Criminal defense lawyers protect those charged with a crime. But, the legal field is a complex thing.
There are several types of lawyers. Many specialize in a certain area of the law, like personal injury or criminal defense. If you get hurt in a car crash, you know a personal injury lawyer will help. You know they’re knowledgeable in this area of the law. But this type of lawyer can’t help you in a custody case. Let’s say, you and your spouse are separating but can’t decide where the kids go. You’ll need the help of a divorce lawyer as well as a child custody lawyer. This will help your family come to a resolution with everyone’s best interests in mind.
When you need a lawyer, it’s important to match your legal concern with the right attorney. This guide will help.
Is there a difference between lawyer and attorney?
We often use the two terms interchangeably because they have so much in common, but, they are not the same.
Both lawyers and attorneys have law degrees, but their job responsibilities are different. One has a graduate-entry professional degree in law. The other must pass the bar exam to practice law. Basically, an attorney is a lawyer, but a lawyer isn’t necessarily an attorney. The attorney has a law degree and practices law in court. Lawyers don’t practice in court when they finish school and pass the bar exam. They can practice law outside the courtroom. They can also act as consultants and legal advisors.
Criminal Lawyer Types
The term criminal lawyer is so broad. There are even areas of specialization not considered criminal law. They are specializations within criminal law. For instance:
Personal Injury Lawyers
These lawyers represent those who are hurt physically, emotionally, and financially. But, it must be the fault of another individual. This refers to car accidents, libel, mental health trauma, and more. There’s even a dog bite injury lawyer.
There’s a lawyer in each one of those specialties. For instance:
Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Medical malpractice refers to professional wrongdoing by a medical professional or entity. This list includes:
- Healthcare Providers in general
A quarter of a million people in America die every year because of medical errors. This makes them the third leading cause of death.
A medical malpractice lawyer resolves legal issues on behalf of his client. They get them compensation to ensure their financial status doesn’t hit the bottom of the barrel. They factor compensation in the following ways:
- Past and future medical bills
- Loss of earning capacity
- Loss of income
- Emotional distress
To prove the case, he or she will:
- Investigate the claim
- Get evidence
- Negotiate with insurance providers
- Send demand letters to insurance providers
- Prepare pleadings
- Organize the discovery process
If he or she does all these things and your case makes it to trial, there’s still nothing to worry about. Your lawyer will act as your representative and shield. Without his or her help, you’re at the mercy of the greedy insurance providers.
There are two general types of bankruptcy lawyers. Those who help those dealing with financial difficulties and those contemplating bankruptcy.
Bankruptcy lawyers advise you on:
- The eligibility of your bankruptcy claim: Is your claim viable?
- The type of bankruptcy that’s best for your specific situation: Most of us have heard of Chapter 13 bankruptcy. How about a Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney? But, did you know there are several chapters? From 7-13, to be exact. Each chapter has requirements, drawbacks, and advantages.
- Alternatives you can explore: Financial restructuring is just one alternative option.
The other type of bankruptcy lawyer handles debt. They help clients negotiate debt payments with creditors. This takes away the stress and financial strain of dealing with settlement companies. It also eliminates the hassle of their exorbitant fees.
Family lawyers do more than handle divorce cases. They also help those going through a domestic or familial relationship issue like:
- Juvenile delinquency
- Child welfare
- Domestic Violence
- Child Custody
All family attorneys, even divorce lawyers, are good at dealing with delicate family issues. Count on them to draft contract negotiations, prenuptial agreements, and more. All this is to help their clients resolve their family disputes. They’ll handle the paperwork and legal proceedings both in and out of court.
Criminal Defense Lawyers
Criminal defense attorneys help those accused of a crime. This includes embezzlement, assault, fraud, and theft. They know the ins and outs of their specialty. They have access to inside information about arrangements, restraining orders, and pleas. This type of restraining order attorney also has access to your records and any other issues about the specific criminal trial.
He or she will listen to your side of the story. The lawyer will take this information into consideration when deciding your defense. He or she will figure out how to use it and get a favorable outcome. They do so by:
- Interviewing both witnesses and police
- Analyzing evidence to find holes in the prosecution’s case
- Selecting jury members
They help with traffic violations too. Let’s say you got a speeding ticket. He or she will plead your case and negotiate with the prosecutor to reduce fines. If you’re lucky and your lawyer is really good, it’s possible to get the entire case thrown out.
They also handle expungements. This is a legal process where arrests and convictions leave your criminal record. Everyone isn’t privy to this benefit. But, if it applies in your situation, it’ll greatly improve your quality of life.
What Are My Rights?
It’s also important that you understand your rights for getting an attorney.
All citizens of the United States have a right to an attorney. That’s what the Sixth Amendment says. This is important. Because when you’re charged with a crime, it’s you against the state. Chances are, they have all the cards. A criminal defense lawyer will shield you from accusations from the state.
