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It’s Not a Felony or Anything, So Do I Really Need an Attorney?


The Gasper Law Group, PLLC

As a Criminal Defense Attorney, this is a question that I hear often during initial consultations. It’s a reasonable one. After all, no one wants to spend lots of money on a lawyer if he or she doesn’t have to do so. And in this economy who has money to waste?
The question puts me in a difficult position. How do I answer? I do not want the potential client to think I’m overstating the need for an attorney just so he or she will hire me and my firm, but I also need to speak the truth. The truth is that yes, you need an attorney! Whether you hire the Gasper Law Group or someone else, you need to hire someone.

The first and foremost reason is the obvious one: you are not an attorney. This is not a bad thing. (Even attorneys acknowledge that there are reasons for lawyer jokes.) However, criminal law is a complicated area that is as much art and experience as it is book knowledge. Criminal cases carry far reaching (and often surprising) repercussions. They can result in loss of a driver’s or professional license, jail time, probation requirements, substance abuse therapy, trouble finding a job, or even a prohibition from carrying firearms. To use a common example, if you have a leak under your sink, you call a good plumber. If you need to face the weight of the Colorado legal system, call a good lawyer.

There is no magic in criminal law, but an experienced criminal attorney can quickly see what a layperson never will. When reviewing the facts of a case, an experienced attorney immediately works through a laundry list of questions. Was the contact proper? Was there probable cause for the officer to request a blood or breath test or to make an arrest? Was the expressed consent advisement proper? Do the facts as alleged actually match the elements of the crime? Was the damages calculation done correctly? Are the suspect’s admissions admissible in court? Can the case be tried without the cooperation of the victim? Is the offer from the District Attorney a good one or unreasonably harsh?

In truth, most charged cases are strong enough to make trial risky. However, if a good attorney finds even a little weakness in the case or in how the police protected your rights, he or she can use that – at a minimum – to negotiate a more favorable deal with the District Attorney. Sometimes such a weakness can turn into a good defense at trial.
An experienced criminal attorney has probably handled a case like yours dozens or even hundreds of times. Hopefully, you have only had a case like yours once (although if more than once, all the more reason you need an attorney). Don’t take a risk with something that will have such a detrimental impact on your life for years to come. As I tell potential clients, whether you hire the Gasper Law Group or not, hire somebody. It may cost you some money, but the stakes are just too high.

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