When you’re charged with a crime, it’s bad. Your immediate goal should be to prevent the situation from getting worse. The saddest thing I see in court is suspects gutting themselves because they don’t know any better.

The best way to avoid making a mistake that will haunt you for life is to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney whom you trust. Here are some major mistakes to avoid, which can go a long way in helping your criminal charge:

  1. Not Showing up for Court

It’s hard to believe, but true. Many people fail to show up for court—it happens all the time. Two awful things can happen as a result:

  • You get convicted without the right to contest the charge because you gave that up by not showing up. Now you have virtually no hope of appeal, even if you had a defensible case.
  • The judge issues a bench warrant for your arrest, meaning you'll be staying in jail until your case is over—or, if you got convicted, you'll start serving your sentence, which maybe could’ve been just a fine.

Of course, hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney means you’ll not only show up for court, but you’ll actually be armed with the best possible arguments to protect yourself.

  1. Doing Nothing Until it’s too Late and a Lawyer Can’t Help

If you don’t try to hire a defense attorney until the eleventh hour, it may be too late. That can leave you all alone in court with no one to help you, surrounded by an officer who wants to convict you, a prosecutor who’s paid to do it, a victim who’s squarely against you, and a judge who’s demanding to know what you’re going to do. A skilled defense lawyer who’s had time to analyze your case and prepare your defense can provide hope in what feels like a hopeless situation.

Your case won’t go away. Don’t let it fester like an untreated sore that can kill you.

  1. Shopping for the Cheapest Lawyer and Getting What You Paid For

What’s your reputation and future—even your freedom—worth? Is this really the time to bargain-basement shop? Don’t you need a professional you trust with your most precious asset, your life?

Cheap lawyers generate income with volume. You risk being lost in the stampede. I limit the cases I take, and my fees are designed to reflect the time I expect to expend on your behalf. This lets me focus harder on my cases to help achieve outcomes people are satisfied with—or even thrilled.  

I know money doesn’t grow on trees, and I work to charge fees people can pay—even if it means they have to borrow from friends or family or use a credit card. But it won’t cost a thing to pick my brain about your case and find out what it’ll cost for our team to help you.

Warning: We don’t do “weekly payment plans.” Every minute we spend asking a past due client to make good on their promise to pay is another minute we sell out honest, paying clients. And we don’t sell out our clients here.

  1. Pleading Guilty When You Shouldn’t (or You Could Do Better)

I’ve seen people really mess up their lives by pleading guilty, usually in these three situations:

  • You have defenses. The problem is, many cases have technical legal defenses the average person just doesn’t know. An experienced attorney could construct a potentially successful defense for you that could win your case at trial or get you a much better deal.  

As trained lawyers, we know the legally important facts and evidence. We also know how to use them to your best advantage. Even more importantly, we might find defenses you didn’t even know about. That’s especially true in DUI cases.

  • You don’t fully understand the consequences of conviction and why these consequences makes the case worth fighting. Sometimes the criminal penalty isn’t the problem—it’s other stuff that happens as a result. This is especially true in driving offenses like DUI or DUS, which often involve license suspensions or ignition interlock.
  • Even if you’re guilty and defenseless, a skilled lawyer could give you a shot at a lighter sentence—or even none at all. Keep reading.
  1. Not Knowing All of Your Options to Finalize Your Case

There might be several ways to prevent a conviction and clear your name—even if you’re guilty. To name a few, there’s pre-trial intervention, the solicitor’s diversion program for domestic violence, and, for drug cases, the solicitor's drug intervention program, plus conditional discharges.

And even if you are aware of court diversion programs, the real question is, do you know how to make a case to qualify? You’ve got to convince the officer who arrested you, a prosecutor who measures success by convictions, and maybe a victim who is dead set against you. You can’t expect to get gold just by asking for it.  

Why Worry?

Avoid the slightest mistake that could cost you your freedom or reputation. Call us at (800) 230-1841 for a free strategy session to answer your questions, reveal your potential options, and start planning your defense. There’s just no time to delay because you’ve got too much at stake. Feel free to bring a trusted friend or family member with you. 

Rob Usry
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Rob is a Spartanburg personal injury lawyer. Rob also practices as a workers' compensation attorney.