Criminal lawyers are exactly what they sound like. It’s a lawyer who represents defendants accused of a crime. If you’ve been charged with a crime, you’ll need a criminal lawyer to defend you. This lawyer will speak on your behalf and work to get you the best possible outcome for your situation.
Jeff Weeden specializes in criminal defense practices. At WeedenLaw, we’ve helped countless Coloradans make it through their criminal trials. Hiring an experienced Denver criminal defense attorney like Jeff Weeden gives you the best chance at having your charges reduced, dropped, or even dismissed. In this post, we’ll tell you everything you ever wanted to know about criminal lawyers… and then some!
What’s The Difference Between A Criminal Attorney And A Criminal Defense Attorney?
Whether you hear them go by a criminal attorney or a criminal defense attorney, the job is the same. There isn’t a difference between these two terms, as they are interchangeable. Both refer to an attorney who’s been legally admitted to the bar and practices criminal law.
(See our blog: When To Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney)
What Do Criminal Lawyers Do?
Criminal lawyers have a lot of work cut out for them. Every case is different and varies depending on the circumstances surrounding the case. The job requires much more than showing up to court and arguing on your behalf.
When taking on a new case, a criminal attorney, like Jeff Weeden, will first schedule a consultation with you. During this consultation, you will discuss the specifics of your case and give your attorney all the information you can. From this, he or she will be able to estimate the consequences that may result from your crime and what they can do to help you. From here, you decide if they’re the best fit to represent you in court. If you choose to hire them, they’ll hit the ground running to solidify your defense.
To build up your case, your attorney will likely:
- Interview any eyewitnesses
- Select which witnesses they want to bring to court
- Conduct legal research on similar cases
- Hold meetings to discuss the case details
- Gather evidence in your favor
- Make a motion to have your case dismissed before trial
All this work gets done before you even go to trial. If the prosecution refuses to dismiss the case and feels they have enough evidence against you, your case will likely need to go to trial.
Should you choose to plead guilty, your attorney will work to get you the best possible plea deal. They will also prepare you for what to say to a judge at sentencing.
Once the trial is set, the criminal lawyer will play a part in choosing the jury. They will then stand in your defense against the jury and work toward the most favorable outcome.
Types Of Criminal Lawyers
There are two kinds of attorneys in criminal law. These are prosecuting attorneys and defense lawyers. Prosecuting attorneys work with the city, state, or federal government to prosecute the accused in a court of law. Defense lawyers work on the other end of the law. They defend the accused, either working to prove their innocence or lessen their charge.
Criminal defense lawyers work with crimes of four different types. These are misdemeanors, felonies, inchoate offenses, and strict liability offenses.
- Considered a “minor wrongdoing.”
- Punishable by fines or jail time of less than a year.
- Examples include petty theft, public intoxication, vandalism, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, trespassing, simple assault, and other petty crimes.
- Crimes of more severity.
- Punishable by at least one year of imprisonment.
- Examples include kidnapping, more severe sex offenses, arson, burglary, and murder.
- Also known as a “preliminary crime.”
- The act of preparing or seeking to commit another crime.
- Examples include attempt, solicitation, and conspiracy.
Strict Liability Offenses
- Prosecution doesn’t need to prove intention, knowledge, recklessness, or negligence.
- Disregards any intent or mental state at the time of the crime.
- Examples include possession crimes and statutory rape.
Most criminal defense lawyers work with all categories of crime. They can help you understand what area your allegations fall into and then work to get you out of it.
What’s Considered “Confidential” Between You And Your Criminal Lawyer?
Anything you discuss in private with your lawyer is confidential information. Anything you speak with your attorney about relating to your case is of utmost privacy. This is one of the most fundamental rights available to defendants within the legal system. Attorney-client privilege is like doctor-patient confidentiality. It allows clients to be as honest as possible to receive the best care and counsel possible.
There are some circumstances where an attorney may break confidentiality. These are only if the information you shared could:
- Prevent you from committing another crime
- Prevent another person’s death
- Help gain legal advice from another attorney
- Result in the need to defend themselves against wrongful misconduct allegations
It is rare that your lawyer would need to ever share your private information. But, it can happen if the circumstances are as extenuating as these.
How Much Do Criminal Lawyers Cost?
There is no way to set a specific, one-time amount for all criminal lawyers. There are a variety of factors that it depends on. Every attorney, state, and case is different and unique to its circumstances. Because of this, costs for criminal defense could range anywhere from a thousand dollars to tens or even hundreds of thousands.
You often hear the phrase “you get what you pay for.” This applies to attorneys, as well. An experienced attorney like Jeff Weeden might cost a bit more when compared to a state-appointed attorney, but it pays off in the end. When you’re faced with a criminal charge, you’re facing serious consequences. It may take months of hard work to get you the best outcome, and that will come at a price. But, so does freedom, and that is what your criminal lawyer is working towards.
How Long Do Criminal Lawyers Spend On A Case?
Just like every case will vary in cost, they will also vary in length. Cases as simple as a misdemeanor that will likely resolve before going to trial won’t take very long. The more severe the crime, the more time it will take to resolve. For example, an attorney may spend more time on a case where someone was harmed as opposed to a victimless crime like theft. Even when victims are involved, they might spend more time on something like a first-degree murder case than a second-degree murder charge. (See our blog: What is the Difference Between First and Second-Degree Murder?) This has to do with the amount of time and resources it takes to build a solid case in your favor.
Criminal lawyers may handle multiple cases within a single day. But other cases may take up all their time for months or years on end. To get a clearer picture of how many hours your lawyer will be working for you, the best way is to consult with one. By contacting Jeff Weeden and giving him the details of your case, he will be able to provide you with the best estimate.
How Do I Find A Criminal Defense Attorney in Denver?
There are many ways to go about finding a criminal defense attorney in Colorado. Especially in today’s day and age, hundreds of attorneys are a click away.
To find the best one for your case, you should search for a lawyer in your area who handles the types of crimes you’re charged with. Look at their previous case results. It is also important to pay attention to their previous clients’ reviews and testimonies. Don’t just look for the cheapest lawyer you can find, because often that will cost you in the end. There is a reason skilled attorneys are more expensive. It’s because they’re good at what they do.
Once you find a lawyer you’re comfortable working with, you’ll need to make sure they agree to represent you. Then, you let them handle the rest.
What If I Can’t Afford A Criminal Lawyer?
You’ve heard it said in movies or on TV when someone is getting their Miranda Rights read. “If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed for you.” In the criminal justice system, you’re automatically granted the right to an attorney.
Court-appointed attorneys work for you with no charge on your part. But they also generally have several other cases they’re working on. That is why, if you’re able to afford one, you should hire a private criminal defense attorney. They will be able to dedicate more time and focus to you alone.
Private attorneys realize that you may not be able to pay the full sum upfront. At WeedenLaw, we’ll allow you to make payments on your balance.
Contact WeedenLaw Today
If you’re charged with a crime, you need a criminal defense attorney on your side. If you’re in the Denver, CO area, that attorney is Jeff Weeden. At WeedenLaw, we will stop at nothing to give you the best and most aggressive defense possible. Schedule your free initial consultation right now by filling out our online contact form or calling 720-307-4330.