Once accused of a crime, a person will go through a series of events leading up to a trial date to determine guilt or innocence. A Criminal Defense Lawyer will help the accused move through the process which hopefully results in an acquittal, or a reduced sentence.
There are two categories of crimes: misdemeanors and felonies. Misdemeanors are less serious than felonies, and carry a maximum penalty in jail of a year or less. Felonies can result in prison time ranging from more than a year to life in prison. Felonies can also result in the death penalty depending upon the crime.
No matter which type of crime the accused is being charged, a lawyer should be contacted for advice and representation in court. Navigating the justice system should be left to a professional who is trained to protect the rights the client throughout the court proceedings. An experienced criminal defense lawyer will be able to examine the charges and the evidence that are stacked against the accused and determine what the chances are that the prosecution will get a conviction. He or she will question witnesses and investigate every speck of the evidence to find something that might exonerate the accused from the crime.
Fortunately, the Constitution of the United States is set up to protect individuals who are accused of crimes by placing the burden of proof on the prosecution to show without a shadow of a doubt that the accused is guilty of the crime for which he or she is being tried. The defense lawyer will work diligently to prevent the prosecution from being able to achieve a conviction.
A wise criminal defense lawyer will recognize if the case is not going to turn out in the favor of the accused. At that point, the lawyer will talk with the accused about settling out of court in a misdemeanor case, or work hard for the accused to reduce a prison sentence in a felony case.
Sometimes, it isn’t possible to receive an acquittal because the accused is guilty of committing the crime. A good defense lawyer is still needed to protect the rights of the accused no matter how guilty. The lawyer will try to devise a strategy to prevent the prosecution from proving guilt. After all, it is much harder to prove the guilt of a person charged with a crime than it is to prove innocence.