The pounding of the gavel. The call to the witness stand. Even if you’ve never stepped foot inside a criminal courthouse, you likely have a vague idea of what a criminal court case is “supposed to” look like.
Criminal defense law is often depicted in television shows and movies. Popular examples include Law & Order and Legally Blonde. Like most things, these depictions are dramatized and played up for the big screen. Sadly, Elle Woods shouldn’t be your go-to when you think of criminal defense law.
You might not know the encompass of criminal defense law, despite having a vague idea of what it is. Like many things, criminal defense law is different than how you’ve seen it depicted on the big screen.
Whether you’re looking to hire a criminal defense attorney or want to know more about criminal defense law, you can benefit from this article. Keep reading to learn about criminal defense law and what it encompasses.
What Is Criminal Defense Law?
Criminal defense is a part of criminal law. What is criminal law? Criminal law differs from civil law in many ways. The main difference is that both civil and criminal law have their own separate court systems.
Civil law protects the private rights of individuals. Criminal law means defining criminal activity and establishing legal punishments. Civil law applies to situations where an individual has had their rights violated by another individual or cooperation. For example, the criminal court system would not handle a car accident case. The civil court system handles personal injury claims, like motor vehicle accidents.
Criminal defense law is the legal protection given to people accused of committing a crime. If defendants do not have adequate protections, the balance of power within the criminal court system could become skewed. If you have been accused of a crime, such as a sex crime, a criminal defense lawyer would be able to represent you and be your advocate throughout the duration of your legal battle.
What Does Criminal Defense Law Encompass?
Criminal defense law protects individuals accused of a drug, sex, theft, or gun-related crime. This includes crimes such as trespassing, battery, and fraudulent practices. Individuals accused of a computer-related crime may also benefit from hiring a defense lawyer. The 2020 Florida Statutes explain in detail the full encompass of what the sunshine state’s legislature considers a crime.
What Does a Criminal Defense Lawyer Do?
A criminal defense lawyer will be able to investigate all aspects of your case and analyze the evidence. Most criminal cases never see trial. In the event your case goes to trial, a criminal defense lawyer will be able to assist in the jury selection process, negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutor, prepare you for trial, and help you get more lenient sentencing.
What Is a Plea Bargain?
A plea bargain- also referred to as simply a “deal”- is an agreement between the defendant and the prosecutor. As part of the agreement, the defendant agrees to plead either guilty or “no contest.” They do this in exchange for the prosecutor dropping one or more charges, reducing a charge to a less serious defense, or recommending to the presiding judge a sentence acceptable to the defendant.
What Does It Mean To Plead “No Contest”?
A plea of “no contest”- also called nolo contendere- has the same consequences as a guilty plea but is not an official admission of guilt. A defendant who pleads no contest will still receive a conviction and some form of punishment. Typically defendants plea “no contest” if they are involved in a related civil case; the advantage is that their plea cannot be used as an admission of liability in the civil case.
Why Most Criminal Cases Never See Trial
Most criminal cases never see a trial for a multitude of reasons. Criminal charges could be dropped if there is found to be insufficient evidence of a crime. Prosecutors could decide not to refile charges after a preliminary hearing. In many instances, a criminal case will not go to trial because the defendant has a defense attorney fighting to protect their rights who has negotiated a plea bargain with the prosecutor. A good criminal defense attorney plays many roles; they are your guide, your confidant, and your advocate throughout the duration of your criminal case.
Court-appointed Versus Hired Criminal Defense Attorneys
If you are convicted of a crime and can’t hire a private attorney for whatever reason, you can request that the court appoint a public defense attorney. Although you can have a public defense attorney represent you at no cost, you have no choice in which public defense attorney the court assigns to your case. Public defense attorneys typically are underpaid, overworked, and have large workloads, meaning that they won’t be able to give your case the attention it deserves. It is in your best interest as a defendant to hire a criminal defense attorney to represent you in your criminal case.
Contact a Tampa Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
Now that you’ve reached the end of this article, you know the encompass of criminal defense law and the benefits of hiring a criminal defense lawyer. What you need to do is contact a criminal lawyer that will organize your defense. Make sure that they are ready and willing to give their best effort and provide you with the best services possible.
You can always schedule a consultation before you opt for your final option as this should give you an insight into what they will do for you. If you have no time, giving them a quick call should suffice it, but make sure you hear from the law firm first and see who they will send to be your representative.
Once the process starts, you can do nothing else but to leave them to do their job. You can rest assured that you are in safe hands.