Although it is imperative to hire a lawyer if you have criminal charges, many people cannot afford to hire a lawyer. Fortunately, there is a system that allows defendants to get legal aid if they are charged with criminal charges.
A public defender is a lawyer that represents defendants in criminal trials, in cases where they cannot afford to hire a lawyer on their own. Public defenders are paid, otherwise employed, by the government to represent defendants in that particular situation. In this article, we are going to review some basic information about working with a public defender.
Behind The Public Defender
Public defenders are paid by the government to assist defendants who are unable to pay for their legal aid.
They more or less represent the same entity as the courts—the judge, the court personnel and even the police and prosecutor. However, public defenders are employed to represent the defendant only and do not harbor any bias that may compromise their client’s (the defendant) trust when representing them.
In other words, public defenders only fight for the rights of their clients.
The ‘relationship’ that a public defender shares with the system, however, can allow them forge better relationships with other parties—and, that includes the prosecutor and the courts themselves. This, essentially, allows them to successfully resolve their defendant’s case without prolonging the case due to other issues.
Public Defenders and Representation
In many cases, one public defender is assigned to a single defendant. This is known as vertical representation.
Some public defender offices specialize in certain areas of law. Due to this, several public defenders may be assigned to a single defendant at different stages of their case. This is known as horizontal representation.
Horizontal representation has its advantages and disadvantages. One advantage is that the defendant may be assigned with a more experienced professional for certain stages of their case. A disadvantage and common concern is that their case might not be properly represented, due to having ‘many eyes’ on the case at once.
Selecting A Public Defender
Public defenders are generally assigned to defendants who need legal aid. It usually occurs when a judge appoints the public defender (or public defender’s office) to represent the defendant.
In larger cities, this typically happens when the defendant gets offered service from the public defender who is assigned to whichever stage of their case, particularly in instances of horizontal representation.
Do I need a lawyer if I’m charged with a crime?
Yes—you do need a lawyer if you are charged with a crime. That is, however, the short answer to our proposed question. Therefore, in this article, we are going to review the long answer to our question.
Finding a Lawyer: You Need Representation in Criminal Law
As a defendant, you need a lawyer to defend yourself if you have been charged with a crime.
In fact, most people are represented by a lawyer if they are charged with any type of crime. It is considered incredibly difficult to properly defend yourself in a court of law. It is so difficult that very few people bother to represent themselves in their case.
Although it sounds simple to represent yourself in a court of law, it is too difficult to successfully pull it off. Even if you do read a book about criminal law, it will not prepare you for the nuances of the world of criminal law.
In other words, you cannot learn about the criminal justice system and its nuances by reading about it in a book.
One of the variables that makes criminal law so nuanced is the prosecution—otherwise the prosecutor involved with your case. The prosecutor is the lawyer who brings forth criminal charges against a suspect. Or you, in this particular case.
The volatility of the prosecution can make a relatively simple case into a complicated one. The decisions that they, the prosecution, can made often drastically alters a case, depending on the charges they served against a prospect.
Not only that, other challenges can alter the course of your case, those such as community values, pressures and politics.
All of these elements make it incredibly difficult for an individual party to represent themselves in a case—even if they are well versed in law. In order to properly and successfully navigate ‘the system,’ it is imperative to hire a criminal law lawyer to assist you.
What Criminal Law Lawyers Do For You
As mentioned, criminal law lawyers assist defendants if they find themselves at the end of being charged with a crime.
Many lawyers well versed in criminal law do more than just represent their clients in a courtroom. Plea deals, which involve negotiating with prosecutors for reduced and/or dropped charges, or lesser sentences, are also handled by criminal law lawyers.
They also help defendants properly cope with the scope of managing their case; not only do they handle all of legalities, they also provide their clients with a much needed reality check.
BEST CRIMINAL LAWYERS BY CITY:
Criminal records. The allegory imagery that comes to mind as soon as you entertain the prospect of having one conjures images of black marks, skeletons and various other scary things befitting the Halloween season.
Though, criminal records are not supposed to be inherently scary. They are there to inform institutions about an individual’s foray into crime, the lasting consequences of breaking the law when they were supposed to follow the rules.
Many employers and landlords require criminal record background checks in order to see if their prospects are suitable candidates of their time, money and investment in either. If they find a prospect does have a criminal record, they have the right to refuse them their service for those aforementioned reasons.
However, those with criminal records may have an opportunity to clear their name. In some instances, courts will allow an individual to expunge or completely clear their criminal record.
Expunging the Criminal Record
Expungement is a process in which a conviction or arrest record (criminal records) are sealed. Most, if not all, states have laws that set forth a process for people to expunge arrests and convictions from their criminal record. The details of such laws do vary on a state by state basis, however most should know that they are very much there.
Before seeking a criminal record expungement, suitable prospects must meet certain criteria. It is advisable to check with your country’s criminal court or law enforcement agency for more information regarding how your state handles criminal record expungement.
Those seeking a criminal record expungement should ask for specific information regarding the process, such as:
- Whether a specific offense is eligible for expungment.
- When they are eligible for expungement themselves.
- What the expungement process involves.
- What the consequences of expungement may entail.
