For the average person, being accused of a crime is a frightening experience. Being placed in handcuffs, driving to the station, and being thrown in a jail cell are enough to make anyone scared – and that’s before you start thinking about what could happen if you are actually convicted of the offense. To prevent that from happening, the first thing you should do after being arrested and charged with a criminal offense is to retain the services of an attorney. Not just any attorney though. You need an attorney whose practices only criminal law. You may be wondering why you need to hire a lawyer who only handles criminal defense law. There are several important and relevant reasons why it is in your best interest to only hire an attorney whose practice is limited to criminal law.
<h2>The American Judicial System – The Basics</h2>
The American judicial system operates under a federalist system. Where the courts are concerned, this results in both a federal court system and individual state court systems. Consequently, you could be accused of a criminal offense at the state level, the federal level, or both. Both the federal system and the individual state systems also operate both civil and criminal courts. There is a separate set of court rules and procedures for civil and criminal courts as well as entirely different result type of result in each type of court. Civil cases are all based on some type of dispute between the parties. The Plaintiff in a civil case seeks damages and/or a resolution of the dispute in his/her favor. A criminal prosecution, on the other hand, involves the state or federal government accusing the defendant of violating a statute. The end result of a criminal prosecution is either adjudication of guilt or an acquittal.
Attorney Practice Areas
Contrary to what many people believe, lawyers do not choose a “specialty” while in law school. Instead, they receive a general education in all basic areas of the law. It is only after law school that an attorney begins to hone his/her area of specialty. Although some attorneys have a “general practice,” the reality is that criminal and civil law are very different and it is difficult to become an expert on both. In fact, most attorneys choose a sub-specialty within either civil or criminal law to further hone their craft. The old adage “Jack of all trades, master of none” applies here. An attorney who handles all different types of cases may be competent enough to handle all of them but will unlikely become an expert in any of them. Conversely, an attorney who chooses to focus on a much narrower area of practice is likely to know that area of the law extremely well in a short period of time.
The Benefit of Hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney
When you are charged with a criminal offense you freedom and your future are at stake. Even if you are not sentenced to a period of incarceration, a conviction for a criminal offense can have a wide range of negative consequences including, but not limit to:
· Lost employment opportunities
· Loss of driving privileges
· Loss of the right to vote
· Disciplinary action if you hold a professional license
· Disqualification for assistance programs
· Interference with child visitation/custody
With all of that at stake do you really want to entrust your defense to someone who only practices criminal law some of the time? An attorney who focuses on criminal defense law knows the system inside and out, knows the criminal code like the back of his/her hand, and has an established relationship with all the prosecutors, court staff, and others involved in the criminal justice system. Each one of those could make a difference in the outcome of your case. When your freedom and your future are at stake you need to give yourself every conceivable advantage. Hiring an attorney who only handles criminal defense law may be the most important of those advantages.
If you have been charged with a criminal offense in Nebraska contact Petersen Criminal Defense Law 24 hours a day at 402-509-8070 to discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney.
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