From the bestselling book, To Kill a Mockingbird, to the true-crime television show, “America’s Most Wanted,” and with many fictional arrests and courtroom scenes, the American public is saturated with the idea of the ideal role of a criminal defense attorney. Here are some ideas about a criminal defense attorney’s role.
When an Attorney Should Be Involved
Whether the alleged perpetrator has funds to pay for a lawyer or he or she does not, the U.S. Constitution and subsequent landmark cases give a person who has been arrested the right to have an attorney present during questioning and to assist with subsequent procedures. One lawyer once remarked that most things would be so much easier if legal counsel was called sooner rather than later.
What a Criminal Defense Attorney Does
An attorney will explain to the accused his or her rights in the situation, and help the accused to understand the upcoming processes. The attorney will safeguard the defendant’s rights, making sure that they are not violated during the arrest procedure or during subsequent trials. If the defendant pleads guilty, the attorney might negotiate a plea bargain, a lighter sentence for cooperation with the authorities. The attorney will be involved with investigating facts, cross-examining witnesses, objecting to inappropriate questioning by the prosecution, and presenting legal defense on behalf of the accused.
Are Legal Aid Lawyers Good Counsel?
Lawyers who work in public service or provide legal aid advice to defendants are held to the same standards as lawyers who are paid higher prices. They are often young lawyers who are beginning their careers. Because they often have heavy caseloads, there is the temptation to push for plea bargains that will keep a case from going to trial. With that said, public defenders are often seeking to make a name for themselves, and it is to their advantage to provide the best possible legal advice they can manage on your behalf. Furthermore, to do less would be unethical. However, although there are certainly exceptions when it comes to lawyers, as they saying goes – you get what you pay for.
When to Call a Lawyer
The best time to obtain a lawyer is before you need one, or at the very latest, as soon as you suspect there might be a problem. By calling a lawyer right away, you can perhaps keep from making injudicious statements or engaging in activities that could make your situation worse. By involving legal counsel immediately, you avoid making mistakes through ignorance.
Can Lawyers Make Mistakes?
Of course, they can make mistakes, lawyers are human beings. They are, however, highly trained in the field of law and are less likely to make the kinds of errors that might crop up with those of us who are less well informed.
Lawyers are trained to interpret the law, to research situations and to fact check. While they can make mistakes, they are only human, they are less likely to make errors through ignorance of the law than those of us who are less well-informed. They can function best if they are involved in a situation from the beginning, rather than after the participants have made mistakes.