Life as a Criminal Defense Lawyer

Life as a criminal defense lawyer is not easy when your job is basically to help those who are arrested of a crime. While some of the clients you meet are innocent, many of them are guilty and have had previous run-ins with the law.

Since the law dictates that everyone is innocent until proven guilty and you decided to specialize in this field, you have to defend this person by putting up the best defense there is available.

There are various strategies you can use to get your client off. You can plead insanity or claim that someone else did the crime. If your client has something to offer, you can make a deal with the district attorney in exchange for the client being granted immunity.

But before you decide what cards to play, you have to talk to your client. If this person is in jail, you have to go there and ask what happened. You should already discuss whether to enter a guilty or not guilty plea because your client will be arraigned shortly.

When a trial date has been set, you can get a copy of the documents of the case from the district attorney’s office because by law, both sides are supposed to view everything from the police reports to the evidence.

You will also get a copy of the people the prosecution will be calling to the witness stand as they too will also be aware of that so there will be no surprises during trial.

When it is your turn to cross examine the witness, you should use whatever is available to cast doubt on their testimony because this is the only way that the jury may be convinced that your client is not capable of doing the crime. Using expert witnesses of your own is also helpful since they can dispute the claims of the other camp.

Before the jury will reach its verdict, you will have one last chance to state your client’s innocence when you are given the opportunity for your closing argument. When it is all over, you just have to wait for the decision of the court to take the next course of action.

Your client’s not guilty verdict means your job is done and you can move on and work with another client. A guilty verdict means you have to stay on as counsel for this individual and appeal the jury’s decision to a higher court so you can perhaps get a reversal.

The best way to win an appeal is to determine if there is something in the trial that shouldn’t have happened or was overlooked. These technicalities are better known as constitutional protections. For instance, the client’s confession was taken without the presence of a lawyer so whatever they said is inadmissible in court. The same goes if a search was done without a warrant.

There are many examples which you can use. You may even cite a case with similar circumstances because this serves as precedence to the one you are working on.

The life of a criminal defense lawyer is challenging no matter how many times you have been inside the court room. This is because you get to work with different clients each time since someone who was innocent can no longer be charged with the same offense because of the principle of double jeopardy.

A Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help You Defend Against Murder Charges

Murder is one of the harshest things you can ever be charged with. If you are arrested for the crime, it won’t be long before you will be charged in court for the crime but you can prove your innocence with the help of a criminal defense lawyer.

When you are brought in for questioning, the first thing you have to do is ask for a lawyer. If you can’t afford one, don’t worry because a state appointed lawyer will be assigned to you. But if you have money, it is best to hire a private attorney since they have better success rates than public defenders.

Once counsel is present, work with them so you can come up with a defense strategy. You will have to tell them exactly what happened. If you really committed the crime, they can argue that there are circumstances which made you do it.

It is possible that you killed the person by reason of self-defense or possibly you were temporarily insane. If you do this, you will be examined by a psychiatrist because some people fake it.

You will shortly be arraigned so a trial date can be set so you should already enter a plea of guilty or not guilty.

Days before trial, your defense lawyer should already work on a plan to create reasonable doubt in the minds of the jury. He or she may hire expert witnesses to testify on your behalf, present strong counter arguments and attack weaknesses in the prosecution’s argument.

Since your lawyer will have a chance to see what will be used in the case, he or she may be able to suppress certain evidence if this was obtained illegally. This may sometimes get a guilty person off on a technicality but this is all part of the judicial process.

On your part, the only thing you have to do is behave yourself during the entire court proceedings because your lawyer will be the only one doing the talking. Better yet, behave in a way that will make the jury think twice if you are capable of doing such a heinous crime.

The objective in a criminal trial is to cast reasonable doubt in the minds of the jury so no matter how many witnesses are called to testify or what evidence is presented, you have a good chance of getting a not guilty verdict. But if things do not work out, then you can appeal the decision of the court.

You can avoid going to court if you decide to negotiate with the prosecution. For instance, if there were other people involved in the crime, you can testify against the others in exchange for immunity or a lesser charge. You should consider this option if ever it is presented to you.

If the evidence is overwhelming, perhaps you should just plead guilty because if you are convicted, some states will sentence you to face the death penalty. Doing so will probably get you life imprisonment probably with no chance of parole.

A criminal defense lawyer is the only person who will be able to help you if ever you are charged with murder. It is only by cooperating with this person that will prevent you from spending the rest of your days in prison.

How Does a Criminal Defense Lawyer Do Their Job

Everyone has their day in court. This means that even if the client is guilty, the criminal defense lawyer must do whatever is necessary so that person will not be convicted of the crime.

How does that work? If you are a public defender, the client will be appointed and you have to meet with them. Before this person is arraigned in court, you will have time to discuss what will be their plea which will then be presented to the judge. Afterwards, ample time will be given so you can conduct an investigation, review police reports and examine the evidence to prepare you for trial.

During the trial, both sides will be able to present witnesses. Some of these are experts and after the prosecution questions this person on the stand, you will have the chance to cross-examine them and vice versa.

Before the trial starts or even during, you can try to settle this matter out of court. You have the right to accept or turn it down but you must first discuss this with your client.

When all the witnesses have spoken and the evidence has been presented, the only thing you have to work on now is your closing argument. You should summarize everything that has happened in front of the jury because the prosecution will do the same so the jury can now go to the jury room and make their decision.

How long will the jury will be deliberating is anyone’s guess. Sometimes a verdict will be announced in less than hour while others will take longer. When the jury has returned, you will know if the jury has reached a guilty or not guilty verdict.

