If you’ve been charged with a crime, it is your right as a citizen of the United States of America to have a criminal defense attorney appointed to your case. It is also legal in the United States to represent yourself in court. However, most, if not all, cases won by a defendant all have one thing in common, an experienced criminal defense attorney. So what does a criminal defense attorney do?
It is the role of the criminal defense attorney to represent a person or persons who have been charged with a crime. The severity of the crime can range from a misdemeanor to a felony, with punishments ranging from community service and fines to prison and sometimes even the death penalty. It is the job of a criminal defense attorney to be the voice for the person being accused of the alleged crime.
If you’ve been charged with a crime, it is critical that you obtain a criminal defense attorney immediately. The sixth amendment of the U.S. Constitution states that the accused has the right to legal counsel, and if you cannot afford one, one will be appointed for you by the state. It’s important to understand what your criminal defense attorney will do for you in order to understand why it is essential to take the time to find the right attorney for you and your case.
Criminal Defense Services
Your criminal defense attorney provides you with two different types of services, pretrial services, and at-trial services. These services are essential in providing the individual with the proper defense needed to win a case. Once the attorney has met the client in question, they may ask specific details about the incident. Even before the case is taken to court, your criminal defense attorney may help guide you during the investigation process. Pretrial services that you can expect from a criminal defense attorney include, but are not limited to:
- Interview – Upon meeting with your attorney, they will want to interview you. This is to get to know you, if there are any strengths or weaknesses in the case, and any other information that may be useful in ensuring you win your case.
- Investigation – As mentioned above, your criminal defense attorney may be with you during the investigation of the crime, even if you have yet to be charged with anything. Even though United States law gives individuals the right to represent themselves, having an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side may be just what you need to not land behind bars.
- Insufficient Evidence – If there is insufficient evidence or improper procedures, a criminal defense attorney can convince the court to drop charges.
- Bail – If you’ve been charged with a crime, you may be detained pending your trial. Many times you can be released if you pay your bond,a certain amount of money, decided by the courts, that allows you to be released early. Your criminal defense attorney can fight on your behalf to reduce the bail amount in order to get your released sooner.
- Plea Bargain – If you know that you will be found guilty of the crime and your criminal defense attorney advises it, they may try and enter into a plea bargain on your behalf. A plea bargain is a bargain that has been negotiated between the prosecution and your attorney. Your attorney will try to negotiate your charges to the lowest possible charge available.
At Trial Services
Many of the services provided by your criminal defense attorney at the actual trial are similar to those before the hearing. During the trial, you can expect your attorney to:
- Analyze Your Case – Your attorney will identify the strengths and weaknesses of your case to come up with a solid defense strategy.
- Plea Bargain – Sometimes, it is the better option to plead guilty and negotiate a plea bargain. Your attorney will help you weigh the pros and cons if this is a viable option.
- Trial – Your attorney will help you throughout the case and help you to understand the procedures of a trial. Your attorney will also help you with the appeals process.
- Sentencing – If you are sentenced with for your crime, your defense attorney can negotiate on your behalf to reduce the sentence time or fines that may have incurred.