Although criminal record expungement offer prospects a fresh start of sorts, it is important for people to investigate their jurisdiction’s expungement procedures before undergoing the process.
Certificate of Actual Innocence
In some cases, a person can get their criminal record cleared—an instance known in some jurisdictions as a certificate of actual innocence.
This type of certificate proves that a person’s criminal record should not have existed in the first place. People who are eligible for this certificate typically have already been proven that they are completely innocent or cleared of a crime (as in, they were found not guilty or had all charges dropped in lieu of being accused of a crime). The certificate represents ‘evidence’ that they were factually cleared of all offenses.
Get More Information:
United States: https://epic.org/privacy/expungement/
Fraud. Fraud is a term that describes a false representation or allegation, either through conduct or words, that are considered false or dishonest. It also describes an instance where a party conceals something that should be disclosed to another party, with the intention to deceive others who may need to know about such information.
So, we should know that it is natural to assume that various types of fraud crimes exist. Therefore, in Part 2 of our look at fraud crimes, we are going to review several different types of fraud crimes.
Fraud Crimes: What You Should Know ~ Types of Fraud Crimes
As mentioned in our last part, fraud crimes deceive. No one wants to experience a fraud crime. Given the nature of certain markets, such as the online market, far too many people find themselves at the other end of a fraud crime.
Fortunately, fraud crimes are punishable by law. They are punished as a felony or misdemeanor, typically depending on the value of the stolen property and/or the nature of the crime itself.
Here is a look at the different types of fraud crimes:
Identity theft is popular in an age where people commonly handle sensitive information online. Scammers who commit identity theft fraud steal personal information, such as Social Security numbers, names, addresses and phone numbers.
Notably, they are known for taking financial information – bank account and credit card numbers – from unsuspecting victims.
‘Pigeon Drop’ Schemes
This scheme involves a scammer tricking a victim (known as a pigeon) into giving them their money in order to win a larger sum of money.
It starts with the scammer telling the pigeon – the victim – that they have won a large amount of money, usually through a contest. In order to ‘receive’ that money, the scammer then tells the pigeon that they need them to ‘pay an entry fee’ in order to prove to the game operators that they (the scammer) would pay up if they had lost. Finally procuring the money would allow the scammer to ‘split’ the winnings with the pigeon.
Once the pigeon loans them the money, however, the scammer takes the money and disappears.
Ponzi schemes exploit people who want to make money through investments. It involves scammers promising ‘safe and large returns’ to those who commit to their investment scheme.
This scheme relies heavily on recruiting people to participate in the scheme—otherwise known as an investment. The person at the helm of the scheme (the scammer) often pockets what they earn (from investors) and uses a small portion of that money to keep early adopters satisfied. Once new investors part with their invested money, they rarely see it again.
This illegal scheme involves using mail to ‘hook’ unsuspecting victims into participating into fairly ‘innocuous’ schemes that are actually fraudulent in nature.
Due to the nature of mail fraud schemes, mail correspondence in the United States is fairly regulated (in accordance with the Constitution) to prevent mail schemes from flourishing throughout the country.
The nature of fraud, undoubtedly, makes it a crime in many jurisdictions, including the United States legal system. Due to the inherently dishonest nature of this crime, various legal systems across the country prosecute people for engaging in different types of fraud.
The most common types of fraud occur in financial transactions. Buying and/or selling property or exchanging funds for intangible (nonphysical) assets or commodities are common financial transactions where fraud may occur.
It is natural to assume that various types of fraud crimes exist. Therefore, in Part 1 of our look at fraud crimes, we are going to review some examples of fraud crimes.
Fraud Crimes: What You Should Know ~ Scenarios
Fraud crimes deceive. They deceive unsuspecting victims into giving up money or property (tangible and intangible) to the deceptive party.
Although fraud crimes are commonly associated with deceiving victims in that manner, a fraud crime also occurs when an offender fails to disclose important information or if they make assertions without confirming whether they are accurate or not.
Here are some common examples of fraud crimes:
A party runs an advertisement targeted at homeowners who may have back mortgage payments. These consumers may be unable to pay back their mortgages on time. The fraudulent party, via the advertisement, promises these homeowners that they ‘can prevent foreclosures.’ This party, to those that answer the advertisement, tells their customers to sign documents that temporarily transfer their title to said party. They would, once the transfer is complete, negotiate for ‘lower mortgage payments’ on their behalf.
The issue with this example is that the fraudulent party is dishonest about the nature of the title transfer. In this case, the title transfer would be permanent, and not temporary, which would put the customers at danger of losing their home and financial stability.
A party sells a used car to their customer enough—the transaction is innocent enough. However, there is a catch.
This party knows, but does not inform their customer, that the car lacks the proper equipment as required by their state to allow its use as a ‘drivable’ vehicle. Therefore, the car cannot be driven in their state—but, the customer does not know that.
The issue with that situation is that, as mentioned, the customer does not know they cannot drive their car in their state. Once they drive the car, they may be subject to prosecution by police if they are pulled over for driving an illegal car.
In both scenarios, the fraudulent party put their customers at stake of committing a crime that they did not know they could commit. Since they were dishonest in conveying specific information to them, those parties committed a fraud crime and would need to be prosecuted for doing so.
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