Criminal Trial Attorney
Choosing a civil trial lawyer need not be a daunting task. A client might find themselves in need of legal representation for a variety of reasons. Whether the need is related to drawing up a will or trust, transferring a title on a piece of property, setting up a mortgage or lease, or creating a contract, professionals specializing in civil law can guide their clients through the process. The need for a criminal trial attorney often comes at a time of great stress, but can also bring great comfort and relief to the client who is charged with a crime. What ever type of legal help might be required, a competent professional can help their client through a maze of legal mystery and hopefully help bring about an outcome that is satisfactory to all concerned. The idea of caring for the defenseless is mentioned many times in the Bible. "Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy." (Psalm 82:3)
To better comprehend the functions of these different legal professionals, an understanding of the differences between civil and criminal law could be of benefit. The functions of a criminal trial attorney involve defending a client who is charged with a crime and faces some form of punishment that could include jail or imprisonment, some kind of fine, or even execution. Whether charged with a felony or misdemeanor, legal representation is a necessity and not a luxury. A civil trial lawyer is generally hired for the purposes of civic litigation. The client that is represented by this type of legal professional is never in danger of any kind of punishment such as jail or imprisonment, and certainly not execution. The worst outcome that any client can expect in the loss of a civil suit is the payment of punitive damages for offenses that could include malicious intent to cause harm, disdain for the rights of others, or gross negligence.
Another difference between these two legal disciplines is the issue of burden of proof. For the criminal trial attorney, the burden of proof is determined by which side of the aisle the representative occupies. In criminal cases, the burden of proof lies with the state. If trial lawyers are public prosecutors who represent the state, they must carry this burden of proof. Since a defendant in these cases is presumed innocent under our system of law, the burden of proof does not lie with defending attorneys. In criminal law, this burden of proof must be established beyond a reasonable doubt. Of course, for the civil trial lawyer, things are very different. The burden of proof in civil litigation begins with the legal professional who is representing the plaintive bringing charges. This case is proven to the jury by a preponderance of the evidence, in other words a greater than 50 percent probability. There are also a number of exceptions when the burden shifts to the defendant to counter the plaintiff's case.
A civil trial lawyer might help a client with any number of issues. Some of the concerns that fall in the area of civil law include libel or slander cases, probate law, mortgage issues, personal injury, or tenant's rights. The practice of elder law also falls under this category and covers such issues as estate planning, probate, health care decisions, power of attorney, living wills, long term nursing care, tax planning, retirement, and guardianship. Writing a will and appointing guardians for any minor children at the time of a client's death is also a task that this legal professional might perform. Legal representation in any kind of contract matter is very important and there are a number of legal professionals who specialize in this area. There are also a number of issues that are not of so large a magnitude, but that can benefit from legal counsel. If a client feels discriminated against in the workplace, has a financial dispute, or needs a solution to a situation as simple as dealing with noisy neighbors, often representation is sought. Simply put, civil law involves private disputes between private individuals.
When a client has been charged with a crime, they should hire legal counsel as soon as possible. This professional will have the rights of their client uppermost in mind. For this reason, a citizen would be ill advised to seek advice in these matters from such sources as police officers or prosecutors, and should definitely not attempt to represent themselves. Misdemeanors are considered more minor than felony crimes, but many still require representation. Issues such as traffic violations or petty theft are considered misdemeanors. These violations usually require some type of fine or community service for defendants that are found guilty. Since clients that are accused of more serious crimes such as rape, murder, grand theft, or assault and battery, face possible imprisonment or death, the stakes are much higher and the need for a skilled criminal trial attorney is high. Whatever the need, civil or criminal, finding a competent professional to represent or defend is crucial.
The idea behind our legal system is that if both parties in any dispute meet in a courtroom and each side is vigorously presented, the truth will come out. When the truth comes out, justice will inevitably be served. Ideally, this is insured by the judge or the jury, who represent a neutral third party. In recent years, particularly in areas such as family law, simplification processes are being sought. These simplifications might come in the form of mediators who help the concerned parties come to a mutual agreement.
