What Is Criminal Law?
Criminal law deals with problems that arise as a result of a criminal offense. Local, state and federal laws define criminal offenses, varying from minor infractions, including speeding, to significant crimes such as murder. Criminal penalties, which are often determined by statute, are generally proportional to the seriousness of the offense.
Minor infractions can only be punished with a fine or a short probation period. Based on the state and particular situation, aggressive felonies will lead to life sentences, years in jail, or sometimes even the death penalty.
All criminal defendants have a right to be represented by a lawyer under the United States Constitution’s Sixth Amendment. If an offender faces incarceration or jail time, the United States Constitution necessitates the state to offer legal counsel if the defendant cannot obtain it. The accused persons have the right to a lawyer in minor situations, including traffic tickets, but they ought to cover these costs themselves.
Criminal trials can be highly complicated, mainly when several defendants and charges are involved. Legal representation is a wise decision if you are accused, particularly of a felony. If you have been charged with a crime, obtaining legal advice ensures you protect your rights and create the best possible defense.
Terms To Understand in Criminal Law
- Plea bargaining: Once the prosecutor and the lawyer reach an agreement, the defendant usually pleads guilty to the offense(s) in exchange for charges’ dismissal or a reduced punishment
- Reasonable Doubt: a defendant is not guilty unless the jury proves the actuality of the offense beyond any doubt. It is the highest standard of evidence in the legal system
- Miranda rights: A suspect’s rights that an arresting officer must inform him/her before being questioned by police. They include the right to have a lawyer available for any police interrogation, the right to have a lawyer rendered free of charge by the state if the accused cannot afford one, and the right to remain silent
An experienced attorney will help you with understanding other legal terms applicable in criminal law. These include a charge, arraignment, misdemeanor, infraction, felony, and indictment.
Some Factors to Consider When Hiring a Criminal Attorney
Only about 10% of criminal cases proceed to trial, according to statistics. Part of the explanation for this is that defense attorneys often negotiate favorable settlements with prosecutors. Indeed, attorneys are often able to obtain better plea bargains than defendants could obtain by themselves. Furthermore, criminal defense attorneys may get a case dismissed before trial by removing unlawfully acquired evidence or raising procedural irregularities.
Unlike on television, an actual criminal suspect would not simply get off because the police did not notify you of the Miranda rights at a particular time. Thus, crime suspects can only depend on legal advice from a qualified attorney or a credible source. Even if convicted persons want to defend themselves, having the lawyer’s services may mean the difference between probation and prison time.
The Law Offices of Anthony Carbone can help if you are facing criminal charges in New Jersey. Get started by scheduling a consultation with a North Bergen Personal Injury Attorney today to discuss your case.