What is a Criminal Defence Attorney?
A criminal defence lawyer is a type of lawyer whose area of expertise is defending their clients accused of criminal activity, or being involved in the judicial system to help those who are accused in court. A criminal defence lawyer may also be called a defence attorney or an advocate. Criminal defence lawyers have different areas that they specialise in, for example defending drug charges and traffic offences.
What Does a Criminal Defence Lawyer Do?
Criminal lawyers represent those who have been charged with crimes, such as assault, theft and murder. They ensure that their clients get fair trials by conducting research into the law and presenting arguments in court about how the prosecution's evidence should be interpreted; this process is known as pleading the case. In some cases criminal lawyers may try to influence judges and juries to ensure that their clients are treated justly.
Criminal lawyers may also help those who have been accused of criminal activity but not yet been charged with a crime. This may involve negotiating with the police and offering legal advice about what steps should be taken next, such as how to plead guilty in return for a reduced sentence or whether it would be better to fight charges in court. For example, if you had hit someone while driving your car and admitted guilt straight away, you might get off without any penalty at all. However, if you wait too long before pleading guilty then this could mean that magistrates will find you guilty and give you a higher fine or prison sentence than if you had pleaded guilty at the beginning of the case.
Criminal lawyers also help people accused of a crime to deal with the judicial system. For example, they may accompany defendants to their first appearance in court to ensure that all legal requirements are met and provide evidence on behalf of their clients during trial. If you have been charged with a criminal offence then your lawyer will be able to advise you about what happens next in court and whether it would be better for you to plead guilty or not guilty. After being sentenced, people who are convicted of crimes often appeal against their conviction using the services of a criminal defence lawyer. Criminal lawyers also provide advice for those facing the prospect of being arrested by police before prosecution begins, so they know what steps they can take to avoid this happening or how best to prepare themselves if it does.
Why Would Anyone want to be a Criminal Defence Attorney?
The answer is that most people who work as criminal lawyers enjoy the challenge of finding clever arguments and ways to defend their clients. They also find it very fulfilling when they manage to get charges dropped or reduced, or when their client is acquitted.
Criminal defence lawyers have a similar job to other types of lawyers because they represent people in court and review evidence that helps determine whether someone has done something wrong (but in this case, the crime involves breaking laws). However, because criminal lawyers work on cases that are often related to violence and other serious crimes they can find the work emotionally challenging.
When is a Criminal Lawyer Needed?
If you've been charged with a crime then most likely you will need the services of a criminal lawyer – although in some circumstances it would be beneficial for your loved ones if they could help support you instead. For example, if you're being investigated by the police but haven't yet been charged with an offence then it's not essential that you have legal representation during this process. However, it could prove wise to get help from a criminal defence attorney if there is more than one person who may be charged with the same crime or when witnesses' testimonies contradict each other or if you're being threatened by the police into making false accusations. If your legal situation is complicated then it might be worth getting a lawyer to help you as soon as possible, even if you've not been formally charged with an offence.
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