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There are over 642,750 lawyers available in the country. If you need a criminal justice lawyer, however, it’s easier to narrow down your options.
When it comes to a criminal case, you want to choose someone qualified to advocate your rights. Otherwise, you could end up facing jail time. By finding the right crime lawyer, you can build a defense for yourself.
What does a criminal lawyer do exactly, and how can they help?
Keep reading to find out! In this guide, we’ll review everything you need to know about criminal lawyers.
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A Brief Overview
What does a criminal lawyer do if you were charged with a crime? For starters, criminal lawyers work to defend individuals and organizations. They’re equipped to handle a range of criminal cases, including:
- Driving under the influencer (DUI)
- Sex crimes
- Violent crimes
- Drug crimes
- Domestic violence crimes
A criminal justice lawyer is responsible for defending your rights and best interests in these cases. Criminal defense lawyers are responsible for acting as legal representatives for defendants in criminal law court cases. They’ll work on behalf of the defendant to achieve the best possible outcome for the case.
Duties and Responsibilities
Now that you have a criminal defense lawyer job description handy, let’s discuss the lawyer’s duties and responsibilities.
Criminal lawyers represent defendants in state, federal, and appellate courts. The lawyer is responsible for defending their client, which can include:
- Bail bond hearings
- Plea bargains
- Revocation hearings (probation or parole)
- Post-conviction remedies
A criminal justice lawyer has many responsibilities that can help them defend their clients. These include:
- Investigating the case in question
- Gathering evidence and interviewing witnesses
- Researching case law, statues, crime codes, and procedural law relevant to the case
- Building a defense
- Determining a case strategy
- Negotiating a plea bargain or lesser charges with the prosecution
- Drafting, filing, and arguing motions (including a motion to dismiss or suppress
- Advocating for the defendant at trial
- Drafting, filing, or arguing appeals
With each of these responsibilities, the lawyer’s goal is to protect their client from prosecution.
How much a criminal just lawyer makes depends on their experience, the size and scope of their practice, and their location.
Criminal lawyers usually make the highest salaries when they work at a law firm. Experienced criminal attorneys can make up to six figures. The highest-paid lawyers, however, usually represent high-stake, high-profile, wealthy clients.
A crime lawyer’s salary can also differ based on the type of lawyer.
For example, prosecutors argue the case for the state against criminal defendants. They make between $35,000 and $90,000 a year.
Public defenders, on the other hand, and criminal defense attorneys who defend citizens unable to pay for a private attorney. They make slightly more than prosecutors at a median of $50,400 a year.
Private defense lawyers, on the other hand, can have different salaries based on how many cases they take and what they charge. These lawyers usually bill hourly. Others might charge a flat rate for specific types of cases.
The median annual rate for a private lawyer is $118,660.
Like all lawyers, a criminal lawyer will need to complete a bachelor’s degree before earning their law degree. It usually takes seven years for them to obtain both degrees.
Then, the criminal attorney will need to pass the bar exam in the state they plan on practicing in to obtain their license. If you’re searching for a lawyer, make sure they’re listed on the local bar association website as a licensed attorney. If they’re not, keep looking.
Some crime law firms require lawyers to earn board certification from the National Board of Legal Specialty Certification (NBLSC). This organization is a non-profit that’s accredited by the American Bar Association. The NBLSC provides board certifications for attorneys.
It’s also an outgrowth of the National Board of Trial Advocacy.
Skills and Abilities
What does a criminal lawyer do to defend their clients? These lawyers need a variety of skills to succeed in trial.
For example, a talented criminal attorney will need strong oral and written advocacy skills. They’ll need to argue their client’s case before a judge and jury. A lawyer will also need to write out their arguments and complete thorough paperwork.
Next, look for an attorney that has strong research and investigative skills. These skills are important as the attorney builds their client’s case. Otherwise, they could fail to build a strong defense.
The best criminal lawyers are also creative.
They’ll use their creative-thinking and analytical skills to develop a sound legal strategy. The lawyer will need to analyze case law and litigate complex cases as well. These creative-thinking skills will help them appeal to a jury in court.
Look for a lawyer that has plenty of legal knowledge and experience. Their hands-on legal experience can give them an advantage in court. After all, people learn from experience.
A lawyer will need a detailed understanding of all state, federal, and local rules, too. Their understanding of court procedures, local judges, and evidentiary laws can help as they navigate the criminal justice system.
The strongest lawyers have efficient interpersonal skills. These skills allow them to build a strong client-attorney relationship. If the client and attorney don’t trust one another, it could cause delays in the case.
Some criminal defendants go through multiple lawyers before they find one they like and trust. A skilled lawyer will know how to attract and retain their clients. Otherwise, they could have a difficult time building their practice.
If you’re looking for a qualified attorney, criminal lawyer Craig Orent can help.
These lawyers often work full-time for over 40 hours a week. Some attorneys work in large firms or private practices, which could require them to work longer hours. They’ll need this time to prepare and review documents or research a case.
Some criminal lawyers work for non-profit agencies or the government as public defenders.
What Does a Criminal Lawyer Do?: Your Guide to Building Your Defense
What does a criminal lawyer do again? They work hard to defend your rights and help you avoid criminal charges. Now that you know more about criminal lawyers, you can find the one best equipped to handle your case.
Searching for more tips? Explore the Safety and Survival section of the blog today.