Anyone suspected of a crime or arrested and criminally charged, particularly a first-time offender, may be overwhelmed and concerned about the legal process he or she faces. Jail, bond, court hearings, and trial are all an integral part of the process, and if each step is not handled correctly, the end result can be disastrous for a defendant in a criminal case. Criminal defense attorneys see several common mistakes that suspects and defendants make that cost the case. Unnecessary conviction, excessive sentences, and more accompany a lost criminal case. Following is the first of the top three ways to lose your criminal case: 3. Don't hire an attorney. You may think that your case is cut and dried, and you know you intend to plead guilty. You may think you cannot afford an attorney, and so you choose to represent yourself. Or you may find it difficult to put your trust and your future in the hands of someone else. However, none of these scenarios are good reasons to forego your right to legal counsel. Even if you think your case can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, having legal counsel on your side can provide options for dismissal of your case if your investigation was conducted improperly or evidence was seized illegally. Additionally, your attorney may be able to negotiate a plea agreement that can minimize any sentence you serve--he or she may also be able to negotiate a deferred sentence that keeps you out of jail and helps you avoid conviction. Very few people budget to pay for a criminal defense lawyer. When you are suspected of a crime or have been placed under arrest, the cost of a lawyer is almost always an unexpected expense. However, what you pay in attorney fees is more than made up in the costs he may save you over the long haul. Your lawyer may be able to reduce your bond, and if he gets your case dismissed or obtains an acquittal at trial, you avoid costs associated with conviction: fines, Victim's Impact fees, probation fees, lost income during incarceration, and a criminal record that can prevent you from finding gainful employment when you are released from prison. Although it may be difficult to turn your defense over to someone who was a stranger prior to your consultation, it is important to remember that your defense attorney has extensive education and training in the field, and that education is backed up by successful courtroom experience. He knows the workings of the court, the personalities of the judges and prosecutors, and the nuances of the law that can make or break your case. To schedule a free consultation with a criminal defense lawyer in Oklahoma, call (405) 418-8888 or click here to submit a confidential case review form. For the top two ways to lose your criminal case, continue reading this series as it develops.