Criminal lawyers, also referred to as public defenders and criminal defense attorneys, work to defend entities, organizations, and individuals who have been charged with crimes. Criminal attorneys handle a wide range of different types of criminal cases, which range from fraud, embezzlement, theft, and DUIs to drug crimes, violent crimes, sex crimes, and domestic violence crimes, bail/bond hearings, revocation hearings (probation or parole), and appeals
Criminal attorneys represent defendants who are faced with criminal charges in appellate, federal, and state courts. The scope of their practice includes post-conviction remedies, trials, parole and probation revocation hearings (parole and probation), bail bond hearings, and plea bargains.
A criminal attorney’s job functions include the following:
• Interviewing witnesses and investigating the case
• Researching procedural law, criminal codes statutes, and case law
• Developing a case strategy and building a defense
• Negotiating with prosecutors on plea bargains for lesser charges
• Drafting, filing, and arguing motions, including motions to suppress and motions to dismiss
• Advocating for defendants at trial
• Drafting, filing, and arguing appeals
Criminal lawyers need to possess a range of additional competencies and skills to be successful, including the following:
• Speaking and writing skills. Outstanding written and oral advocacy skills to successfully persuade a jury and argue the client’s case in front of a judge
• Investigative and research skills: It is also important to have investigative and research skills to build their client’s base and to build a strong defense for the case
• Analytical and creative skills: Strong analytical skills and creative thinking for developing a legal strategy, analyzing case law, and litigating complex cases
• Legal experience and knowledge: A thorough understanding of local, federal, and state rules, evidentiary laws, court laws, and local judges in order to competently and efficiently navigate the criminal justice system
• Interpersonal skills: It is necessary to have outstanding interpersonal skills in order to develop a strong client-attorney relationship. There is a tendency for criminal defendants to be very finicky and they may through a number of different attorneys before they settle on the one that they like. Being able to attract clients and retain clients is critical to developing a criminal defense practice that is successful.
Choosing the wrong mechanic can cost you a couple of hundred dollars and having to find a different repair shop. Selecting the wrong personal trainer can cost you a couple of hundred dollars and having to find a trainer who will help you get the results that you are looking for. The money that you lose from choosing the wrong lawyer will be the least of what your concerns are.
Your life can be ruined by misdemeanor and felony conviction. One of the most critical decisions that you will ever make in your life is choosing a criminal defense lawyer, so don’t think it is not an important decision.