Do you need a lawyer if you are facing criminal charges?

The meaning of a criminal charge filed against you is that the Commonwealth or State will have to take an action against you. The first thing you should do after you are charged with a criminal offense or are expected of being charged with is to seek legal advice immediately. There are chances that you'll receive potential imprisonment, a fine, or a combination of both. If you hire the right criminal defense lawyer for yourself, he or she will do everything to alleviate the charges filed against you and safeguard your interests, irrespective of the case details.

In this article, you'll find a complete guide on how to seek legal advice when you're facing criminal charges.

When do you require the services of a criminal lawyer?

It is crucial that you get legal advice whenever you have legal matters at hand. An attorney can give you useful advice on a contract dispute, buying or selling a business, or even setting up a will. When you are expecting criminal charges against you, the advice of a lawyer gets even more important because here you might face grave penalties. Given below are details of the different types of offenses and the things that you need to know about each one of them:

Summary Offenses

Summary offenses do not require a whole jury for the final verdict. One judge alone can make a decision. A majority of criminal cases are summary offenses. Hearings of each one of these are carried out in the Magistrates' Court. Summary offenses are often minor in nature. Some common examples are given below:

•             Minor assaults

•             Property damage

•             Road traffic offenses

•             Indictable Offenses

Indictable offenses are relatively serious than the rest of the crimes mentioned above. The severe types of these offenses are heard in the presence of a judge or a jury. These cases can be:

•             Treason

•             Sexual assault and

•             Murder

Indictable Offenses Heard Summarily

There are some types of indictable offenses in which the jury is not required to be involved and the defendant can choose to have it heard summarily. Cases that are heard summarily proceed way faster relatively. This is the major benefit of summary hearings. It is still very important that you get legal advice before you choose the type of decision-making process. The following types of indictable offenses can be heard summarily:

•             Theft

•             Burglary

•             An injury caused to someone due to carelessness

Which Lawyer is going to be best suitable for your case against criminal charges?

When you are in a grave situation of facing criminal charges, you better get yourself an experienced attorney who is familiar with both the criminal law and the court system. A general misconception among the people is that they consider an attorney practicing for many years to be experienced in criminal law, which is not the case in reality. An attorney who has been practicing for only a few years might have dealt with more of the courts and criminal cases as compared to the one who has been practicing for decades. One of the most important things you should ask your attorney is his or her past experience.

Getting a Specialist Attorney

A lawyer who has specialized in criminal law can be very helpful. Some lawyers prefer to concentrate on one of the fields of law rather than spreading their focus on all the fields. For example, a lawyer may choose criminal law and become an Accredited Specialist in this particular field. An Accredited Specialist in any field of law is defined as an expert among the experts when it comes to the ins-and-outs of the court system and the subtle details of the criminal proceedings like sentencing and precedents.

A specialist lawyer is highly recommended if your case is more complicated than the usual ones because an accredited lawyer might have additional expertise to deal with your case. As an Accredited Specialists provide you with better services than the regular lawyers, they also cost more than the regular ones.

How to find the right Criminal Lawyer?

The criteria of a right criminal lawyer are extensive. It is generally thought that experience and expertise are the only things to consider when it comes to hiring a criminal lawyer. Trusting and believing your lawyer is another thing to consider. You should ensure that the lawyer you hired will do everything he or she can to protect your rights and interests. Your comfort level with your lawyer is also important. Think through whether you would be more comfortable with a female lawyer or a male lawyer. You might want to consider their age as well.

A criminal lawyer who is most suitable for you and your case will give the best advice regarding the proceedings of your case. Walking away from serious criminal allegations is not that easy, but the right lawyer will put in all his efforts to make sure that the prosecutor has an uphill battle in the fight of proving their case against you.

Moreover, in order to find potential attorneys, it is important that you use reputable sources. There a number of ways to look for an attorney who will meet your needs in the best possible way. For example,

•             Make use of the internet or visit a local library to have a look at different resources.

•             Attorneys mostly have membership of professional organizations. All states and their major cities have organizations of criminal defense lawyers. You could call an organization that is closest to you and ask them for referral services. Online directories are also available for some organizations.

•             If you are working with any other lawyer or are in contact with one, you could ask him or her to recommend you a criminal defense attorney. Also, you can get to know if a certain attorney is worth hiring through your friends and family.

•             An easier way is to go directly to your State's Bar Website and look for certified Criminal Law Specialists within your country. You can get their websites and contact numbers for further details.

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