Unfortunately, there are a lot of misconceptions about defense lawyers that persist to this day. Some assume that as soon as an individual hires a defense attorney, they’re tacitly admitting guilt or are “afraid of being caught”. This is in part because of the misunderstanding of what defense lawyers do, and why many get into the field in the first place. While everyone needs to make money, and some professions yield higher salaries than others, lots of defense attorneys choose to follow that path — rather than become a real estate attorney or a divorce lawyer for example — because they want to seek justice for their clients and ensure that they are not wrongfully convicted. For that matter, a wrongful conviction is more of a risk in criminal cases, even relatively minor ones, than people often think. Below, we’ll explore what defense attorneys really do, and why they’re a crucial part of the justice system.
What Does A Criminal Defense Lawyer Do?
When you think of a defense attorney, you may very well be imagining the type that you see on television — where, on procedural shows, they’re sometimes portrayed as the villain. Or perhaps you’ll think of the types of attorneys hired by celebrities or politicians, often painted as only being in their fields “for the money”. Not all defense attorneys defend people on serious charges like murder. Some dabble in different types of criminal cases. A defense lawyer may work only with people who’ve been charged with misdemeanor crimes. Another lawyer may prefer to work only felony cases; it depends on the attorney’s preference and specialty. Not every defense lawyer job comes with a major salary, either. Many defense lawyers across the country work as public defenders, working for very little pay to defend people who are otherwise unable to pay for an attorney. Defense lawyers are just as committed to justice as their counterparts in the prosecution — they represent a citizen’s right to a fair trial and legal counsel.
How Serious Is The Issue Of Wrongful Conviction?
Thanks to the media, it often seems like people are more likely to get away with their crimes than be wrongfully convicted. This is thanks to misleading reporting; in fact, wrongful conviction is a real issue the United States, and worldwide. It’s estimated that, each year, 10,000 people in the United States are wrongfully convicted of serious crimes. There are many reasons why wrongful convictions happen — sometimes there is a mishandling of evidence. Other times, a jury is exposed to material that they shouldn’t have seen. Cases with a lot of media coverage often create a biased atmosphere that is difficult to escape. However, a good defense lawyer can be the turning point for a number of cases. This is why, if you can afford a good defense attorney, it is crucial to be careful in selecting the attorney for your case. Hopefully, you’ll never need one. But you might be surprised by how many cases necessitate the help of a defense attorney.
When Should I Hire A Defense Attorney?
If you have been, for example, in a car accident, you might not immediately think that you’ll need a defense attorney. But what happens when drunk driving charges are brought up? It’s estimated that the average person drives drunk more than 80 times before their first arrest — which means that if you’ve been accused of driving drunk, the penalty could be steeper than you might imagine. This is especially true if you’re involved in a drunk driving crash that injures someone — an occurrence that happens every two minutes. Even in a seemingly minor case, you could face major consequences. Therefore, if you feel that you could be charged with a crime, you should talk to a defense attorney as soon as possible.
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