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Federal Crimes

Factors to Consider before Hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney

Criminal Defense Attorney(Image Credit: www.hirharang.com)

If there’s anything more frustrating than facing a criminal charge, it is hiring the wrong criminal defense attorney. Hiring the right lawyer plays a major role in helping you deal with your criminal case. It is, perhaps, one of the most important decisions you will ever make.

You need to be level-headed and make a wise decision when it comes to choosing the right attorney. This can be a challenging task as there are a lot of criminal defense lawyers available. Not hiring an expert may weaken your case.

It’s important to hire someone who holds an authoritative position in the legal arena, can fight for you and protect your reputation and rights.

Here are five essential factors to bear in mind when hiring a criminal defense attorney.

1. Reputation Plays a Crucial Role

Does your criminal defense attorney hold a respectable position in the legal arena?

If the answer is in the negative, you need to think twice before hiring that particular lawyer.

Opting for someone just because they charge less or impress you with their advertising campaign would be a ridiculous criterion to make a decision. You can know whether the prospective lawyer is reputable or not only through their track record.

You need to find out if the attorney is respected by the judges, the percent of referrals he receives from his/her clients or other attorneys, and most importantly if he/she is trustworthy.

There are various means to know the reputation of prospective lawyers: referrals, testimonials from prior clients, and most importantly online rating.

Online searching is also a great way to find law firms in your area. If you are living in Chicago then you could simply search online for criminal defense lawyer Chicago. This will provide you with a list of all the prospective law firms. Once you have the list, you can start the hiring process by individually contacting them.

2. Experience In the Criminal Law Field

You cannot opt for someone who lacks the experience or the skill to deal with cases in the field of criminal defense. Only a professional will try and work hard to bring a positive outcome for your case.

Moreover, the prospective defense lawyer needs to have relevant experience in defending the type of crime that you have committed. Depending upon the type of criminal charges that you are facing, you need to choose someone accordingly. For instance, if you are being charged with a federal crime, then you must opt for someone who specializes in the federal law niche.

The following are a few questions you must ask the attorney in order to get a clear picture:

  • How many years of experience does he/she have in dealing with cases similar as yours?
  • How many members does his/her criminal defense team comprise?
  • How many jury trials has he/she engaged in?

3. Transparency Is a Must

One of the most important factors in legal matters is maintaining transparency related to the criminal case.

How would you feel if your lawyer hides information about the payment policies or doesn’t update you on how your case is proceeding?

You need to see to it that your lawyer is being absolutely clear in his communication with you right from the beginning. You will get an idea of this during the initial consultation itself. Right from the outline of how the case will proceed, the time duration,  the number of court appearances you will have to make, to the expense you will have to bear, he needs to estimate all these factors for you beforehand.

This applies to you as well. Bring all paperwork related to your charges and bail amount. You must provide even the minutest details to your lawyer.

4. Understand the Difference and Choose the One Who Meets Your Needs

First and foremost, you will need to determine the kind of lawyer that you need. This depends on the criminal charge levied against you- whether it is made by the state law or federal law.

If you have broken a federal law, you must hire an attorney who is more experienced and who can dedicate more time to your case. The primary reason for this is that federal law is more complex. The Federal law prosecutor (United States Attorney’s office) has more time and resources as compared to the State law prosecutor. It is, therefore, likely that the prosecution will be much stronger in the federal case and hence require that the federal defense attorney be more experienced in handling such cases.

Once you have selected the respective lawyer, he/she can help you out in various ways such as:

  • Negotiating a deal
  • Figuring out a good sentencing program depending on your situation
  • Giving you a proper understanding of the laws and your rights
  • Lessening the severity of the punishment
  • Developing a sound defense strategy

5. What You Must Essentially Take Care Of

Rule of Thumb: If a lawyer guarantees you a result, he/she may be lying and you should not trust him/her.

The outcome of any criminal case depends upon various factors such as:

  • Skill of your attorney
  • Strengths and weaknesses of the evidence and the testimony
  • Discretion of the prosecuting defense attorney.
  • Tendency of the judge assigned to your case
  • Willingness of police officers and victims to cooperate in reaching a fair resolution of your case

If a lawyer promises you no jail time or the dismissal of your case without understanding the above points, you need to be cautious in hiring him.

Bottom line: Don’t get lured by false promises. Certain lawyers apply all possible tactics to simply earn money. You need to be smart and know how to read between the lines.

Secondly, if a lawyer claims to know the judge or be friends with the prosecutor, you need to be very careful about hiring him. You cannot be sure of his allegiance and ascertaining his loyalty towards you will be difficult.

