August 3, 2023
What Is The Difference Between Criminal Lawyer And Criminal Defense Lawyer?
If you’ve been reading up on legal defense, you might have noticed that the terms criminal lawyer and criminal defense lawyer are used interchangeably a lot of the time. To say that they are exactly the same isn’t quite true, though.
While “criminal lawyer” is a general term for an attorney that works on a criminal case, a criminal defense lawyer is a specific type of criminal lawyer—a lawyer who represents accused persons or organizations in a court of law.
What is a Criminal Lawyer?
An attorney that works on any criminal case is considered a criminal lawyer, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that all criminal lawyers are criminal defense lawyers—or that all defense lawyers are criminal defense lawyers.
A criminal attorney is well-trained in criminal law and procedures. This includes prosecutors, sometimes called district attorneys, who bring formal charges against a defendant. While they may have experience in criminal law, their experience is not in defending their clients but in prosecuting criminal charges against a defendant.
What is a Criminal Defense Lawyer?
A criminal defense lawyer exclusively represents the defendant of a criminal case, whether that is an individual or an organization.
Criminal defense lawyers can conduct investigations, including speaking to witnesses and collecting evidence. They can also negotiate plea agreements, which could potentially include lesser charges or reduced jail time. In some cases, a criminal defense lawyer may be able to get the charges dropped completely. Criminal defense lawyers may also participate in bail hearings and appeal convictions.
What Should I Know When Considering a Criminal Defense Lawyer?
As you know, not all criminal lawyers are criminal defense lawyers—but even criminal defense lawyers can have different areas of practice. Before making a decision on a criminal defense lawyer, review these three key pieces of information.
1. Their Expertise
If you or someone you know is facing DUI charges, it is crucial to find a criminal defense lawyer that has experience dealing with these types of cases in your jurisdiction.
For example, DUI cases usually deal with standardized testing or “rapid collection of evidence,” due to the time-sensitive nature of a driver’s blood alcohol level. Criminal defense lawyers may know more about laws regarding these and other more nuanced aspects of this type of charge. In addition to DUIs, other areas of practice include:
- Drug charges
- Domestic violence
- Criminal record expungement
- Robbery and burglary
Some lawyers have a variety of experience, meaning that they specialize in not just one of these areas, but several types of criminal defense cases.
2. Their Experience
Once you have found a criminal lawyer that has the expertise you need, you want to check into their experience. Three major questions you need answers to are:
- How many years have they been practicing?
- How many cases of the same nature as yours have they handled?
- What were the outcomes of those cases?
Lawyers who have handled cases like yours are familiar with the nuances of those types of charges, and they can draw on their past cases to help develop winning strategies for their clients.
Also, consider their location. Lawyers who are local to the area will have more knowledge about your jurisdiction’s criminal laws, as well as a familiarity with the court process where you are located. They may also have experience dealing with the particular prosecutor assigned to your case. This can help in negotiations, because they will know what tactics have worked or not worked in past dealings with the prosecution. Additionally, in cases where negotiations are possible, it is helpful to hire a criminal defense attorney with a good working relationship with the prosecutor on your case and can lend credibility to your cause.
3. Their Standing
A good criminal defense lawyer is professional, analytical, and compassionate.
Criminal defense lawyers often have to deal with people who are dealing with very stressful or difficult situations, and their job is to support their clients. They should prioritize their client’s wishes while guiding them through the legal system and adhering to the rules of professional conduct.
They do this by putting their best foot forward in the courtroom, presenting arguments respectfully and thoroughly. Their research is detailed and accurate, and they are able to effectively negotiate or argue on behalf of their client.
An easy way to find out if a criminal defense lawyer is worth their salt is to look at their reviews and testimonials from past clients. This is a simple way to get an idea of what it might be like to work with that lawyer. Some other questions you might want to consider are:
- Are their communications confusing or inconsistent?
- Did they do a thorough job getting the details of the case?
- Do they make you feel comfortable and like you can trust them?
A good client-attorney relationship is key to developing the best case. While a criminal defense lawyer’s job is to know the law, it is also their job to counsel and help their clients when they need it.
How Do I Find a Criminal Defense Lawyer That is Right for Me?
The difference between a criminal lawyer and a criminal defense lawyer is that one is dedicated to looking out for you.
Being in a situation where you need to find a criminal defense lawyer can be stressful, and finding the right one could be the biggest decision about your case you might make, but the choice doesn’t have to be difficult.
If you’re ready to take the first step in finding a criminal defense lawyer in Vancouver Washington, know that VanWa Legal PLLC is here for you. We know that each case is unique, but whether you are facing a felony or a misdemeanor, our team has helped thousands of clients with their criminal cases. We have also handled almost 100 jury trials.
When it comes to your future, there is no room for mistakes or compromise. By selecting an experienced, dedicated, and well-respected criminal defense lawyer, you can go forward with confidence.
When you partner with a VanWa Legal PLLC criminal defense lawyer for your case, you can rest easy knowing that your rights and interests are being protected and that you have a diligent and dedicated advocate in the justice system who is working to bring your case to a favorable outcome.
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