What is “Criminal Law” and why would I use a criminal law attorney?
All American citizens have to adhere both federal laws and the laws found in the state criminal code. If a person behaves in a way which violates either of these laws, it is considered a crime. They will then be prosecuted in a state or federal court, based on the nature of their crime and the discretion of the district attorney.
A person can either be charged with a felony or a misdemeanor. Crimes which are deemed less serious – such as petty theft, traffic violations and public intoxication – fall under the category of misdemeanor. These may be punishable by a fine or a prison term of short duration.
A felony involves a significant act of misconduct such as murder, rape, arson or fraud. There are considered to be various degrees of felony, and the punishment will be set accordingly. Depending on the state and the crime, punishment can range from a one year prison sentence to the death penalty.
Regardless of whether you have been charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, you will need a criminal law attorney. U.S. law decrees that a person is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. It is the job of an attorney to investigate the charges and build a case which will introduce reasonable doubt into the defendant’s guilt. If the defendant pleads guilty to the charge, an attorney can also devise a strategy to mitigate the terms of the punishment.
Criminal law is highly complex. If you stand accused of a felony or a misdemeanor, it is imperative that you hire an experienced criminal law attorney at the earliest opportunity. They can help to build a case to either prove your innocence or reduce the punishment.