Criminal law is an extremely complex body of both state and federal legislation. Each state gets to define and set their own punishments for state crimes. This makes it difficult for the average person to have a comprehensive understanding of criminal law or the criminal justice system processes. A criminal defense attorney specializes in the defense of individuals, organizations and entities charged with criminal activity.
Do you need a Criminal Defense Lawyer?
Every individual has the right to represent himself or herself during criminal trial proceedings but due to the complexity of criminal law, choosing to do so could have detrimental consequences. No matter how big or small the crime you or a loved one has been charged with, having professional representation increases the chances of a favorable outcome. Criminal defense attorneys are in the courtroom day in and day out, thus they understand the system, how it works, exactly what rights you have and can advise on the best plan of attack for your particular situation. It is the job of a criminal defense attorney to work on behalf of the defendant to achieve the best possible outcome for their case. Crimes range from misdemeanor to felony and punishments for those crimes range from small fines and court costs to community service, to years in prison or even capital punishment. Ultimately, hiring a criminal defense attorney is a wise decision in almost every situation. The US Constitution promises that all citizens charged with a crime will be provided with representation – so, in the event you cannot afford a criminal defense attorney, one can be appointed to you by the court.
What exactly does a criminal defense attorney do?
A criminal defense attorney will meet with you to discuss your particular situation and what you are facing. If they take your case, your criminal representation will then deal with all issues that lead up to the arrest, investigation, charges, sentencing, appeals and post-trial issues. This can involve things like:
-Consulting with the judge and/or prosecution to discuss the case
-Building up evidence in your favor
-Researching similar cases
-Drafting, filing and arguing motions and appeals
-Negotiation with prosecution
-Building a defense and case strategy and more.
Choosing the right criminal defense attorney
According to current statistics, there are roughly 20,500 lawyers in Louisiana today and that number keeps growing. So, you may think there are plenty of lawyers to choose from; but, not every attorney will be a good fit for you. The obvious in choosing an attorney is to find someone with a good reputation and when possible, experience with cases similar to yours. Ask for referrals, check reputable sources and pay attention to what they say. A seasoned lawyer should know the basics of most common crimes and you need to also make sure they are able to give you the time and attention your case deserves.
The not so obvious is to take personality into consideration. When you are dealing with a legal issue, you have a lot on the line and are often experiencing a personal crisis. It is important to work with someone who meshes with not only your personality and can show a real level of concern and compassion for you during this difficult time, but is similarly presentable to a jury, the judge, and even the prosecution. Having someone who can relate to your problem can go a long way. Look for someone who is enthusiastic about their work. Are they eager to dive into your case? Are they confident in their guidance? Do they take what you think and say into consideration? These are all factors that should be taken into consideration when looking for the right attorney for your case.
If you or a loved one has been arrested, charged, or convicted of a crime and need help understanding your rights, do not hesitate to contact Emily Latiolais to see if we are the right fit for you. Contacting us for your consultation is the first step to getting your life back on track.