Why in the World Would an Attorney Practice Criminal Defense?
No doubt you know more than a few bad lawyer jokes. For example, some think of personal injury attorneys as ambulance chasers. Others consider divorce lawyers akin to homewreckers. Meanwhile, people raise questions about another type of legal representation. They don’t understand why an attorney would practice criminal defense law.
The answer can be summed up in a few words. For starters, there’s the basic “innocent, until proven guilty.” However, move on from there. You can find more clues in the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution.
Defendants accused of crimes have several rights under our country’s laws. Under the Sixth Amendment, they include:
- Speedy and public trial
- Impartial jury of the state and district where the alleged crime occurred
- Advisement concerning the nature and cause of the accusation
- Confrontation by witnesses
- Compulsory process for obtaining witnesses
- Assistance of legal counsel
Attorneys who represent defendants strongly believe that the right to counsel proves critical in all cases involving criminal prosecution. Without question, protecting the rights afforded by our country’s constitution are crucial.
Obviously, some crimes carry more stigma than others. In some cases, you may decide to question the morality of an attorney who takes on the defense of a client accused of sexual assault.
Put your feelings aside for a moment. What if that individual is innocent of the charges? What if it’s you or a loved one who are facing false complaints?
The onus does not fall on the criminal defense lawyer to deny representation because of his or her feeling about a client’s innocence or guilt. The problem with that is that someone innocent may appear guilty. Imagine for a moment that they’re not.
Better yet, worry that you are the innocent person facing consequences you do not deserve. Would you not want a strong legal advocate on your behalf?
The Role of a Criminal Defense Attorney
More than likely, you get the basic role of a criminal defense attorney. Whether it’s the first time you’re accused of a crime – or one of many, you need someone to advocate on your behalf.
Of course, if you’re innocent of a crime, you’ll be particularly concerned that there isn’t evidence that sways the judge or jury to finding you guilty.
Candidly, even if you know you’ve committed a crime, you need strong legal advocacy. Like other jurisdictions, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has rules in place. This matters even before you are arrested. Therefore, some issues your lawyer may consider include:
- Compliance with search and seizure laws
- Advisement of the Miranda warning
- Circumstances of your arrest
- Witness investigation
- Evidence review
Meanwhile, criminal defense attorneys use their experience and knowledge of the law to assess your case. This includes advising you of what you should expect going forward. And, of the associated penalties.
As you may know, many criminal matters end in settlement. Plea-bargaining often works to your benefit. And, of course, if you need to go to trial, you’ll want the confidence of someone advocating on your behalf.
If you’re facing criminal charges, you need effective and experienced representation. Contact Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano and schedule an appointment to discuss the charges against you.