When an individual or organization is charged with a crime, they face criminal prosecution in court. The prosecutors will present all the evidence they have for charging the defendant to the judge. Working on the behalf of the defendant is a criminal lawyer. Also known as criminal defense lawyers, these are legal professionals that specialize in fighting criminal cases with the overarching goal of getting the charges against their client dropped. Criminal law is a diverse practice area and encompasses violent crimes, drug offenses, sexual assault and rape, and fraud.
If you have been charged with a crime, you will want to contact criminal law attorneys near you for legal advice. Not all law firms are on par, so here we share advice on choosing the best criminal lawyer near you along with other considerations such as costs and consultation fees.
Criminal defense lawyers are legal professionals that represent the accused in local, state, and federal courts to find justice for their clients. They specialize in criminal law, the most widely known area of legal practice. This is a huge area of the law, encompassing a range of crimes that negatively impact society as a whole. Examples of legal issues a criminal lawyer near you might work on include: domestic violence, murder and manslaughter, sexual offenses, fraud and embezzlement, assault and violent crimes, or burglaries.
As criminal law is a diverse practice area, the precise role of a criminal lawyer can vary considerably. However, their overarching goal is to help guide the defendant through the criminal proceedings and fight any criminal charges held against them. As such, some of the duties of a criminal law attorney include:
When facing criminal charges, there should be no delay in hiring a criminal defense lawyer. Felony charges have severe punishments including life behind bars, large monetary fines, or even the death penalty. Even misdemeanor crimes can lead to jail time. Hiring a criminal law lawyer near you will be your best chance of getting the charges dropped and clearing or reducing all associated punishment. Additionally, the sooner you hire an attorney, the better. We recommend you contact law firms as soon as you are arrested by the police. In most cases, it's also a good idea to refuse to answer any questions until you have legal representation. Anything you do say could damage your defense further down the line.
When choosing a law firm to work with, you want to ensure you appoint the best criminal lawyer near you. Here are a few considerations you should take into account:
Many criminal law attorneys near you will work for the public defender’s office. These lawyers are assigned criminal cases by the courts if the defendant’s income entitles them to a court-appointed attorney. The income bracket for this varies between states, but the rule is in place as all defendants are entitled to receive fair representation in court regardless of their wealth. As such, if using a court-appointed lawyer, there are no legal fees as it is subsidized by the government.
On the other hand, there are also private law firms. You will need to hire a private criminal defense lawyer if you do not qualify for free legal representation. Even if you do receive government help, you may prefer to choose your own lawyer, as they tend to get better deals for their clients.
Private criminal law attorneys near you will typically charge by the hour. Depending on the experience of the law firm, hourly rates range from $150 to $700 and upwards. Therefore, the overall cost of hiring criminal law lawyers near you depends on the experience of the firm and the complexity of your case. An average of up to $3,000 could be expected for simple misdemeanor cases. However, it is not uncommon for legal bills to reach $15,000+ for serious offenses that go to trial.
Every law firm will have its own procedures when it comes to consultations. However, free consultations are common for criminal defense attorneys. This gives both the defendant and the lawyer a chance to establish whether they are a good fit. In other cases, criminal law attorneys near you will charge a set hourly rate for their consultation time.
According to the American Bar Association, all criminal defense lawyers have the primary responsibility of defending their client's rights in the pursuit of justice.
Yes – It is beneficial to speak to a qualified attorney even if you do plan on pleading guilty. They can help you in obtaining better benefits or reduced sentencing for admitting to the crime.
If you have been falsely accused of a crime, you need to contact one of the best criminal lawyers near you. Being falsely accused does not mean the charges will automatically be dropped. Speak to an attorney who can help prove the charges need to be dismissed.