What is a criminal offense? There are so many of them they are divided into sub-headings such as “violent crimes,” “sexual crimes,” and “crimes against children.” Many are so heinous that one might wonder how any attorney can bear to represent an individual accused of committing one of them. The key here, though, is that the defendant in a criminal case is not guilty until the case against him is proven. Everyone has the right to representation and a fair trial in the free United States of America. Still, with laws tightening all the time, it is harder and harder to find leniency.
Many of our attorneys devote their practice to handling a particular type of law. In the case of criminal law, Delaware divides felonies into classes from A (the worst, such as murder) to G (the least heinous).
Examples of crimes include robbery, assault and battery, rape, and DUI. Drug possession, trafficking, and manufacturing are also criminal offenses.
As defense for the accused, our criminal defense attorney guides an accused person through the often complicated proceedings which start with being charged but can involve multiple visits to court. It is possible in some criminal proceedings if the case falls into one of the less severe forms of felony that a defendant will not have to come to court; his situation can be settled without a trial. The higher up the alphabet one goes, the more likelihood there is of an arraignment, several days or even weeks in court, and possibly an appeal later on. The entire drama plays out over the course of more than a year.
Criminal lawyers will fight for a case to be dismissed if there is insufficient evidence. In certain cases, they know this is not going to happen because the prosecution’s case is too strong, so their main interest is reducing the sentence. If prison is the likely outcome, an attorney will try to get this reduced to a fine or community service. If a person is going to spend time in jail no matter what, his lawyer will strive to reduce the sentence. He also advises his client how to plead: guilty or not guilty. He will be brutally honest in the best interests of his client, but if a person appears to be innocent of the charges, his attorney should be prepared to fight. Although this rarely happens, a lawyer will sometimes try to prove that the defendant is unstable to stand trial from a psychiatric standpoint.
Prosecution vs. Defense
In general, consumers will be hiring a defense attorney; the state will prosecute the crime unless it is brought in a civil suit. For a defense attorney to be very good at what he or she does, it helps if this professional has acted as a prosecutor in the past. This gives an attorney a dual perspective; an inside view of what the prosecutor is probably thinking and how he or she is likely to present a case against the defendant.