No matter what the crime, from petty theft to first degree murder, a criminal defense lawyer will handle any case involving criminal law. Discussing with a lawyer will help determine whether a case is a misdemeanor or a felony. These offences range from violent to non-violent crimes, which may affect the sentences, fines, hearings, and trials.
In a criminal lawsuit, the prosecution must prove guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.” If a defendant is found guilty, a criminal defense lawyer will convince the judge or jury to limit the amount of time that the defendant serves, or discuss possible alternatives to incarceration.
Despite how heinous the crime may be, your criminal defense lawyer must set aside their personal feelings and be responsible for:
- Developing a closeness and sense of solidarity with a client
- Analyzing jury background and reactions to evidence
- Further investigating evidence, witnesses and law enforcement
A criminal defense lawyer will also discuss other figures such as jury selection, trial participation, and plea bargains.
If your case does not have a chance at an acquittal, a lawyer may discuss a plea bargain with the prosecutor and judge. A plea bargain may reduce jail time by having the defendant plead guilty to a less serious charge. This, in turn, may dismiss other charges against the defendant and allows both parties to avoid a lengthy criminal trial with a longer conviction and sentencing.
In criminal law, the case is the defendant against the state. However, a civil litigation case will have two or more independent parties against each other. The burden of proof is much higher for criminal law than civil law. The plaintiff must prove the defendant is 51% liable for any damages. Speak with a lawyer to see if your case is better categorized as a civil litigation.
Free Legal Help
Lawyers may choose to participate in pro bono services and other free legal aid programs. Pro bono lawyers represent people without adequate finances, to help marginalized and minority communities, or to give back to a community.
Other disadvantaged citizens who qualify for legal aid programs or pro bono services include the elderly, children, military members, low-income earners, and unemployed people. If a lawyer is not able to offer their services free, they may offer a discount or free legal advice.
Pro bono lawyers are likely to offer services for:
- Child Custody
- Domestic Violence
- Unemployment Cases
Anyone who does not qualify for legal aid programs, or cannot find a private lawyer willing to offer pro bono services is still entitled to a lawyer regardless if they cannot afford it. A public defense lawyer will be assigned to handle the case.
Private Versus Public Defense Lawyers
It is a constitutional right to have a lawyer regardless if you can afford one or not. Therefore, many criminal defense lawyers are public defenders who will handle your case for free. Many other criminal defense lawyers work for private firms, some even have an independent legal office.
Public defenders are lawyers appointed by the state or federal governments. The US department of justice says that 60 to 90 percent of defendants can’t afford to hire their own attorney. Although there are laws in place preventing any conflicts of interest or discrimination against guilty parties to assure every defendants has an effective defense, many issues can still arise.
Many believe that public defenders face an unreasonable workload for the amount that they are paid, therefore, believe the defense will not be as effective. In a study by Bureau of Justice Statistics, 73 percent of the county offices in the United States went over the recommended maximum limit of cases.
Although a private lawyer may cost more than a public defender, a private lawyer’s workload is often much less. Since the defendant will be paying for all services and other legal costs such as special investigations, a private lawyer will be able to find other information and evidence which may affect the defense.
If you feel you need to speak to a private defense lawyer, call our toll-free number to find an expert in your area: (855) 954-2685