A criminal attorney is a legal expert specializing in the defense of people and businesses charged with any criminal action. In many countries, including the United States, lawyers are employed to defend both clients and those they represent. There are three general types of attorneys who handle criminal cases; public defenders who handle most criminal cases, private defense lawyers who handle very limited cases, and jail defense lawyers who deal exclusively with the jail system.
Criminal law covers a wide range of offenses from traffic infractions to murder. Some crimes, such as murder, are considered capital crimes. This means that the state has the right to execute the defendant if it decides to do so. If a criminal defendant is convicted of such a crime, he may face a long sentence, while life imprisonment is also an option for the majority of offenders. A criminal lawyer must therefore be able to assess the seriousness of the case and determine the defendant's chances of receiving a lighter sentence.
Public criminal lawyers deal with a broad range of criminal cases. These include criminal actions, such as traffic violations or murder, which are considered misdemeanors. In these cases, public criminal attorneys work to obtain probation instead of prison time. These types of defendants are usually offered alternative sentences based on community service and counseling. A good public criminal lawyer will know how to negotiate with prosecutors, judges, juries, and other people who may be involved in a case.
Private criminal lawyers usually deal with the case only on an as-needed basis. While they can be consulted by their clients at any time, they usually charge a retainer to be used in their case. For example, they will bill their client for the initial consultation, and they will bill their client again if they have to represent him in court. They usually do not bill on a case-by-case basis. In many jurisdictions, private criminal lawyers who work exclusively for their clients have no obligation to keep an ongoing relationship.
Jail defense lawyers, on the other hand, deal only with those charged with murder and other serious crimes. This type of lawyer usually deals with death penalty cases, and also works closely with the courts to find ways to get their clients out of jail. Jail defense lawyers are often referred to as public defenders. In most states, they are allowed to retain their own private investigators and hire investigators to help them in their work.
To find an experienced criminal attorney, start by speaking with a friend or family member about any criminal charges that they have faced in the past. If you suspect that your friends or family members may be facing a criminal offense, find a lawyer to review their case. To . . . . . . learn more about hiring a good criminal lawyer, search the Internet and contact local bar associations to find a referral.