The Value of Skilled Criminal Defense Attorney for a Client
The Starting Point for retaining Legal Counsel. A criminal defense attorney is a critical part of any legal proceedings involving criminal acts, acting as an advocate and spokesperson for the defendant. The client has no burden of proof until and unless the State has established a prima facie case, with all elements of the crime properly proven by competent evidence.
In the United States, criminal defense cases are defended by one of three categories of legal service providers that defend those accused of committing crimes. Polson Law Firm attorneys are widely known for stellar criminal defense.
First, those without funds to hire an attorney to defend criminal charges are constitutionally entitled to a criminal lawyer. This category is sometimes called "public defenders" or "appointed legal counsel."
The assigned criminal court judge will appoint legal counsel once indigency is established. These attorneys for criminal defense are either part of an established county "pool" of attorneys, or (in some court) will be appointed by the presiding judge, possibly from a list of local attorneys who work through their local Bar association or other approved referral service, that pays those attorneys with State funds.
Second, criminal defense attorneys can be found through a private practice defense firm. In Alabama, only those licensed through the Alabama State Bar can serve as your legal counsel. You can check private criminal defense attorneys' standing with the Bar at the previous link. The "norm" in Alabama is for a private criminal defense attorney to offer a free consultation, but some require a fee for their time to review a case.
This tells you nothing about a legal professional other than that she or he is currently a member of the Bar. Inquiring about how long the possible defense lawyer has been practicing law for criminal cases (including state of federal criminal proceedings) in your area (e.g., Montgomery AL or Birmingham, Alabama).
Third, a person has the right to represent himself or herself. The legendary Abraham Lincoln, who was widely known for defending criminal defendants before getting into politics, is often quoted as having said: If you are your own lawyer, you have a fool for a client.
This one additional fact of life needs to be added, to convince you to not represent yourself: do not expect to be allowed a" mulligan" if you represent yourself in a criminal case and lose. Appeals after pro se trial convictions have about 1% success rate, at best since you declined to take advantage of legal help.If My Criminal Attorney is Appointed, what are my Risk Factors?
Appointed attorneys are typically paid less than private attorneys, since the government is only concerned that a person has access to a lawyer. Often, in the large metro Birmingham AL counties, the State-paid lawyers have double or triple the case loads of private legal advocates.
In addition, experience level may be a problem. Many recent law school graduates may have received cursory criminal law defense tactics than seasoned private law firm litigators have developed for handling their criminal cases.
Also, some private lawyers who take appointed cases to help keep the lights on at the law office. They may have more expertise in other practice areas, other than criminal defense representation.
So, these State-issued payments may be their way for getting their staff paid and the rent paid. Such law professionals may be spending most available hours on personal injury, divorce, or other non-criminal matters.
For those criminal law attorneys defending violent crimes and drug crimes in Alabama, a great deal is at risk, in terms of potential state prison time. For many criminal legal issues relating to felony drug crimes, sex crimes and some physically violent domestic violence cases, lengthy mandatory jail time is part of any conviction.Your Attorney for Criminal Defense will Listen to Your Side of the Story
When a criminal defense legal professional has a chance to speak with the accused directly, that lawyer and client should thoroughly review police records, looking for flaws in various aspects of the case. This entails posing pertinent questions to the defendant in order to gain an understanding of possible defenses, and to recognize any strengths or weaknesses that may be present.Your Lawyer will Investigate the State's Evidence and Talk with Any Favorable Witnesses
A knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer must thoroughly investigate the case facts. This will include talking to the witnesses who are the foundation of the State's criminal prosecution, like the arresting officer.
Many criminal cases have "forensic evidence," such as fingerprint evidence, DNA matching, or possibly an implied consent post-arrest breathalyzer test or blood sample in a DUI case. In such cases your legal advocate may need one or more expert witnesses, to facilitate the defense.
Plus, and State experts will need to be de-briefed by your attorney before trial. Since we have handled over 8,000 DUI cases in seventy collective years of law practice, this is a legal field where many witnesses will be common.Regular Contact with the Client is Essential, but Sometimes Fall Short
The criminal defense lawyers should maintain contact with their clients. All conversations will be kept private. Sometimes, no new updates about the progress of their case will be available until the State's prosecutor has divulged all of the criminal discovery documents and video recordings.
Your legal defender must also explain any developments in the case, long periods of inactivity may occur. In our post-COVID world, the courts have had to adjust to accommodate many changes. One obligation that all criminal defense attorneys must follow is to communicate any State offers to reduce charges, drop some charges in exchange for a plea to fewer "counts," or transmit and plea offers, good or bad.
A criminal defense lawyer is also responsible for talking about the status of the case and negotiating with the prosecutor regarding any particular plea bargain. A criminal defense lawyer may be able to help secure a favorable deal for the defendant that results in a reduction of charges or possible punishment, if you risk trial and not take "the deal."
If a trial occurs, your criminal defense attorney will act on behalf of their client. Interposing objections to State prosecutor questions is part of that legal service. Challenging State witnesses, and cross-examining evidence and witnesses presented by the prosecution is their duty. The criminal defender is not trying to prove a client's innocence. Instead, the goal is to discredit or derail prosecution witnesses who are embellishing evidence or adding facts that they could not know.Felony or Misdemeanor Defense by Polson & Polson Law Firm
Our litigation professionals are known in the legal industry statewide as aggressive, skilled criminal defenders. With a combined 70 years of legal practice, this is the depth of criminal law acumen you need. Our legal warriors are proud to let you read about our prior successes, and keep client names anonymous.