From Arrest to Acquittal: How a Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help You
The criminal justice system can seem complex and intimidating to those unfamiliar. A great criminal defense attorney will help make the process easier and more understandable.
After the defendant’s arrest, they will be interviewed by a District Attorney or Assistant District Attorney, and an official complaint will be filed.
A criminal defense attorney is in your best interest if you are charged with a crime. A criminal defense attorney can assist you in navigating the legal system, potentially leading to a reduction or dismissal of charges.
They start by meeting with you to discuss the charges against you, including misdemeanors and felonies. They will tell you what your options are and be honest with you about your chances in court. They will do thorough research to build a strong defense case and work with the prosecution on a plea deal for you.
A good criminal lawyer will have years of experience in the field. They may have interned at a firm or worked as legal assistants for more experienced attorneys. They will be able to explain the legal system and how it applies to your case, which not everyone can do.
Knowledge of the Court System
The court system is essential to the state government’s executive, legislative, and judicial branches. Its duties include interpreting provisions of the State Constitution and laws enacted by the state legislature, resolving disputes between private citizens or between private citizens and a state agency, and holding trials for criminal cases and civil claims to determine guilt or innocence.
The United States has a federal court system and 50 state systems with their structures and procedures. Most legal cases start in trial courts with limited jurisdiction, which can be municipal, magistrate, county, or justice of the peace courts, depending on your state. The federal system has 94 district courts, 13 circuit courts, and the United States Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court has original jurisdiction only over specific matters that affect more than one state, but most federal cases start in a district or circuit court. Then, if you lose at the trial court level, you can appeal to the higher-level appellate court and possibly up to the Supreme Court.
Ability to Negotiate Plea Deals
There are a lot of interests that may come into play during plea negotiations. For example, prosecutors have office policies they must adhere to and want to manage their caseloads. Defense attorneys want to get you the best sentence possible, considering all the costs of pleading guilty (including collateral consequences such as loss of employment and housing).
An excellent criminal defense attorney will approach the negotiations with multiple perspectives. They will find ways to weaken the prosecution’s case and pursue positive personal characteristics that demonstrate why you deserve leniency. They will also take into consideration factors like mandatory minimum prison sentences.
Ultimately, it is up to you to accept the prosecutor’s plea bargain offer. However, if you have a good lawyer, you should always consider letting them negotiate. Doing this will save you time and the frustration of dealing with the prosecutor’s office alone.
Ability to Represent You in Court
A criminal defense attorney should understand the laws in your jurisdiction and how those laws are applied in your local court system. This is important because different judges and prosecutors can interpret the law differently.
A skilled criminal defense lawyer can reduce your sentence and often help eliminate charges. They can also reduce the amount of time you must spend in jail or prison and may even find ways to get you into a rehab program so that you can keep your job, your home, or your family.
A criminal defense lawyer is a dynamic and trustworthy professional who will defend you before a judge, a prosecutor, or a jury. They will call witnesses, cross-examine prosecutors’ witnesses, and provide a compelling argument on your behalf.
A good defense lawyer will be comfortable with public speaking and can convey complex topics to a jury. They will clearly explain your rights and options, helping you make informed decisions about your case.