This is a guest blog post from our friend Billy Skinner.
If you are charged with a crime in New Jersey make sure to contact us at 973-594-6552. We will defend your constitutional rights and do what he can to have your charges dismissed.
A person faced with criminal charges is likely in the market for as much assistance as possible. Depending on the severity of the charges and the nature of the case at hand, it’s essential for someone charged with a crime (known as a defendant) to have competent, professional help in the form of an experienced defense attorney.
What Does a Defense Attorney Do?
In a typical criminal case, an experienced defense attorney can fulfill any number of roles. He or she will represent the charged individual at court hearings, assist in navigating the complex criminal justice system (ensuring all requirements are met to make the process as painless as possible), and negotiate potential bargains with the prosecution and/ or judges. Whether the defendant is guilty of the crimes or not, a defense attorney is a crucial part of ensuring fair treatment and proper punishment at the hands of the criminal justice system.
There are two primary ways in which a defendant can get an attorney to handle his or her criminal case.
1. Hiring an attorney.
A defendant has the right to hire a defense attorney of his or her choice, and to have that person provide a defense during the criminal court proceedings. Private practice attorneys are available for hire that specialize in all types of cases, and they come at multiple price points. A defendant who is willing and able to pay such an attorney would do best to interview several and choose one based upon his or her expertise, personality, and the terms under which he or she is willing to represent them.
2. Having an attorney appointed by the court.
Even defendants who are unable to pay private attorneys to represent them in court are entitled, by law, to be represented by defense attorneys; thus, if the defendant cannot provide his or her own attorney, the court will appoint one to represent the person during the criminal trial. Known as public defenders, these attorneys are employed by and hired by the government. There is sometimes a stigma associated with public defenders, based upon the fact that they make less money and typically handle more cases than the average private attorney. This stigma may or may not be justified; it is typically true that an individual whose criminal case requires a great deal of personal attention (such as one who is looking to plea bargain, or one whose defense is extraordinarily complex) would do best to hire a private attorney who has the time and resources to give the case the energy it requires.
Depending upon the severity of the charges at hand, and the personal situation of the defendant, finding a defense attorney to represent oneself can be the most crucial step of any criminal trial. Whether the attorney in question is privately hired or a publicly-appointed individual, he or she plays a large role in ensuring a fair and equitable outcome for any criminal trial, and no defendant can take this part of the process too seriously. The future may be at stake.
Guest writer Billy Skinner has over five years of experience in criminal law. He lives in Houston where he opened up his own criminal law firm, The Law Offices of Billy Skinner. Billy knows how prosecutors prepare cases and uses that knowledge to provide an aggressive defense.