Getting a criminal defense attorney

by | Sep 11, 2014 | Lawyers and Law Firms


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A criminal attorney in Bel Air, MD is the defendants guide and protector. Criminal defense attorneys fall into two camps, those that are court appointed and paid for by the government and private attorneys that are compensated by the client. Those defendants that have insufficient funds to pay for their own private attorney are those that avail of the court appointed attorney. These government attorneys are either public defenders or local attorneys who have been selected from a panel. Statistically about 80 percent of all criminal defendants turn to a court appointed lawyer while two percents elect to represent themselves, the remaining 18 percent hire their own private attorneys.

A criminal attorney in Bel Air, MD researches the facts and investigate the case against their client; in many cases the attorney will attempt to negotiate a deal with the prosecutor, this is plea-bargaining which hopefully end up with reduced charges and reduced sentences. Plea bargaining is important because the jails are overcrowded, court calendars are overloaded and there is always the possibility of public pressure.

The criminal attorney helps the defendant formulate a plea, examine evidence and examine witnesses to the alleged crime. It is important that the prosecutor’s case be analyzed and the attorney will also assess the possible sentence. In many cases the attorney must give the defendant a reality check, alerting him or her to the possible outcome of the trial and to help the defendant deal with the pressures and frustrations that come from being involved with the criminal justice system.

At what point is an attorney necessary?

There are certain standards, both constitutional and personal that enters into deciding if an attorney is needed or not, a very important factor is the financial state of the accused. Every defendant has the right to have an attorney at the various stages of criminal proceedings starting with the lineup, bail-hearing and arraignment but the state will only provide an attorney at this stage if the accused is indigent. If this not the case the accused that can pay for a private attorney must decide whether it’s worthwhile paying at this stage of the proceedings.

If it appears that the accused will be given a prison sentence if found guilty the government will always provide an attorney to the indigent defendant, however if there is no possibility of a jail sentence then the government is not obliged to do this. It must be understood that having government sponsored free representation does not give the defendant the right to choose counsel, if it deemed better to have a private criminal attorney in Bel Air, MD then the defendant must pay the fees.

Federal and state criminal codes provide the accused rights and to protect those rights the accused must have a criminal attorney in Bel Air, MD. You are invited to contact the Law Offices of Maria K. Caruso.