Before going into the question of how to identify the best criminal attorney or criminal lawyer, we need to understand what criminal acts are. Criminal acts can range from petty offenses like theft, DWI and assault to grave felonies like fraud, white collar crime, drug offenses, sex offenses, and felony DWI. The punishment for crimes also varies from imposition of fines to short-term simple imprisonment to extended rigorous imprisonment - and in some countries like the U.S. even capital punishment.
In criminal law, the case is initiated by the state or federal government through a prosecutor rather than by the victim, as is the practice under civil law. The prosecutor in a criminal law has the onus to prove to the judge or jury "beyond a reasonable doubt" that the accused is guilty of the crime he is charged with.
Criminal Law Attorneys are persons with legal qualifications who represent clients who are being prosecuted by the state or federal government for an act of crime. It is the general practice in law to assume any accused as innocent unless proved guilty.
It is in the interest of the accused that he/she engages a criminal law attorney as soon as possible. Any attempts to delay the process of hiring a defense attorney and a wait-and-see approach can quite often prove detrimental to the accused. More importantly, never seek guidance about your rights and legal status from police officers and prosecutors who will naturally not act in a suspect's best interest.
If you have been charged with a crime, it is important that you find the right kind of defense attorney to represent you - without wasting time. Please remember that the criminal law attorney has to be different from the type of attorneys who handle matters like divorce, writing a pre-nuptial agreement, or a bill.
Finding an experienced and competent criminal lawyer to represent you is crucial if you want the charges dropped and your innocence established in a law court. Finding a good criminal lawyer is daunting and this task becomes ever more stressful when one is already under pressure as an accused in a criminal case.
The criminal lawyer you hire has to be experienced, fully conversant with the criminal law, familiar with similar case-studies, possesses argumentative skills and knows the ropes in the courthouse.
Even before hiring a criminal lawyer, you can spend some time with the lawyer, to ascertain how competent and compatible he will be. One must also be totally candid with the criminal lawyer one hires. Ask if the criminal lawyer has handled similar cases in the past and how many times he was able to obtain acquittal for clients with these kinds of charges.
The right lawyer for you will depend on your situation, the crime you have been charged with, your affordability, your personal history and prior criminal record. A competent attorney devotes time pondering over your case and also knows how to take care of witnesses who might try to change their versions during the course of the proceedings of the case. Finding the right criminal attorney could make the critical difference between you being acquitted or languishing in jail.
In today's age and time, it is wise to engage criminal lawyers who are computer-literate and can do videoconferencing, electronic filing, and voice-recognition technology to solve cases, share information and handle things using more sophisticated methods.