Facing criminal charges, allegations, and legal proceedings with the risk of being behind bars for a long time can be terrifying and stressful. However, an in-depth understanding of the process as well as obtaining a criminal defense attorney’s legal assistance can go a long way to help you deal with your charges. If you are charged with a serious or violent crime, you have the right to defend yourself against those charges.
The criminal justice system is designed to deliver justice to everyone. It aims to protect the innocent, convict criminals, and provide a fair justice process to help keep peace and order across the country. Within the complex criminal justice system, a competent Sacramento criminal defense lawyer will serve as the defendant’s guide and protector. To successfully navigate this legal system, a person charged with a crime will need legal representation.
The article discusses the following:
- Definition of a Criminal Defense Lawyer
- List of Criminal Charges
- Responsibilities of a Criminal Defense Lawyer
- Choosing the Best Criminal Defense Lawyer
- Importance of a Criminal Defense Lawyer
Definition of a Criminal Defense Lawyer
Criminal defense lawyers are experts who specialize in defending individuals who are faced with criminal charges, sentencing, or appeals. If you are facing serious criminal charges, hiring an attorney to represent you in your criminal trial is strongly advised. Criminal defense lawyers work on behalf of criminal defendants to achieve the best possible outcome for a defendant’s case. Criminal defense attorneys can be categorized into two: court-appointed attorneys paid by the government and private attorneys paid by the defendant.
List of Criminal Charges
A crime is an offense that merits community punishments, usually by way of a fine or imprisonment. Criminal charges include (but are not limited to):
- robbery or burglary
- sexual assault, pornography, rape, or domestic violence
- aggravated battery
- reckless driving or driving under the influence of alcohol
- manslaughter or homicide
- fraud and money laundering
- drug possession, drug trafficking, or drug crime
Responsibilities of a Criminal Defense Lawyer
A criminal defense lawyer fulfills various significant roles during the course of a criminal case. He or she defends the person who is charged with a crime and speaks on the client’s behalf. Criminal defense lawyers focus on protecting your rights as a defendant and help you build defenses that reduce the negative consequences of being arrested. They use their knowledge about criminal law to find sufficient evidence and reasons why you should win the case. Even if you are guilty and the evidence is against you, they may be able to help you reduce fines and jail time. The main job of a criminal defense lawyer isn’t to pass moral judgment, but to defend their clients to the best of their ability.
Here are some of the daily duties of a criminal defense attorney:
- Reading case documents, evidence, and statutes (laws)
- Forming a strategy for the case
- Taking notes on what would be helpful for the case
- Contacting clients through email, phone calls, video calls, or in-person meetings
- Select and interview eyewitnesses
- Compile evidence and testimonials in your favor
These simple steps are the foundation of a strong case. Your criminal defense lawyer spends time and effort preparing for your case. Your criminal lawyer in Sacramento will give you an idea of the consequences you’re facing and suggest how they might be able to help.
In addition, a criminal defense lawyer is also responsible for the following special duties:
Analysis of Evidence
Analyzing the evidence against you requires a careful study of the facts and theories of the case. Your defense lawyer may examine the evidence to determine if there are any legal theories that work against your conviction.
Rules and Regulations
Your criminal defense attorney will help you know and understand the legal rules and regulations that you must follow during your case.
A criminal defense lawyer assists with the jury selection process. He or she may try to have jurors removed for cause if they may be biased against you.
Your criminal defense attorney can gain significant benefits from trying to interview prosecution witnesses rather than relying on their statements. Some witnesses are afraid to give statements because of their fear of their safety. However, your criminal attorney can get a better sense of their credibility by talking to an opposing witness in person.
It is an agreement between a defendant and a prosecutor. In this case, the defendant agrees to plead guilty or “no contest” (nolo contendere) in exchange for an agreement by the prosecutor to drop or reduce a charge to a less serious criminal offense or recommend to the judge a specific sentence acceptable to the defense. However, prosecutors are often unwilling to negotiate with defendants that represent themselves. A reliable Sacramento criminal defense lawyer can help you decide whether or not to accept a prosecutor’s plea bargain.
During the sentencing phase of criminal cases, the judge will decide on your appropriate punishment after you are convicted or pleaded guilty. Your sentence can either be enhanced or reduced based on the specifics of your case. A sentence may include fines, incarceration, probation, suspended sentence, restitution, community service, and participation in rehabilitation programs.
Identifying the Case Outcome
The outcome that you might expect in your case will depend on a number of factors. Your lawyer can predict how your case is going and what the judge or jury’s outcome may be. A criminal defense attorney remains objective throughout the legal proceeding and offers realistic insights into the possible outcomes of the trial.
Knowing the Consequences of Pleading Guilty
By submitting a guilty plea, you waive several constitutional protections. A guilty plea results in the waiver of the right to a jury trial, the right against self-incrimination, and the right to confront witnesses. Your attorney can help you understand all the possible options before you plead guilty.
Choosing the Best Criminal Defense Lawyer
You can tell if your criminal defense attorney is the best one based on his or her approach to your case. A competent Sacramento criminal defense attorney collects sufficient information about the case from the client and the investigators. It is always better to get some testimonials from your family and friends before hiring a criminal defense attorney. A reliable criminal defense attorney is one who stands by you until the end of the trial and ensures a favorable outcome.
Importance of a Criminal Defense Lawyer
Hiring a criminal defense lawyer can be optional; therefore, some criminal defendants seek to represent themselves by researching and reading books. However, it is not advisable to represent yourself especially if you are facing serious criminal charges. Nothing can replace the years of legal education in a law school and the extensive law practice of a lawyer in a courtroom.
When you face a criminal charge, one of the first steps you should take is finding yourself the right criminal defense attorney. Choosing a lawyer suitable to your situation can help alleviate the stress and pressure you are feeling. For legal help, do not hesitate to schedule a consultation with our experienced Sacramento criminal defense lawyers at Chastaine Law. Our criminal defense law firm can provide legal help to protect your rights, lay out your options, build strong defense strategies, fight for you, and limit potential penalties.