Two types of cases comprise the U.S. legal system: civil and criminal. Civil cases are disputes between people regarding the legal duties and responsibilities they owe each other. Criminal cases, meanwhile, are charges prosecutors pursue for violations of criminal statutes.
Criminal law deals with behavior that can be viewed as an offense against the public, society, or the state — even if the immediate victim is an individual. Examples are murder, assault, theft, and driving under the influence.
In the United States, all levels of government — federal, state, and local, can define crimes. The unit of government that defines the law is also responsible for enforcing it. For example, if you get charged with a federal crime, you will need to go to federal court to address it. If a local unit of government charges someone with a crime, they must file the paperwork in the appropriate court and bring an attorney to pursue prosecution of the offense.
Northern Arizona Criminal Attorney at Law
Criminal cases are split into three categories based on the nature of the crime committed. These categories include:
As soon as a person has been arrested for a crime, they need an attorney in order to be represented fairly. There are additional steps that the accused must take as well:
- First, it is imperative that they make no statements to the police without an attorney present. You cannot talk yourself out of a conviction, but you can easily talk yourself into one.
- Second, it is more important to have an attorney than to have a lower bail bond immediately after one is arrested. The lower bail bond may allow for temporary freedom, yet an attorney may allow for permanent freedom.
- An accused person has many rights; however, there are many times when they may not be aware of what those rights are or what they mean, but an attorney does. Exercising those rights at the appropriate time and in the appropriate manner can easily make the difference between being found guilty or innocent.
In many criminal cases, an attorney is appointed if the accused is unable to hire an attorney of his or her choice. Because of this, it is generally better to hire an attorney of your choice to represent you. This keeps the system fair and just. During this time, the attorney will correspond with the accused, collecting paperwork and analyzing the evidence in order to convey their side of the case. The outcome of each case isn’t guaranteed, but having a lawyer to represent you during a criminal case is an important step in exercising your rights to having a fair trial.
What Does a Criminal Lawyer Do?
As a criminal lawyer, Vaughan S. Winborne helps his clients understand criminal laws and whether their actions or proposed actions constitute a crime. He can also help his clients understand their rights and how evidence is presented.
Criminal attorneys must know how the Constitution and criminal law intersect. They must be aware of constitutional implications of law as they go about their work and advocate for their clients as necessary to defend their constitutional rights.
Frequently Asked Questions About Criminal Law
If you need a criminal lawyer to represent you in a case, you may be unsure of what to expect and what qualities to look for. Review the questions and answers below to learn more and become a more informed client.
Can I represent myself in a criminal trial?
Yes. You have the right to represent yourself in a criminal case. However, courts must determine whether a person fully understands the advantages and disadvantages of self-representation, and is acting with that understanding, before permitting a defendant to waive the right to legal counsel. Retaining an experienced criminal lawyer can help improve the outcomes of your case.
What are the consequences of a criminal conviction?
The ramifications of a criminal conviction can impact your life in a variety of ways, depending on the severity of crime committed. Individuals convicted of violent crimes, such as murder or rape, may serve years in prison or the death penalty. People convicted of lesser crimes, such as theft or drug-related offenses, may also spend some amount of time in prison, plus owe thousands of dollars in fines. Having a criminal record can also make it more difficult for you to get a job, and you may lose your right to vote or your ability to purchase a firearm.
What should I expect from a qualified criminal lawyer?
You should expect your criminal defense attorney to have experience defending the type of charges you are facing. Your criminal lawyer should be someone who can listen without judgment, and who can communicate clearly with you about your options and help you understand all the courses of action that are legally available to you. You should also hire someone who provides you with information about the proceedings so you can prepare yourself for the possible outcomes.
What is the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor?
Felonies and misdemeanors are two different categories of crimes that differ in their level of severity and the potential punishments that can be imposed. Generally, if a crime can result in imprisonment of more than a year, it falls under the category of a felony. Conversely, if the punishment is one year or less, the crime will likely be a misdemeanor. Driving while intoxicated is one of the most common types of misdemeanors, but depending on circumstances may be a felony. Felonies are ususally more severe crimes, such as armed robbery or murder.
Your Flagstaff Criminal Attorney
Because Vaughan S. Winborne is a sole practitioner, you will not have to worry that a less qualified lawyer will end up handling your case. He works with clients throughout Northern Arizona, including Flagstaff, and has worked previously in Hawaii and North Carolina. Vaughan S. Winborne has years of experience handling criminal cases and representing clients fairly. If you require a lawyer to represent you in a criminal case, Vaughan S. Winborne can assist you.
Schedule Your Consultation
Vaughan S. Winborne will take the time to assess your case and provide you with the legal information and advice needed to resolve your case as quickly and efficiently as possible. Schedule a consultation today!Schedule Now