When facing criminal charges, navigating the legal system alone can be daunting. For that reason, you may consider seeking the help of a criminal lawyer who can protect your rights during the trial and ensure you get the best outcome possible in your case.
However, with so many different criminal lawyers out there, knowing who to hire can be a challenge. But worry less, as this article will help you learn about the most common types of criminal attorneys and their specializations so you can pick the best for your case.
Categories of Criminal Lawyers
Criminal lawyers can be classified into prosecutors and defense attorneys. Both serve an essential function within the justice system but perform their roles differently.
A prosecutor represents the government at trial. Their job is to prove the defendant is guilty beyond reasonable doubt by providing sufficient evidence against them.
On the other hand, criminal defense attorneys represent the interests of the accused during trial. These lawyers do their best to ensure their clients receive a fair trial and verdict.
Subtypes of Criminal Defense Lawyers
A public defender is a criminal lawyer who provides free legal representation to individuals charged with a crime and cannot afford to hire a lawyer to represent them in court. In order to qualify for the services of a public defender, your income must be below 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines.
Typically, public defenders are hired on a contractual basis by the state or federal government and specialize in defending people accused of misdemeanors and felonies, and traffic violations.
Legal Aid Lawyers
Non-profit organizations and legal aid services may also employ lawyers who provide pro bono legal services to those in need. In most states, these organizations offer legal assistance to low-income individuals charged with crimes such as domestic violence and drug possession.
Panel lawyers are attorneys registered under the state to represent the accused whenever the public defender’s office cannot assist them with their case. Each state has different ways of selecting panel lawyers to represent the accused individuals.
When the government suspects an individual of committing a serious crime, such as murder, they may ask a district lawyer to build a case against them. This attorney will investigate the matter and determine the charges the defendant can face and the penalties they should receive if found guilty.
Private Criminal Lawyers
Depending on your case, you may be able to hire a criminal defense attorney privately. Private criminal defense lawyers work on a contract basis and are not paid by the government.
While some lawyers may charge you a flat fee for their services, others may bill per hour. A private criminal attorney may help you handle all aspects of your case, including conducting initial investigations, plea bargaining, trials, and appeals.
Cases a Criminal Lawyer Can Handle
“Criminal lawyers do not have a limit to the types of offenses they can handle. They can represent clients charged with crimes ranging from minor misdemeanors to major felonies, including DUIs, drug possession, assault, fraud, property cases, and more,” says criminal lawyer William M. Bailey of BK Law Group.
Regardless of your criminal charges, you must entrust your case to the right lawyer. Therefore, take some time to search and compare different options before you settle on one.