When you’re arrested and charged with a crime, a good criminal defense attorney can make or break your case. If you can’t afford to hire a private attorney, a public defender will be appointed to your case. Whichever type of criminal defense lawyer you choose, they’ll help you navigate the case from beginning to end.
Here’s an overview of what criminal defense lawyers do, and how to find one.
Your lawyer’s role in your case
If you’ve ever watched a police procedural, you undoubtedly have heard the Miranda rights recited: the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney are guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. When you’re arrested, it’s wise to ask for an attorney immediately. The sooner you have a lawyer on your side, the better.
Attorneys help clients in several ways. First, they advocate for the client during investigations and hearings and at trial. They research the facts of the case and come up with a legal defense. They may be able to get key evidence excluded if the police and prosecution did not follow appropriate procedures. They also negotiate with the prosecution for a number of different benefits, including reduced bail, plea deals, probation and more.
Criminal defense attorneys also advise the client on the most likely outcome. For example, if the prosecution has strong evidence against the defendant—but they’re willing to offer lesser charges in exchange for avoiding trial—a lawyer might advise their client that it’s best to take the deal. Conversely, if a prosecutor has a very weak case, it might be better to take it to a preliminary hearing and trial.
Essentially, a criminal defense lawyer acts as an advocate and guide during the case. This is true whether you hire a private attorney or are appointed a public defender. While public defenders typically have higher caseloads and less one-on-one time with the client, both public and private attorneys are ethically bound to work in their client’s best interests (within the confines of the law).
Finding a criminal defense attorney
If you can’t afford to hire a criminal defense attorney, you’ll submit financial paperwork to prove it. A public defender will be appointed to you.
You always have the option of appearing pro se, or representing yourself. However, this is not advisable, even if you’re a trained lawyer yourself. Having an objective advocate ensures you will not overlook potential flaws in your case.
Those who can afford to hire a private attorney will need to find one (or ask a loved one to do it for them). When searching for a lawyer, look for one who practices criminal defense law in your jurisdiction. Some lawyers practice criminal defense exclusively, while others may include it among several practice areas. As long as their track record is respectable, and their fees are affordable for your budget, you can feel comfortable hiring either type.
When you need experienced criminal defense lawyers, call K.J. Law P.A. today. We look forward to advocating for you.
Categorised in: Criminal Defense