If you've been charged with a crime - no matter what crime it is - the best thing you can do is treat it very seriously. A criminal record can have very real implications for your personal and professional future; even "small" misdemeanors can affect you for years to come.
The first phone call you should make it is to a criminal lawyer that you can trust. Not only will they be able to advise you as to the best course of action, but they'll also be able to more ably defend you in a court of law (if it comes to that).
What Does a Criminal Lawyer Do?
In the event of an arrest, you'll most likely be presented with a slew of options as to how you want to proceed, ranging from prison time, community service, or fines. Though some of these are set in stone, many of them can be changed by the judge or adapted to fit certain circumstances, but you have to be familiar with the law to know what's possible and what's not - and how to get it.
A criminal lawyer is someone who has spent most of their life studying the very law that now dictates your future. As such, they're perfectly positioned to help you know what to say and when, how to appeal and why, and what to sign, and whatnot. They know the proper procedure that will help you reduce your punishment as much as possible, and may even be able to get it to go away completely.
Why Do I Need a Criminal Lawyer?
Apart from negotiating potential punishments, criminal defense lawyers can also help you emotionally navigate through this rough period in your life. They can stand by you and offer support (especially if it feels like no one else is), and help you understand more fully what lies ahead for you. Since they've stood in those courtrooms and most likely talked to the very judges you're about to talk to, they can give you perspective on what's about to happen.
Moreover, criminal lawyers can also help you gather information that could be used in your defense. They can collect evidence, interview witnesses, hire private investigators, and anything else that will come in handy during your defense. And since they're familiar with the customs and conduct of the courtroom, they'll help you present the best image of yourself that will give you the best chance of reducing your punishment.