With the roads to criminal justice full of odds and obstacles, a criminal defense lawyer is the only savior, confidant, and protector that a defendant has by his or her side. Defense attorneys belong to either of two camps – court-appointed professionals paid by the government and private lawyers paid by their clients.
The defendants, who don’t have the financial cushion to pay the high fees of private lawyers, are usually represented by the court-appointed professionals. The majority of attorneys belong to this camp. They are either so-called “panel attorneys” or “public defenders” on a government salary. Only a small fraction (nearly two percent) of defendants represent themselves and they are called “pro per” or “pro se” defendants.
Roles and Responsibilities of a Criminal Defense Lawyer
Criminal defense lawyers investigate the criminal cases brought against their clients, collect the evidence, assess the facts, and make efforts to negotiate the deals with the prosecutors. These deals are usually about reduced charges, reduced bail, and reduced sentences.
A number of factors including public and political pressure, overstuffed court calendars, overcrowded prisons have contributed to the rising significance of deal-making. In fact, deal negotiations have become an important element in simplifying the complex criminal justice system.
Criminal defense lawyers interrogate witnesses, help devise a plan, scrutinize the prosecutor’s case, and evaluate the potential sentences as well as the possibility of a particular judge giving such a verdict, assess seizure and search procedure, and collect evidence. Defense counsel offers service on a more personalized level by giving a hint to the defendant about the possible outcome, helping the defendant deal with their fear, humiliations, and frustrations resulting from the suspect’s getting dragged into a criminal justice system. If no plea takes place, the defense attorney represents his or her client at trial.
How Money Matters
The financial status of the defendant plays a key role when legal representation is in question. The problem crops up when the defendant cannot afford legal counsel i.e. when he or she is indigent. Indigent defendants have legal rights to approach a court-appointed prosecutor. Some folks are lucky to afford to pay a lawyer. Without any financial strain, they usually approach THE MASTER IN THE GAME, who will represent their clients on the negotiation table or during courtroom trials.
Some people are in No Man’s Land. To be explicit, they are between the two camps and for them, making an arrangement for legal representation is not that simple and straightforward.
The fact that a defendant is entitled to free defense counsel comes into effect whenever a defendant, who is unable to pay for legal counsel, faces imprisonment. If custody is most unlikely, then the defendant might get stripped of the right to free counsel though it depends on the state law.
Point to Be Noted: Free representation should not be equated with one’s right to a public prosecutor of his or her choice. An indigent defendant is not entitled to pick and choose an attorney as making a choice is a privilege of a paying defendant.
Any defendant, if he or she has no financial strain, should consult an experienced Sylvania criminal defense lawyer if the person is a resident of Sylvania and has allegedly committed the crime in the state. Skill and Experience – these two make a great combination that a good criminal lawyer always explores to ensure acquittal or mitigated punishment for his or her clients.