Types of Criminal Defense Lawyers

Law books - criminal defense lawyer article

Have you ever been charged with a criminal offense? It is no secret that the legal system can seem daunting, especially when dealing with the case alone. 

For this reason, working with a criminal defense lawyer is always a good idea, as such individuals tend to have experience with criminal cases. What’s more, these professionals might have dealt with similar cases before, which puts them in a better position to determine the likelihood of winning. 

However, before settling down to working with an attorney, you need knowledge of the different types of lawyers and their areas of expertise. Read on to learn about the different classes of criminal defense lawyers. 

Types of Criminal Defense Lawyers

Generally speaking, there are two types of criminal defense lawyers: District Attorneys, otherwise known as prosecutors and Criminal Defense Lawyers. 

District Attorneys/Prosecutors 

A prosecutor’s primary objective is to prove a suspect’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Such professionals try a case on behalf of the government and are tasked with acting within ethical frameworks and prioritizing public interests.

Criminal Defense Lawyers 

While prosecutors work to prove a suspect’s guilt, criminal defense lawyers defend suspects accused of crimes. They are tasked with proving the defendant’s innocence beyond a reasonable doubt. 

Categories of Criminal Defense Lawyers

It is also important to note the different categories of criminal defense lawyers, determined mainly by the cases these professionals handle. 

Legal Aid 

Legal aid involves lawyers offering legal advice to individuals involved in civil cases. Most legal aid offices provide free legal advice for qualifying individuals. 

However, you should note that legal aid lawyers cannot represent individuals accused of criminal charges. For individuals that cannot afford private attorneys, the state offers public defenders. 

Public Defenders

A public defender is a lawyer working under the state whose duty is to represent criminal defendants in court. Typical roles include offering legal representation for various cases ranging from felonies to misdemeanors to traffic violations. 

Defendants have a right to a public defender when facing criminal charges, arrest, or appearances before a judge. In cases where the defendant’s income is less than 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines, the court can appoint a public defender on behalf of the accused.

Panel Lawyer

Panel lawyers register with the state to represent defendants whenever the public defender’s office is unavailable. The Criminal Justice Act is responsible for appointing these lawyers on a rotating basis. 

District Lawyer

District lawyers work to prosecute defendants in cases where the government suspects their involvement in different crimes. These professionals can decide which charges proceed to trial and which do not. 

Private Attorneys

Private attorneys offer legal representation for individuals facing criminal charges of varying degrees. These individuals are responsible for all aspects of the case and help the client by educating them on the different issues and possible outcomes of the case. 

Cases Handled by Criminal Defense Lawyers

Below are some of the cases handled by criminal defense lawyers: 

  • Property Cases – Involves taking or destroying property minus the owner’s consent, including burglary, vehicle theft, shoplifting, and arson. 
  • Drug Abuse Cases -The Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act states drug abuse offenses as the possession, use, and sale of controlled substances which fall within five schedules. 
  • Alcohol-related Cases – Offenses falling under this category include drunk driving and public intoxication. 
  • Violent Crime Cases – Violent crimes include robbery, aggravated assault, manslaughter, murder, and sexual offenses. 
  • Fraud Cases – As per law, fraud can translate to either first, second, or third-degree felony charges depending on the type and amount of financial loss the victims incur. 
  • Family Cases – Family cases vary depending on the crime, including domestic violence crimes against a family member or sexual battery against a family member. 

The Takeaway 

You do not have to face criminal charges alone. Criminal defense lawyers will help you get justice and ensure fair treatment in court. They may be able to help you reduce charges, get acquitted, or have the case dismissed, but you should note that this will mostly depend on the intricate case details. 

Interesting Related Article: “How to Choose the Right Criminal Defense Attorney for Your Case