A defence lawyer, or more commonly known as criminal defense lawyers, or even criminal defense attorneys, defend organizations and individuals who have been charged with a crime(s). A criminal defence attorney, will handle a wide range of criminal cases; cases ranging from domestic violence, violent crimes, sex crimes and even drug related crimes such as driving under the influence, embezzlement, theft and even fraud.
Criminal Defence Lawyer Experience and Education
Like all lawyers, solicitors, attorneys, however you prefer to refer to them as, criminal defence solicitors must first obtain a law degree and pass an official examination in the state in which they plan to practice. Some criminal defence lawyers earn a certification from the official National Board of Legal Specialty Certification (also known as a NBLSC). This legal board is a non-profitable organization that has been accredited by the American Bar Association.
Criminal Defense Attorney Job Role and Description
A defence attorney represents a defendant that is facing criminal charges in their state, appellate and federal courts. Their particular practice includes plea bargains, bail bond hearings, trial, revocation hearings, post-conviction remedies and appeals.
A criminal defense lawyer will:
- Research case law, crimes codes, statutes and procedural law.
- Investigate a particular case and interview any witnesses.
- Build and develop a defense case study and strategy.
- Draft, file and argue specific motions such as motions to suppress and dismiss.
- Negotiate with the prosecution in order to plea or bargain a lesser charge for their client.
- Advocate during a trial for their client/defendant.
- Draft, file and argue specific appeals.
Criminal Defence Lawyer Skills
A criminal defence lawyers must first posses excellent written and oral advocacy skills in order to argue a defendant’s case in front of a judge and also in order persuade a jury. They must also be able to investigative and research that is important in producing a defendant’s case and develop a strong defense. Criminal defence lawyers must also demonstrate a strong creative mind and analytical thinking in order to develop a legal strategy and analyze a case.
Criminal lawyers must also posses an in depth understanding of federal, state, and local law and rules; plus court procedures, local judges and evidentiary laws in order to navigate the criminal justice system competently and efficiently.
A majority of criminal defense attorneys appear to work within the private sector or for a solo firm. Some are also known to work for non-profit agencies or even the government as defenders of the public. Criminal defence lawyers typically meet with their clients outside of the traditional office setting such as a prison, the courthouse, hospital and a handful of other locations.
Criminal Lawyer Job Outlook
Unfortunately as crime rates and criminal laws continue forever to spiral upwards, the exact number of individuals who are sentenced to prison has risen nearly by nearly three times over the past three decades. Crime rates have significantly increased and the population held within prisons are becoming increasingly alarming across the country. As new criminal laws are summarized and more individuals are charged under federal and state laws, the need for criminal defence lawyers will rise dramatically to help defend the accused.