Criminal Justice LawyerA skilled criminal justice lawyer can be an indispensable asset to anyone who, for any reason, finds themselves in need of professional legal assistance. As an advocate for the client, an attorney's job is to support, defend and generally act in the favor of the consumer who hires them. Legal professionals who specialize in appellate law generally come on board after a client has been found guilty of a particular crime. This type of legal counsel is invaluable to the client who wishes to pursue an appeal in the hope that a prior legal judgment might be reversed. Normally working in private practice, a criminal appeal attorney might work with prior legal counsel to pursue the appeals process. Since the procedures in place for filing and pursuing legal appeals differ from those that pertain to the original criminal trial, an appellate counsel must be well versed in these dealings to most effectively work for the client's needs.
The qualities of a skilled criminal appeal attorney should include the ability to write high quality legal breifs that successfully present the client's case. They should also be able to present oral arguments on the client's behalf before an appellate court judge. A competent professional in this field should have the ability of understanding a judge's perspective on the issues on which the appeal is based. Often clients continue through the appeals process using the same counsel who represented them in trial court. This approach can be effective, but an attorney who specializes in appellate law might be able to better understand the special issues that could affect the success or failure of the appeal. By bringing a fresh perspective to the case, this particular type of criminal justice lawyer can see things that did not occur to the original trial court lawyer. Since matters regarding legal appeals must be filed according to specific forms and deadlines, a legal professional who specializes in this area should be well versed in all the rules of appellate law.
Becoming a criminal justice lawyer can take many years of arduous study. After high school, a student can expect to spend seven years studying. Of course the first four years are spent attaining a pre-law degree. These years are followed by another three years in law school. Most law schools maintain high entrance standards, so a student who did not apply themselves sufficiently during their undergraduate studies will find entering law school much more difficult, if not impossible. A pre-law degree generally involves intense development in areas such as speaking, research, writing, and analytical thinking skills. Courses of study can include government, history, languages, public speaking, English, mathematics, social studies, and economics. Law schools must be accredited by the state, and before acceptance at one of these schools, an applicant must pass a Law School Admissions test, or LSAT. Upon graduation from law school, the prospective legal professional must qualify for licensure by passing a written exam. If an applicant passes this exam, he is admitted to that state's bar,
As the demand for the skilled criminal appeal attorney has increased, the particular aptitudes needed in this area of law have received focus. Strong analytical skills, keen abilities as a writer and the ability to understand the viewpoint of the appellate court judge are just a few of the needed areas of expertise. An aptitude for making strong and convincing oral argument is, of course, a necessary talent. The ability to research legal principals and understand legal trends are key skills as well as a capacity for concise and effective writing. These aptitudes make a legal representative who specializes in appellate law a breed apart from the typical trail lawyer. The main difference between a criminal justice lawyer, or trial attorney and one who specializes in appellate law is that the trail attorney's job is to argue the facts of the case while the appellate attorney argues the law, thus proving the legal grounds for appeal. The idea of defending those in need is frequently mentioned in the Bible. "For he shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and him that hath no helper." (Psalm 72:12)
It is the job of a criminal appeal attorney to write and file an effective and convincing appellate brief. This brief should present arguments that show ways in which the decision of the lower court was guilty of some error or irregularity, and, therefore, that court's decision should be overturned. A brief will also be filed by the opposing side, or appellee, to argue that the lower court acted properly and that its decision should stand. For both briefs to be effective, they should be written in a clear and straight forward manner, while achieving a level of persuasiveness that will properly serve the client's case. Legal professionals who specialize in appellate law can also serve as expert witnesses in appeals cases, helping to explain in court why a lower court's ruling should be vacated.
The decision to hire new legal representation as the appeals process begins is not always made by the original trial lawyer. The client themselves may request new representation at this stage, and may opt for someone with appellate expertise. Whatever the decision, hiring a criminal justice lawyer with special skills in the area of appeals can bring a fresh perspective to an old case. When a lot of time is spent on one case, a legal professional's objectivity may suffer, making an appellate attorney a very useful member of any legal team.