Criminal defense lawyers are a significant part of the criminal justice system. Without them, criminal defendants will most likely never get a fair trial considering the resources of the United States regarding criminal law.
About 90 percent of litigants in many states represent themselves in court. And in all cases, they fare worse than individuals with legal representation.
Hiring a professional attorney for a criminal case or any other case increases an individual’s chances of positive results, regardless of the circumstances. These improved odds of positive outcomes are even more crucial when there are criminal charges against you.
If you are interested in the criminal defense practice or what defense lawyers do, this article highlights relevant information regarding criminal law and how defense lawyers can help you.
What Is Criminal Law?
Criminal law is the aspect of law concerning crime. It’s a complex justice system that sets the rules regarding criminal acts, sets punishments, and outlines the guidelines of processes from arrest and investigation to sentencing and parole.
This aspect of the justice system differs from civil law and varies according to jurisdiction. Civil law focuses more on victim compensation and dispute resolution than rehabilitation and punishment.
Who Is a Criminal Defense Attorney?
When accused of a crime, you have the right to defend yourself against the criminal charges; a criminal defense lawyer is your best option to get positive results.
Criminal defense lawyers represent and defend individuals and corporate bodies charged with criminal offenses.
Facing questioning from the police or a prosecutor can throw you off balance. Fortunately, criminal defense attorneys handle such situations for a living.
However, defense lawyers are in two groups: court-appointed attorneys, paid by the government, and private criminal defense attorneys, paid by the accused.
A significant percentage of criminal defendants get a court-appointed attorney as they can’t afford the charges of a private criminal lawyer.
How Does a Criminal Defense Lawyer Help Your Case?
Criminal lawyers fulfill various tasks during a criminal case. Some of a typical defense lawyer’s duties include the following:
Investigating the Case
The first and one of the most critical tasks criminal attorneys undertake is investigation. Your defense attorney will begin investigating your case during the initial meeting, gathering as much information as possible about the case.
Your lawyer will ask pointed questions regarding the case or events surrounding it to determine and present the legal options available to you.
Further, the defense attorney will obtain the police report and determine the evidence-gathering methods for your case. Your attorney may also interview witnesses to the happening if there were any.
Perhaps you violated federal law, or the criminal charges against you are grave; hiring a professional defense lawyer can favor you immensely. Defense attorneys who have handled cases similar to yours can help you navigate the criminal justice system effectively.
There are multiple ways to resolve a case; your lawyer is in the best position to help you decide how to handle your situation, which might include negotiating a fair plea deal with the prosecutor.
A criminal lawyer understands that every jurisdiction has written and “unwritten rules” and will follow them to get the best outcome for your case.
Negotiating with the Prosecutor
A plea bargain is one of the ways most criminal cases are resolved. Your defense attorney may, on your behalf, negotiate a fair deal with the prosecutor.
The plea bargain involves the criminal defendant pleading guilty, usually to lesser charges, in exchange for reduced and more lenient sentencing or dismissal of related charges.
Representing You and Presenting a Strong Defense
Perhaps the plea deal fell through; your case will go to trial. When that happens, your attorney will present your account of what happened to the judge and jury based on the information gathered from you, evidence, witnesses, and an investigation.
Your defense attorney will also cross-examine the state’s witness, convincing the jury that the burden of proof is yet to be met. Depending on the severity of the case, your lawyer will have to present evidence and ignite convincing arguments to increase your chances of securing a “not guilty” verdict from the judge or jury.
Your attorney may back your claims with expert testimony and file motions to suppress illegally obtained evidence or change venues. Ultimately, you stand a better chance of getting positive results when you hire a criminal defense attorney.
You can appeal your sentence or conviction if the court finds you guilty of the charges. Your lawyer can request an appellate court review your case and evaluate the sentence.
The appellate court will determine whether any party, including the judge, jury, and trial attorney, made a mistake while your case was being tried.
Your criminal defense lawyer will guide you through filing the appeal following the established timelines and procedures.
What About Confidentiality?
Client confidentiality is crucial for your attorney-client relationship. It’s essential to feel a sense of confidence in your defense attorney if you desire outstanding representation and defense.
Since your case may involve sensitive and private matters, know that criminal defense lawyers are held to a strict standard regarding client information confidentiality.
The attorney-client privilege is a crucial rule that lawyers must adhere to regarding things they discover about their clients while representing them. Your criminal defense attorney cannot reveal privileged information to a third party without your consent.
Public Defender or Private Law Firm?
You have two options when looking to hire a criminal defense attorney. If you qualify financially, you can choose a public defender or opt for a private attorney. Both public defenders and private defense lawyers are licensed legal counsel, but your financial situation may influence your choice.
Finding Professional Criminal Defense Lawyers
If you desire a private defense attorney, look for one that practices in the jurisdiction where the charges are pending. A local attorney will be familiar with the prosecutors and judges in the area, giving you an edge regarding your case.
If you reside in Illinois and need a professional defense lawyer, contact Michael J. Brennan at (708) 460-9300. We offer a free case evaluation and are the best at what we do. Get in touch today!
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