Conclusion

Choosing the right criminal defense attorney requires that you bear all the above factors in mind. Only then can you select a lawyer who can be not only your authoritative and knowledgeable voice in the legal field, but also save you from a punishment that you may not deserve. Don’t lose your calm, trust your instincts and make an informed decision. Find someone who knows the ropes of criminal cases and is confident enough to fight for you and protect you.

Often Times Traffic Stops Can Lead to Drug Busts

As police officers in Albuquerque, New Mexico were out looking for potential drunk drivers on New Years Eve, they ended up making two felony arrests.  One man was found with black tar heroin, crack cocaine and meth according to KRQE News 13 – Albuquerque @ http://www.krqe.com/.

Many drug arrests occur as a result of individuals who are caught transporting illegal drugs and substances. This is a very serious crime and can have harsh penalties. You need to consult a drug crime lawyer immediately.

Our law firm represents people facing drug charges of all kinds involving cannabis, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine or unauthorized prescription drugs. We handle cases charged in both the state system and the U.S. District court. Contact an attorney at the Law Office of Robert Kerr, LLC, in Chicago for a free consultation.

By Robert Kerr

 

 

How Can a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney Help You?

Criminal Defense Law – Types of Criminal Defenses

If you have unfortunately been accused in a criminal crime, you need to come up with a solid defense that projects your innocence. It takes a lawyer with a lot of experience and thorough knowledge of the law to make a defense that will convince the judge and the jury of your innocence. A weak defense can send an innocent person to prison while a strong defense can get a defendant acquitted.

Broadly speaking, there are two types of defenses. First, you plead not-guilty of the crime. Second, you accept your charge, but explain a valid reason that justifies your action.

Defenses for pleading not-guilty:

Alibi: The one thing that can get you acquitted is alibi. Alibi refers to a witness or proof that proves beyond doubt that you were not present at the crime scene when the crime took place.

Conflicting evidence: According to the criminal defense law of Chicago, an accused must be proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in order to be convicted in the case. The catchwords here are “beyond a reasonable doubt’. If your lawyer comes up with an argument that creates doubt about your involvement in the crime, you might be acquitted because of “lack of convincing evidence”.

The right to remain silent: The criminal defense law of Chicago gives criminals the benefit of doubt. The law states that any accused is innocent until proven guilty beyond doubt. So, your lawyer might simply ask you to remain silent and do nothing. If the prosecutor cannot prove that you are guilty, you are presumed innocent and acquitted.

Defenses for pleading guilty:

Self defense: According to law, every person has the right to protect himself/herself when faced with a life threatening situation. So, if your lawyer can prove that you committed crime in self defense, you are let off with nothing more than a rap on the knuckles.

Under influence: Criminals who perform crimes with full awareness and consciousness are awarded maximum punishment. If you did a crime under the influence of narcotics or alcohol, you might receive a lighter sentence.

Insanity: Insanity is the condition in which you are not in your senses and cannot control your mind or behavior. In such cases, since you did not commit the crime with full consciousness and with criminal intent, the sentence might be reduced. However, this is a very complex and tricky defense because a psychiatrist examines the accused and decides the authenticity of the claim.

Entrapment: Entrapment is the situation in which you commit the crime under the influence of some other person. It could involve force, blackmail or some other illegal action.

The lawyers at the Law Office Of Robert Kerr LLC will provide the strongest criminal defense possible.

Call us TODAY for a FREE consultation.

By Robert Kerr

 

ILLINOIS DOCTOR FACES FEDERAL CHARGES AFTER STATE CHARGES DROPPED

Federal crimes are very serious. They are investigated, prosecuted and sentenced in the federal court system. Within that system, those accused face serious punishments. While people have many of the same protections in federal court as they do in state court, the federal court has vast resources in which it can investigate and prosecute federal crimes.

Recently an Illinois doctor has been accused of federal crimes. In August 2013, state officials raided his office and arrested the doctor. However, recently the decision has been made for federal authorities to prosecute this case. Therefore, the state charges have been dropped and federal charges have been announced.

According to federal authorities, the 62-year-old doctor was illegally giving patients prescription painkillers. Specifically, the doctor is accused of unnecessarily giving three patients alprazolam and oxycodone at least 17 times. If the doctor is found guilty, he could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison for each count and up to a $1 million fine on each count.

The doctor has pleaded not-guilty to the charges and has been released on $10,000 cash bond. He is due in court at the end of December.

It is not uncommon for the federal government to decide to prosecute a case after the state has already brought charges. This is especially common in drug cases. However, in these case, people need to make sure to protect their rights from being violated. Just because the case is being transferred from one court to another, does not mean that people lose their rights. With the right help, people can successfully navigate the federal court to get the best possible outcome.

By Robert Kerr

Source: Belleville News-Democrat, “Illinois doctor’s drug case moved to federal court,” Nov. 9, 2013