When people face charges of extortion, assault or other serious crimes, this can affect their private life and profession. Fortunately, criminal defense lawyers can protect their rights and allow them to be treated fairly in accordance with the law. In addition to this, they can prevent the accused from making innocent mistakes just because they are not familiar with the legal system.
When suspects are brought into custody, they need to be present in court whenever there is a hearing. Lawyers let them know the consequences of pleading guilty or not guilty. There can also be an argument among lawyers for the judge to release the accused or to let them post a certain amount as bail.
After this, a preliminary hearing is held by the court. This is also called a mini-trial, since the opposing sides present their witnesses and evidences. Then, based on the presented evidences, the judge decides if a group of jurors might find the defendant as guilty. If so, the magistrate prepares a specific date for the trial. Also, both parties can work on a plea bargain in case the defendant is willing to come up with a deal to reduce his/her sentence. This way, the probability of receiving a more difficult sentence is avoided.
A motion hearing is held before the trial to verify the kind of evidence that is acceptable during the trial. Defense lawyers and prosecutors present their arguments before the magistrate with regards to the testimony used to persuade the jurors. As an example, when the accused confessed under pressure, this can be challenged by attorneys, which can lead to dismissal.
Defense team members can work together on the way their case will be presented, and how the evidence of the prosecution will be challenged. During the first phase, their opening statements will be given. They should be aware of the prosecution’s presentation to object to whatever they consider improper. During their turn, they present their own witnesses to challenge the evidence of the state. The moment their case is rested, this is turned over by the judge to the jurors so a verdict can be reached.
In case the defendant is found guilty by the jury, a date will be set by the judge for sentencing. Based on the law, a defendant can get anything, varying from probation to life imprisonment. When it comes to murder and other serious crimes, there are countries or states that allow death penalty. However, the sentencing phase does not end there. When lawyers find out that the courts made legal mistakes, they can start to make an appeal.
Defense lawyers can submit a brief or legal document to show their appeal to the higher court. This enumerates the reasons why the sentence should be reduced or the conviction should be trashed. Since there is no new evidence to present, only the trial record can be challenged. After the sentencing, the appeal must be made so any delays can be avoided. Prosecutors file their brief, as well, to support the sentence and conviction.
Facing serious crime charges can be overwhelming, as it can possibly ruin a person’s private life, career and finances. Getting legal advice from a competent lawyer can enable the suspects to defend themselves and heal the hurt caused by the allegations.