In this country, we operate under the idea that everyone is innocent until we prove them guilty. A criminal defense lawyer in the state will not bring up charges unless they think they have proof. A good criminal defense attorney will put holes in their claims.
What does it mean when your lawyer has your best interest in mind?
Criminal attorneys fulfill many roles. They are in charge of virtually every aspect of your case. But they’re also responsible for providing you with emotional support.
Many people don’t know what their criminal attorney’s responsibilities are. Usually, because they’ve never had to hire one or because they are unfamiliar with the law. But should something happen, it’s important to understand your attorney’s responsibilities. This will help you understand what they can do to help your case.
When an attorney works with their client’s best interests in mind, the definition is simple. It means they are fighting for the best possible outcome for your case. They consider societal standards when they make these types of decisions. They also consider your wants and your well-being as well. This is a holistic representation.
Many lawyers try to help their clients by focusing on the entirety of the situation. They don’t place their focus solely on the crime committed. Keep in mind, the defense lawyer can not guarantee a positive outcome. His or her job is to make sure that they produce the best one possible.
A defense attorney will defend your rights to make sure you have a fair trial. Many times, the criminal justice system and its cases are a chaotic mess. It’s important that every factor of your case is pored over with a fine-tooth comb. Any little detail can affect your trial.
Your defense attorney will make sure that you remain innocent until proven guilty. It doesn’t matter the evidence in the case before the trial starts.
The American legal system says all defendants are innocent until the prosecution proves them guilty. More than that, they have to prove this beyond a reasonable doubt. Your defense lawyer will keep your communication confidential. This ensures nothing you say to your lawyer will compromise the perception of your innocence.
When, and if, your case goes to trial, your defense lawyer will do everything in his or her power to defend your rights. When the prosecution asks questions, your lawyer will make sure they don’t push too far. If so, your lawyer will object.
Additionally, if the prosecution has information that too many sources have come in contact with, your lawyer can declare it to be hearsay.
Why Hire a Criminal Law Attorney?
Lack of the right information can make a solid case unravel quickly. That’s why lawyers don’t represent themselves in court. They find ones that specialize in the nature of the charge.
He or she knows how to:
- Get justice: Good lawyers know how to hit people where it hurts. In the courts, this deals with freedom or fines.
- Relieve financial pressure: Some lawyers won’t charge any money unless there’s a favorable outcome when they plead your case. If you’re the plaintiff in this case, he or she can also help claim legal fees.
- Challenge evidence: Without proper legal training, it’s challenging to know all the angles of a case. A lawyer has the skills to determine if the police didn’t get the evidence in the right way. They will notice if a witness contradicts damning evidence from an earlier statement.
Let’s say the crime lab mishandled evidence of the crime? This is a serious offense, and it has serious consequences. A criminal defense lawyer will get to the bottom of everything. If there’s evidence of wrongdoing, he or she will find out and repress that evidence. In this way, the prosecution can’t use it against you.
Filing the wrong documentation can hurt your case as well. If you’re not a lawyer, chances are you don’t know the specific deadlines and protocols. There are certain procedures for the proper filing of certain legal documents. A late or incorrect file can mess up your entire case. It causes delays in the legal procedure or can cause the case’s dismissal.
How to Pick The Criminal Lawyer for You
The more complex your crime is, the harder it is to defend it. It is important to get a lawyer that knows about your specific situation. Additional considerations include:
Personality is an important determinant of how a lawyer represents his clients. Besides being professional, your lawyer should match your personality. This is a subjective factor, but underestimating its importance will have grave consequences.
Local attorney or national?
There are some cases where one is better than the other. It doesn’t matter much which one you choose. Just make sure he or she is well-versed in the laws of your particular state or jurisdiction.
Local lawyers come by this benefit naturally. They know all about local laws and procedures. They also know the personalities of the local judges and administrative authorities. This grants a significant advantage over someone who’s new to the area. Plus, they can communicate face-to-face for a more personal feel. This is significantly better than through emails and telephone conferences.
Is the lawyer an excellent communicator?
We pay lawyers to communicate with the judge and jury on our behalf. But, it’s also important that he or she communicates effectively with you as well. You want someone with the ability to anticipate your questions. So, they’ll know how to explain your situation and keep you abreast of your entire case. It’s better if you don’t have to reach out first. When it’s time to make a decision about your case, the lawyer must clearly explain your available options.
This trait is similar but more important than personality. It’s about certain behaviors that distinguish a talented lawyer from a bad one. A lawyer that displays professionalism will work hard to protect your best interests.
There are so many things to consider when hiring a criminal lawyer. The tips here will help narrow your options. They’ll also increase the chances of you finding the right lawyer to protect your rights and freedom.