Criminal defense lawyers are an important part of the United States judicial system, helping to insure that all individuals who are accused of a crime have adequate representation and a fair trial. The scope of a criminal lawyer’s practice covers many different areas that requires a breadth of knowledge of the criminal and civil laws of the United States. Criminal lawyers may work for private firms such as criminal law firm in Columbia MD or may work as public defenders employed by the state.
Scope of Practice
Criminal defense attorneys can work with clients from any phase in the criminal prosecution process, or even provide advice or services for someone who has not been arrested but is concerned that charges may be forthcoming. In fact, many individuals retain a criminal defense lawyer to answer questions about the legality of various actions or the advisability of different courses.
Criminal attorneys may choose to specialize in a specific phase of the criminal process or simply be available to assist clients at any stage.
A criminal attorney may assist an individual who has just been arrested, providing services during questioning and assistance with decisions about bail and pleaing. During arraignment, many experts agree it is advisable to have a laywer who can help with negotiating bail and decisions regarding whether to plea guilty or not guilty.
Some criminal defense lawyers specialize in trial law and work mostly in preparing clients, researching and putting together cases for trials. They may work in teams on larger cases.
Certain criminal defense attorneys specialize in helping specific populations of defendants. For example, a lawyer may specialize in DUI law. In this case, he or she may have specific ongoing training in the area but, perhaps more importantly, will have extensive experience dealing with those types of cases.
Although all criminal lawyers should have a good working knowledge of how evidence works, there are lawyers who are more versed with specific types of evidence. For example, lawyers who have extensive experience or training in dealing with DNA cases or with those involving blood spatter analysis.
Additional areas of specialty include exoneration of the wrongly accused, drug cases, violent crimes, domestic crimes and more. Other criminal attorneys do not practice trial law, but instead focus their services on helping defendants either before or after trial. A criminal lawyer can, for example, help negotiate or set up parole or probation terms and services for clients.