If the verdict is guilty, then you can appeal the decision to the higher court. If the verdict is not guilty, then your client can walk out of the court room as a free man.

The same thing happens when you are working for or have your own criminal defense law firm. The only difference is that clients will go up to you. When they walk in, they will want to interview you first to find out a little about you.

You should be ready to answer questions such as how long have you been a criminal defense attorney, how many cases have you won, do you go to trial often or decide to settle this matter out of court and so on. How you answer will help them decide if they want to hire you or not.

Another difference between those who operate privately is that you can charge a certain fee for your legal services. You can charge a flat fee or on an hourly basis. This depends on you.

If you are handling a lot of cases right now, be honest with the client and tell them you can’t because you will not be able to represent them to the fullest of your ability in that condition.

So how do you a criminal defense attorney do their job? By operating on the assumption that anyone who is arrested is innocent until proven guilty. This is hard especially if you know your client did it but this is your duty as a public defender. You failure to do so will mean this person will spend the rest of their time in jail.

A Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help You Defend Against a Misdemeanor Charge

A misdemeanor isn’t as heavy as other crimes but you can be charged for it and this will become part of your permanent record. Fortunately, you can fight it with the help of a criminal defense lawyer.

When you are charted with a misdemeanor, you are given a citation which states the date and time that you will appear in court.

Do you have to see a lawyer? Some people do so immediately so they can be guided throughout the process. For that, you have to hire one. Surely you can get somebody because if you don’t, a state appointed lawyer will be the one to help you but they don’t do that well compared to private counsel.

For you to quality a state appointed counsel, you will have to fill up a form. You will also be required to reimburse the state for the legal services of the public defender.

When you finally hire a lawyer, tell them what happened because only then will they be able to figure out a strategy to help you out. For instance, your lawyer can argue that illegal items that were found in your possession were planted. If that is the case, during the arraignment proceedings, you will enter a plea of not guilty.

What is the difference between a plea of guilty and not guilty? If you enter a guilty plea, you give up the right to a trial since you admit to the crime. However, when you plead not guilty, you will stand trial and the jury will decide whether or not you are really guilty of the crime.

Here, the prosecution will be bringing in witnesses, police reports and the evidence. Your criminal defense lawyer will have the chance here to dispute the findings and if he or she is successful, reasonable doubt is achieved and your chances of getting a not guilty verdict become higher.

Once the closing arguments are made, the jury will now deliberate. If you are found to be not guilty, then you walk. But if you are guilty, then you will be sentenced shortly which may mean paying a fine, spending some time in jail, doing community service and placed on probation. You can appeal your case of course which will be done by your criminal defense lawyer.

The objective in this proceeding is to get you a not guilty verdict so you don’t have to spend time in jail. However, if you are guilty and given the option to make a deal, perhaps you should take it.

The process of facing a misdemeanor charge is the same even if you are below 18 years of age. The only difference is that a parent or guardian is also present together with your lawyer when you have to face the judge.

Since being charged with a misdemeanor isn’t that serious, some people decide to represent themselves. If you decide to do this, make sure you are familiar with the law and the procedures involved in your case because during trial, no one will help you or advise you on what you should do. But if are not sure how the legal process goes, why trouble yourself when you can hire a criminal defense lawyer who does this for a living.

Hiring a Criminal Defense Lawyer for a DUI Charge

Ever been pulled over on a DUI charge? Yes this happens but you can beat the system with the help of a criminal defense lawyer.

Drinking under the influence of DUI requires fast action on your part so that your license will not be suspended. The first thing you have to do of course is hire a lawyer so you can immediately be released from jail.

In some cases, this does not happen because you are released on your own recognizance. However, some will require you to post bail which your lawyer can take care of.

Once released, it is now time to address this issue. In some states, a DUI charge generates 2 separate cases. The first is filed with the Department of Motor Vehicles while the other is a criminal court case. When faced with this problem, you have to face these charges within ten days from the date of the arrest.

Just like any other criminal case, this begins with your arraignment. You will be asked to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. Chances are, your criminal defense lawyer will tell you to plead not guilty to these charges. This will give him or her time to review the facts of the case so your defense will be established.

There are many strategies available that your lawyer can use to you get out of a DUI and have proven to be successful.

Your lawyer may for example argue lack of probably cause for the initial stop. This means there was no reason at all to stop you and if that is the case, submit a petition to suppress any evidence that the police obtained when you were pulled over.

It is also possible to argue faulty of unreliable BAC results. The BAC stands for blood alcohol test which is used to test if the person’s alcohol level has reached the maximum limit which makes him or her unsafe to drive a vehicle.

The results could be faulty if your lawyer can prove that the test was not properly administered, the equipment used was not properly maintained or you have a medical condition that may have an impact on the reliability of the test.

Another tactic is to attack the credibility of the arresting officer. If your lawyer is able to question the police officer and prove there are inconsistencies in their testimony compared with the police report they filed, you just might have a chance of getting a not guilty verdict.

But if things are not working in your favor and everything was done by the book, then your criminal defense lawyer may advise you to accept a favorable plea agreement. Doing so may get you reduced charges or sentencing concessions with the district attorney.

If you don’t want to negotiate and decide to gamble in court and lose, then you can try to appeal the court’s decision. If you don’t, there will likely be an increase in your insurance cost, limits on employment options and you will now have a permanent record.

Hiring a criminal defense lawyer is the only way to get out of a DUI charge. After all, there are circumstances which you can argue so that you name will not be included in the criminal database system.