Key Features of a Criminal Defense Attorney
For whatever reason, you may be seeking a criminal defense attorney in Houston, TX . It’s important to know what generally makes up the job description before looking for who specifically can fit the bill.
Criminal Defense by Definition
A criminal defense attorney is simply defined as an attorney who defends those criminally charged. Typically, if you’re searching for a criminal defense attorney, he or she is a part of a privately-owned office. If the accused party is unable to afford counsel, an attorney known as a public defender is provided to them.
In selecting an attorney suited for your case, there is usually a variety of local attorneys that differ in criminal specialties. For example, a man with a DWI charge may find more success with a DWI attorney who specializes and is known for his or her work in DWI cases.
The first task of any criminal defense attorney is reviewing the charges in question and determining their validity. These attorneys mostly deal with those charged with misdemeanors and felonies. The difference between these two comes with their potential punishments. A misdemeanor conviction only results in jail time of up to one year, while a felony may result in jail time longer than a year.
To build a defensive case against the charges filed, the main material a criminal defense attorney uses is the Bill of Rights, often more specifically the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments. These amendments set in place the legal precedents of modern rights of accused parties. For example, the Fourth Amendment ensures legal protection from unlawful search and seizure, while your Miranda Rights, those constitutional rights that protect you from self-incrimination, are covered in the Fifth and Sixth Amendments. By reviewing these rights and applying them to your case, defense attorneys are able to judge whether your charges are legally valid. If not, a criminal defense attorney can successfully lead the case to a mistrial.
In the chance that your charges are legally valid and the case resumes, the next task for your attorney is to prepare the case for trial. Usually, if you’re likely to be convicted for the charges you’ve been accused of, the remaining work involved of the attorney deals with the sentencing procedures. While the sentence in general is considered at this moment to be unavoidable, successful work of a criminal defense attorney can result in a settlement or a plea bargain. In this case, either a charge agreement is made to reduce the charge or a sentence agreement is made to reduce the sentence. Either way, a successful attorney can help to significantly reduce the potential outcome of your case, which can prove a vitally significant change.
Becoming a Criminal Defense Attorney
Like attorneys of any legal specialty, an individual must go through intensive education in order to become a practicing lawyer. Upon successfully graduating from both an undergraduate university and an accredited law school, one must then pass the bar examination.
Understanding the work of a criminal defense attorney can bring ease to your case. In doing so, attorney selection and the judicial process are made much easier and more efficient.