The Law can be broken up into two main sections – civil law and criminal law. Each branch comes with its own areas of interest and aspiring lawyers have to choose which road they want to pursue. If criminal law is their chosen path, they become a criminal lawyer and will be the defence of clients who have been accused of criminal acts. Now, what sort of services do criminal lawyers offer? Let’s discuss this below.
Protecting Your Rights
The primary objective of a criminal lawyer is to protect the rights of their client. This includes ensuring that justice is carried out fairly and within the confines of the law. As part of the services offered by a criminal lawyer, protecting the civil liberties of a client is paramount – after all, a client’s loss of civil liberty is a loss for the criminal lawyer. When asked to come in for questioning by the police, always have a criminal lawyer in attendance as this is vital to the protection of your rights.
The protection of these rights goes hand in hand with working closely within the confines of the Criminal Procedure Act and The Constitution – two pieces of legislation that are vital when it comes to carrying justice in a fair manner for both the accused and the prosecution.
Being arrested is a stressful event for anyone, and awaiting bail is even more traumatic. The law regarding bail applications can be complicated, and a skilled criminal lawyer should be able to arrange bail for a client within the constructs of these rules. In some cases, a lawyer may be able to arrange with the investigating officer for a release on bail prior to their client’s first court appearance. However, this depends on the nature of the crime.
Either way, if you are arrested, as part of the services a criminal lawyer offers, bail applications are at the top of the list.
When it comes to building a defence for a client, a criminal lawyer offers the service of pre-trial investigations. This is all the administrative actions required by a criminal lawyer in order to create a believable defence. The pre-trial investigation includes going over the evidence, consulting with experts on the matter, finding witnesses to testify for the defence and studying the legalities regarding the crime their client has been accused of. However, it is pertinent that clients make their criminal lawyers aware of any and all information at their disposal in order for them to conduct a thorough pre-trial investigation.
This is the core of the services provided by criminal lawyers. After a person has pled to their charges, and their plea is one of not guilty, a criminal lawyer will represent them in court proceedings. During this time, the criminal lawyer will question witnesses, call their own witnesses and challenge the evidence presented by the prosecution. A successful criminal lawyer is able to prove the innocence of their client, or if a client does not prove innocent, they should be able to argue for a minimal sentence.
Another service that criminal lawyers offer is appeals. This takes place after a guilty verdict has been handed down. If the lawyer and the defendant feel that the verdict is incorrect, they may lodge an appeal to a higher court in order to have the verdict overturned by a different judge. These applications are best handled by a criminal lawyer who understands the court systems and how to navigate the legislation related to it.
Although there are numerous services offered by a criminal lawyer, these are the most important services one can expect. They are the layman’s guide through the judicial process and should be the first point of contact in the case of an arrest, questioning or potential investigation.
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