Politics and Business

Essential Factors in Selecting a Criminal Defense Lawyer

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Regardless of the severity of the criminal charge for which an individual gets arrested, there are vital factors to consider when seeking the right defense lawyer.  An infraction is a charge that typically results in a fine rather than any jail time. This can be a speeding ticket or a fine for littering and a lawyer is only necessary if the offense is a habit.  

Trial Experience

Many charges become lesser ones through the practice of plea bargaining.  This saves state and federal court systems a great deal of time and money.  It also saves the arrested individual time, money, stress, and a permanent record with a felony listed.  

The process results in a less crowded and backed up trial schedule, so it is popular and preferable for everyone involved.  Due to this fact, lawyers with years of experience do not always have significant trial experience. Most cases are investigated and prepared by lawyers to be used during plea bargaining.

If the case does end up going to court, additional work must be completed to present a strong defense.  This approach can be detrimental to the outcome. A lawyer with plenty of court experience will search for all criminal defense details from the beginning of the case as if it will end up in court.  

Understanding Misdemeanors and Felonies

The right defense lawyer must understand the differences between misdemeanors and felonies in all circumstances and be able to explain them to you.  The basic difference is the maximum sentence each one carries. A misdemeanor is a crime that can result in no more than one-year of jail time while a felony carries prison time in duration of over twelve-months.  

Another difference between these classifications deals with the circumstances surrounding the crime.  A misdemeanor can become a felony if the accused has prior convictions, used a lethal weapon during the crime, or the crime involved drugs.  An injury as the result of the crime and a high value on the property stolen or destroyed will also change a misdemeanor crime into a felony charge.

Find a Lawyer Familiar with the Charge

The accused cannot safely assume that every lawyer has represented someone for every crime.  Be honest and clear about specific charges at the initial consultation and ask if the lawyer knows what the crime entails.  Some college code and conduct violations, for example, require a defense lawyer to investigate and build a case.

Violations can get a student expelled or a faculty member terminated if not defended well.  The loss of freedom can also be at stake depending on the seriousness of the violation. A professor assistant, for example, hosts a party on campus where underaged drinking occurs

Any drunk driving, disorderly conduct, or public intoxication becomes a liability issue as well as a cause of arrest.  A lawyer who has never been involved with a college code violation before will not be the right lawyer for you in this situation.  

Experience, an approach of preparing every case as if it will be presented in a trial, and an in-depth understanding of crime classifications and how they can be altered are three major factors to seek out when selecting the right defense lawyer.  One that is a former state prosecutor or defender is also important because the lawyer will know how the state lawyers go about preparing cases. Be sure that whoever is selected is contacted as soon as possible to have enough time to prepare properly.

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