When someone is under investigation or arrested for a criminal offense, the legal representation of an experienced criminal defense lawyer is indispensable. There are very few things in life that are more stressful than getting caught up in a criminal investigation or prosecution. A licensed criminal defense attorney possesses the knowledge necessary to protect the constitutional rights of a criminal suspect or defendant.
Constitutionally Guaranteed Rights
The legal rights of a criminal defendant must be safeguarded during every phase of a criminal case. The prosecutor in a criminal case is intent on obtaining a conviction. Therefore, the role of a criminal defense lawyer is an essential aspect of the U.S. criminal justice system.
To the uninitiated, the criminal justice system must seem quite mysterious. Nevertheless, the vast web of criminal codes and legal procedures serves the vital purpose of obtaining justice while protecting the constitutional rights of the accused. A knowledgeable criminal defense attorney relies on many years of education, training and legal experience to capably defend the rights of criminal defendants.
Although every criminal case is unique, requiring a comprehensive investigation of the evidence, there are a number of constitutionally guaranteed rights that every defense lawyer has sworn to uphold. Many state constitutions provide additional legal protections, but the United States constitution absolutely guarantees the following personal liberties:
The 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits government officials from illegally seizing personal property. If government officials employ illegal means to obtain evidence in a criminal case, a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney will seek to have the evidence disqualified or the case dismissed.
The 5th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states that every criminal defendant is entitled to a fair trial in a court of law. The amendment also ensures that a criminal defendant cannot be required to provide the prosecution with incriminating evidence in the case.
The 6th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution stipulates that a criminal defendant must receive a speedy trial and be judged by a jury of their peers. A criminal defendant must also be informed of all charges against them.
The 8th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits the imposition of excessive bail or fines. The amendment also prohibits inhumane treatment during the course of a criminal investigation or prosecution.
Building a Strong Defense
In the end, the role of a criminal defense lawyer is to build an effective legal defense on behalf of a criminal defendant. Depending on the circumstances of the case and the previous criminal record of the accused, it is often possible to negotiate a reduction in charges or even an outright dismissal of the case. Selecting a defense lawyer with relevant experience defending clients that have faced similar criminal charges is the first step toward building a strong defense.
When a criminal defendant’s freedom is placed in jeopardy, the importance of establishing a confidential relationship with a defense attorney cannot be overemphasized. This vital ingredient of an effective defense strategy is the best way to empower a legal representative as they strive to identify key weaknesses in the government’s case. Every shred of evidence must be carefully scrutinized and compared with the prosecution’s version of the events that resulted in criminal charges being filed.
A criminal suspect or defendant should never make a statement to a law enforcement official prior to speaking with a criminal defense lawyer. The privileged relationship between a criminal defendant and his or her defense attorney is a fundamental aspect of the criminal justice system. Once a criminal defendant has obtained the advice and counsel of an experienced criminal defense attorney, they may respond to a criminal charge in one of the following ways:
The defendant may completely deny all culpability related to the criminal charge by pleading innocent.
The accused may choose to enter an admission of guilt but present an explanation of events that contradicts the conclusions of the prosecution.
The defendant can accept the claims of the prosecution and enter an admission of guilt.
A knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer will represent the best interests of a criminal defendant throughout a criminal prosecution. Many criminal defendants forego the option of seeking legal representation because they are innocent of all charges. This is a dangerous legal strategy that can result in imprisonment or a criminal record.
A criminal record, especially a felony conviction, can severely limit a defendant’s ability to vote, own a firearm, locate suitable employment or obtain admission to desirable education programs. Even a misdemeanor conviction can severely damage a criminal defendant’s reputation and future. Retaining the legal representation of a professional criminal defense lawyer is the most effective means of responding to a criminal charge.