Being charged with a crime can be a life-changing experience. You need to reach out to a lawyer qualified and experienced in criminal defense lawyer at your first opportunity, but you also need to choose carefully. Gone are the days when people used to just pick a name out of the phone book; know that you will need a good criminal defense lawyer who has the background and experience that you need. Do not pick one based on a television commercial or the recommendation of one person; you will want to complete an initial consultation before engaging a lawyer’s services.
A skilled criminal defense lawyer will realize that a client’s life is going to change drastically from the very first conversation that takes place. They will also be prepared for the impending issues and possible court battles that could be coming. They will listen to all your questions and details about the case, and you can feel comfortable confiding in them. During the discussions, the lawyer will guide you carefully to get the information they need without making you feel embarrassed. You do not have to provide extra details that are not asked for and remember that the lawyer cannot disclose anything that you tell them in confidence. On the flip side, they are not allowed to let clients testify falsely under oath.
A good criminal defense lawyer understands the importance of protecting client privacy, and this extends to any dealings with a client’s family members. It is common for family to ask pointed questions and even demand answers about information that is meant to stay private. The lawyer will know to keep certain things private that could harm the case.
A criminal defense case can go through expected phases as things progress, but there can also be plenty of unexpected twists and turns along the way. This is where the lawyer’s knowledge and experience can be invaluable, especially if the charges are serious. You will want someone who specializes in criminal law and has at least 10 years of experience if you are facing something as significant as felony charges.
Knowledgeable criminal defense lawyers will be aware of the clients’ situations and all the possible implications. They are trained and experienced in acting quickly to prevent criminal convictions as cases evolve. If you want to learn more about a criminal defense lawyer’s knowledge and experience, you can go online and look for more information on their background; client reviews can also be worth reading.
A good criminal defense lawyer’s knowledge must be up to date, as laws often change when legislature passes a bill and a governor or another legislative body signs it. Laws that have been in place for decades and even longer can change with just one ruling.
One example of this kind of swift change is a 2009 case that took place in Louisiana. A defendant in court was appointed a lawyer by the judge and was returned to jail afterwards. That lawyer was not present at the time but went to the jail afterwards to speak with this new client. Before the lawyer arrived, the police asked the defendant to join them on a car ride to help find the murder weapon. During that time, the defendant was read his Miranda warnings but was asked to write a letter to the victim’s wife. The defendant wrote this letter of apology, using words suggested by the police. In this letter, it said that the defendant was sorry for the murder. As a result, the prosecutor convicted the defendant and acquired a death sentence for him.
The U.S. Supreme Court became involved in the case and concluded that when Miranda rights are given and waived by a defendant, he or she can be questioned even after being assigned a lawyer. However, the Court preserved a rule that prohibits law enforcement from initiating questions after defendants invoke their right to council, unless the defendant makes the initial contact. This new ruling replaces the previous one that was in place for 23 years.
During your initial consultation, pay attention to what the criminal defense lawyer says and see how carefully they listen to you and how they respond. Do they ask intelligent questions? Are they engaged with what you are saying, or are their answers sounding disconnected? You will want a lawyer who is aggressive, but not pushy or loud. Prosecutors are backed by the state, and many judges are former prosecutors; it is not unusual for these parties to have worked with each other in the past.
Your lawyer needs to be aggressive and confident enough to stand up to these imposing people, and this comes with being experienced, understanding the law and possible outcomes and experience. Remember, the standard for criminal convictions is not “I think so”; it is “beyond a reasonable doubt.” This is intimidating for sure, and you will want to have a strong lawyer at your side.
Also keep in mind that not all criminal cases end up in jury trials. Lawyers who can negotiate effectively can sometimes come up with ways to get defendants better results. For example, if the client was a drug addict, the lawyer could help him or her get into a treatment program and make sure that the prosecutor is aware of that. The client will need to provide their full cooperation; otherwise, things are less likely to go their way.
If you or a loved one is in a bind as a result of a criminal charge, immediately contact a Seattle Criminal Attorney. A Criminal lawyer is not going to judge you, and understands that everyone makes mistakes. Hiring a Seattle Criminal Lawyer to help can – at a minimum – reduce penalties, and can help direct people on how to best deal with their criminal charge, and many times even get them dismissed. So it should go without saying that someone cited for a misdemeanor or felony should hire a qualified Seattle Criminal Lawyer as soon as possible. Criminal charges can cause havoc on a person’s personal and professional life. Anyone charged with a crime in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Seattle Criminal Lawyer.