Groups » Innocent Until Proven Guilty: Tips for Criminal Defense

When an individual is accused of a felony crime, finding the right lawyer is important to lodge the best defense possible. There is no case or charge that cannot be benefited by the work of a talented and resourceful criminal defense attorney, and finding a team with extensive experience can mean the difference when it comes to reduced liability and prison sentence. In some cases, it can even mean the difference between a prison sentence and capital punishment.

The American legal system is based on the presumption of innocence. This is important because regardless of the evidence that is acquired by the prosecution, every citizen has the right to a fair and reasonable trial and quality legal representation. If you have been accused of a felony offense it is recommended that you invest some time in choosing a legal professional who will advocate effectively on your behalf to launch the best possible defense.

Finding a Criminal Defense Lawyer

One of the mistakes that many accused make is selecting a lawyer that either has a preexisting relationship or one that comes highly recommended by family and friends. A basic attorney is legally permitted to represent you in court however in the case of a felony trial the best choice would be to interview a seasoned criminal defense lawyer instead.

In addition to finding a criminal defense lawyer, evaluate the area of law that your legal counsel will need to be familiar with. Theft and robbery offenses which are felony charges should be defended by counselors with experience in similar cases. In more severe charges where the accused has committed an alleged murder or involuntary manslaughter, a trial lawyer with experience in wrongful death and other similar areas would be the best representative. Experience means the difference between being represented at trial and having a persuasive advocate actively assist by pleading reduced charges and sentencing.

Try to avoid public defenders wherever possible. While finances may be tight and while there are many brilliant public defenders available their caseload is generally so heavy that they are unable to spend focused time with each client. Since they are provided "free of cost" and since that is the option for many people who cannot afford private legal counsel, they are not the best choice. If resources exist to retain a trial lawyer with criminal law experience, go that route instead.

Don't be afraid to interview several different candidates before selecting your criminal case lawyer. You should feel comfortable disclosing information to them and you should feel a sense of reliability in their experience. Ask them how many similar cases they have managed and what the outcomes were. Most criminal lawyers will be able to tell you precisely how many cases they have won or successfully plea bargained on behalf of their clients. You want a lawyer who will "go to bat" for you and your best interests.

Getting Started

Once you have decided on your legal counsel there are a number of information items that your lawyer will need to start building a profile of the incident and to create a strategy for defense. This will require some lengthy interviews to get started as well as providing any evidence related to the criminal charge. It is important to be precisely forthcoming with your lawyer even if some of the details are embarrassing or uncomfortable to disclose. Your lawyer will need to have all the information to ensure that a response is prepared for the prosecution when they present the incriminating evidence against you in court. You can help expedite your own case and cooperate by providing:

- Notes and details, dates and observations and recollections from the date of the incident
- Names and contact information for all witnesses to the incident or to your arrest
- If building an alibi away from the scene of the crime, provide receipts, toll slips, restaurant or hotel names or individuals you were with at the time of the felony incident. The more evidence you can provide to your lawyer to refute your presence at the scene of the crime, the better.

Remember to uphold the Attorney - Client privilege and confidentiality. While your lawyer is building your defense case it is important to not disclose any reflections or details about the case to anyone other than your lawyer. Hersey and even gossip can dramatically complicate a defense and give the prosecution additional ammunition to do damage to your credibility, corroborated witnesses, and admissible evidence and testimonials.

Appearance and Demeanor in Court

When the time comes to appear for your court dates, you should make every effort to look clean and respectable. Ensure that you are provided (if possible) with a suit or in the least, dress pants, shoes and a dress shirt and tie. It may seem as though looks should not matter when it comes to legal proceedings, but human nature is to form a favorable or unfavorable impression about someone depending on how they look. First impressions count with the Jury.

Make sure to:

- Purchase and wear clean, conservative dress clothes
- Stick to lighter traditional colors. Avoid black shirts and ties if possible.
- Get a haircut and ensure that it is short and presentable.
- Shave and keep mustache and/bear very short. Consider a fresh face without facial hair as studies have shown that jurors respond more favorably to clean shaven defendants.
- Avoid wearing accessories such as bandanas or 'colors' into the court; carves and jewelry such as excessive ear piercings and visible tattoos should be hidden to create a conservative look.
- Avoid scowling but avoid smiling also during the course of your trial. Aim for a flat neutral facial affect.

Remember that in the case of most felony offenses the amount of evidence required to bring your case to trial is significant and much of it is irrefutable. An effective criminal law attorney will take the same details and the prosecution approach and ensure that the circumstances and human side of the story are told, which help to explain the motivational factors for the crime and demonstrate a temporary lapse in good judgment.

For first time offenders with no prior history of criminal activity or negligence, the sentencing will be reflective of the criminal lawyer's ability to inform the jury and persuade them to be lenient. If reasonable doubt can be created, a lighter sentence may follow.


Join this group! Login with facebook