need a Lawyer?
When it comes to criminal law, most people have been fortunate never to have ask themselves that question. We do not expect the unexpected. How do you know when, “I need a lawyer!”
Value of Keeping Your Public Criminal Records Clean
With no public criminal record, your potential future employers won’t be scared off by a criminal conviction. You could be disqualified from certain occupational licenses in the event you were convicted of a crime.
Certain convictions can also result in: loss of civil rights, such as voting and firearms rights; removal and deportation from the U.S.; denial of naturalization; loss of student financial aid; loss of housing; offender registration, and other negative consequences.
For many, the largest, quantifiable impact will be to future income stream. How can a criminal conviction affect your future income? If you assume a person is age 30 and will work until 70, that is 40 years. Multiply 40 years times a conservative $20,000 estimated reduction in annual income as the result of a conviction. That would amount to $800,000.
At eight percent interest per year, that would be over one million dollars in lost income by age 70. I have had clients suffer a $45,000 per year reduction in income while an expungement proceeding was pending in court. So the real number could be in the millions, depending upon career path.
When we consider “do I need a lawyer?;” consider cost of not having a lawyer.
Is Jail or Prison Time Probable if Convicted?
If you are charged with a serious criminal offense, there may be a threat of jail or even prison time. Even for minor crimes, jail can be a real threat, when a person has prior convictions. The maximum possible incarceration term specified in the criminal statute charged is rarely executed. In felony cases, the Minnesota or Federal Sentencing Guidelines provide a “presumptive sentence“ based upon the offense severity level and criminal history score.
Though there can be upward or downward departures from the presumptive sentence; it is useful to look at the presumptive sentence.
There are also “mandatory minimum” sentencing statutes in Minnesota and United States Statutes. They can be cruel, severe, and lengthier than the presumptive guidelines sentence. So it is vital to consult a criminal defense lawyer to discuss these factors. In non-felony, misdemeanor cases, up to one year in jail can be possible in Minnesota cases.
If It Is Important to You, Then It’s Worth Getting the Best Lawyer You Can
For many reasons, it is valuable to prevent a criminal charge, prevent a conviction, and prevent a sentence.
The rule is simple. If it is important, then it is important to have a good lawyer’s help in protecting it. You and your family are worth a lot. So do you need a lawyer?
A good criminal lawyer can help protect your future, and your future income earning potential. Protect your good name while you can – before it’s too late, before a guilty plea. (To qualify someday under Minnesota’s expungement statute, you and your lawyer need to plan ahead; while the charge is still pending.)
For more on: How to Know – Do I Need a Criminal Defense Lawyer?
This article was written by Minneapolis Criminal Lawyer Thomas Gallagher.
Thomas Gallagher answers questions about Minnesota law court cases and issues every day, free, over the phone.
He also provides free half-hour consultations. You can give Thomas Gallagher a call with your question at 612 333-1500.