Both minor and major crimes can result in a criminal record, preventing you from leading a normal life. If you are charged with a criminal offense, it is best to retain skilled legal counsel as soon as possible. You will need an experienced criminal defense lawyer to represent you in court. Your case's outcome depends on it.
Who is a Criminal Defense Lawyer?
A criminal defense lawyer deals with issues surrounding a criminal investigation, an individual's arrest, criminal charges, a person's sentencing, appeals, and any other post-trial issues.
Criminal defense lawyers can be court-appointed (assigned the case by the court) or private (contacted directly by the defendant). Some criminal defense lawyers are hired by private firms, while others are public defenders paid by the office of the public defender.
Most criminal defense lawyers specialize in specific types of crimes. For instance, some criminal defense attorneys only handle cases involving federal charges, drug charges, sex crime charges, or violent crimes. Specializing in a particular area allows a San Antonio criminal defense attorney to acquire experience and knowledge defending against various types of charges in that niche.
What Does a Criminal Defense Lawyer Do?
Criminal defense lawyers usually protect the rights of their clients (the defendant) and help build a strong defense that will decrease the negative consequences of them being arrested. Defense lawyers have professional resources and formal schooling, which helps them determine the appropriate defense strategies to use.
In addition to this, they also:
Research and Investigate the Case
A criminal defense lawyer's primary duty is similar to an investigator's. The defense lawyer must research the facts of the case and go through the evidence. This may include asking for assistance from a third party to help investigate the case, finding expert witnesses, speaking to witnesses, and gathering additional evidence to improve the defendant's chance of a not guilty verdict.
Guide Their Client
Criminal cases can be resolved in more than one way. A skilled San Antonio criminal lawyer can guide their client on how to proceed with their defense. This may include having negotiations with the prosecutor of the defendant's case to determine if a suitable plea deal is available. These deals may consist of reduced sentences, reduced charges, and reduced bail.
If the client doesn't want to take a plea deal, the defense lawyer must build a strong defense strategy for their client, protecting their interests.
Present a Defense
In the absence of a suitable plea deal, criminal cases often go to trial.
When a case is set to go to trial, the criminal defense lawyer must present their client's side of the story before the jury and the court.
Criminal defense lawyers must be familiar with the statutes and laws that apply to the defendant's case and make effective arguments to the jury, calling for a not guilty verdict. Lawyers should also know when to argue for a mistrial.
All lawyers don't have the same level of experience at trial, which is why it is vital to retain the services of a skilled lawyer with expertise in the field.
After the jury has decided a case, a San Antonio criminal lawyer can appeal a sentence or conviction when it's necessary. Criminal defense attorneys usually handle this aspect of the criminal justice system. Criminal case appeals can be complicated, so having in-depth knowledge of the appeal process is essential.
Given the possible consequences individuals face from a criminal conviction, it's easy to understand why having skilled legal counsel present is important. It's also important to hire an attorney with experience handling similar cases.
How Much Does a Criminal Defense Attorney Cost?
The rate of a criminal defense lawyer varies, depending on the defendant's case, among other things. For instance, most defense attorneys charge less for misdemeanors than felonies. The latter carries greater penalties, demands more preparation, and requires more appearances in court.
Less experienced defense attorneys will also charge less than more experienced attorneys. While a low hourly rate may seem like a good option, having an inexperienced lawyer not only increases the time it would take to solve a case but may also be costly in the long run. An experienced attorney with a high rate can likely resolve your case quicker.
The cost of hiring a San Antonio criminal defense attorney may also depend on whether the defendant is billed by the hour or if it's by case billing. Hourly billing is costly, especially if the case is complicated and may take longer to be resolved. On the other hand, case billing has an agreed-upon amount.
Both case billing and hourly billing have their own advantages and disadvantages. This is why it is essential to do your own research before settling on a lawyer. This applies to costs, as well as experience.
If you have an issue that requires a criminal defense attorney, contact Cabanas Law. Our team is waiting to help!