Criminal defense attorneys, explains Adam M Smith, are very special types of lawyers. Their main role is to make sure that men and women who they represent are protected as much as possible under the law after they face criminal charges. Their role, as such, is to keep people out of prison if at all possible.
Adam M Smith on Different Criminal Violations
There are tens of thousands of criminal violations that someone can face. A snapshot of an average town in this country in June alone would reveal charges for:
- Hit and runs
- Drunk driving
- Reckless driving
- Drug possession
- Record expungement
- Drug trafficking
- Selling a controlled substance
Adam M Smith on What a Layer Can Do
Criminal lawyers do a great deal of things, including:
- Lowering charges. They will do this by investigating all the available evidence, challenging each element on the tiniest details.
- Criminal lawyers are often court appointed because the defendant cannot afford their own lawyer. Unfortunately, court appointed lawyers are often inexperienced and young and they struggle to stand up against the arguments of the District Attorney. However, they will try, but it is best to hire a professional attorney if at all possible.
- Motions to dismiss. This is where the attorney will try to convince the members of the grand jury to simply dismiss the case altogether. If they are successful, the process ends here and the defendant will not have a criminal record either.
- Pre trial conferences. This is where the attorney and the district attorney are brought before the judge to indicate whether they are ready to go to trial and a date will be set.
- The trial. This is where plea bargaining negotiations and discussions will start as well, usually outside of the court. Often, they will reach an agreement and the judge will simply accept the settlement that the two parties have reached. However, a trial will start if no agreement is reached.
- A good defense attorney will always fight for the minimum sentence. For instance, they will try to have someone acquitted in full and, if that doesn’t work, to offer a suspended sentence. If the crime is too serious for this, they will argue for county jail instead of state prison. If the crime is even more serious, they will argue for a sentence with parole instead of without. And, if necessary, they will argue for life imprisonment instead of the death penalty.
Criminal defense attorneys are always busy. Criminals do not wait until June, when the weather is nice, to commit their crimes. And attorneys don’t have the luxury of waiting until something is convenient for them either. After all, it is everybody’s constitutional right to have a speedy and fair trial and to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. Working in this field is incredibly rewarding but also incredibly challenging and it takes a very special person to be able to take on the job.