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Criminal Defense Law

Criminal defense law is a category of law that deals with cases in which a person has been charged with a criminal offense. These crimes may range from relatively minor, such as a traffic offense, to serious, such as a homicide. Unlike civil cases, in which a defendant may be found guilty with a preponderance of evidence (the lowest standard for burden of proof) during trial, in order to obtain convictions for defendants in criminal cases, prosecutors must show that there is evidence that proves beyond a reasonable doubt (the highest standard for burden of proof) that the accused is guilty of the offense for which they have been indicted. Like civil cases, criminal cases may be handled by trial or settlement (in criminal cases it is through a plea bargain arrangement).

There are several types of criminal offenses that may warrant punishment under the law if a person is convicted of them. Criminal law attorneys help protect the rights of those who have been accused of serious crimes, for which the punishment may be hefty fines, jail time, or in some jurisdictions the death penalty.

As with attorneys in any field, criminal law attorneys typically specialize in certain types of criminal cases that fall under the umbrella of criminal law. Cases taken on by criminal law firms may include juvenile cases, domestic violence cases, sex offense cases, environmental violations cases, financial crimes cases, narcotics cases, homicide cases, and others. Criminal law attorneys also handle appeals for eligible clients who have been found guilty of a crime in a court of law.

Because of the serious nature of most criminal cases, and the potential consequences of being convicted, it is important that those that have been accused of a crime seek out effective legal representation from a qualified attorney who is skilled and experienced in handling cases similar to one’s own.