Criminal defense is one of the most fundamental aspects of the United States legal system, as it is designed to help ensure those who have been accused of committing a crime have a fair trial. Even in circumstances where evidence seems extremely compelling, every defendant is granted the right to innocence until proven otherwise in court. If you have been accused of a crime, seek the assistance of a Dekalb County criminal defense lawyer as soon as you can.
Defense lawyers play a huge role in supervising the entire process to ensure that their clients do not experience any violations of their rights. At Miller North & Brill, we have spent years in the criminal justice system defending those who feel defenseless. We understand how frightening and isolating it can feel when facing criminal charges, which is why we proudly offer non-judgmental legal counsel that our clients can count on.
Whether you believe you are innocent or worthy of a reduced sentence, contact our crime lawyers today.
In any criminal law case, a defense attorney will be called upon to employ their own strategy to advocate for their client’s interests. This is true for any type of crime, from a minor drug offense to violent crimes. Depending on the circumstances of the criminal arrest, there are many different avenues an attorney can take on behalf of their clients.
Some of these include:
Innocence: One of the most straightforward defense positions to take is that a client is innocent of the charges they face. Taking this defense will require an attorney to present evidence that helps to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that this is true. This could include an alibi that can testify to the defendant’s whereabouts, surveillance footage that shows someone else committing the crime, or even forensic evidence that points to another individual’s wrongdoing.
Self-defense: Everyone has the right to defend themselves against any genuine perceived threats of harm. A self-defense strategy is often used in cases involving acts of violence to help demonstrate how a defendant needed to behave in the way they did to prevent themselves or a loved one from being hurt. A court will look to assess if the threat was clear and if the level of force the defendant used was proportionate to the gravity of the perceived threat.
Duress or coercion: If an attorney is taking a duress or coercion defense for their client, it means they believe the defendant was forced to commit the crime by someone else. These “acts of force” are typically a threat to harm an individual if they do not comply with the request. A court will need to see clear evidence that suggests the defendant had no reasonable opportunity to escape from the scenario and inform authorities.
Entrapment: If an individual believes they were induced or persuaded by an officer to commit a crime they wouldn’t otherwise have done, a defense attorney may agree to pursue an entrapment defense. It is illegal for law enforcement officers to set an individual up in this manner. If an attorney has enough evidence to prove this happened, it would be enough to have the case dropped.
Insanity: An insanity defense is when an attorney claims that their client was legally insane at the time of the crime and was not able to recognize the wrongness of their actions. This could be caused by a severe mental disorder left untreated. To prove this, a defense attorney will likely need to enlist support from a psychologist and other health professionals to seek their opinion and use it as evidence in court.
Mistake of fact: Sometimes, a defendant believes their misunderstanding of certain facts or circumstances led them to engage in criminal behavior. This does not mean a defendant can claim they didn’t know the law, but rather of certain details that led to the incident. For example, someone could enter a home thinking they were at the correct address, only to face strangers accusing them of trespassing.
A defendant can claim they had no intention of breaking into the home by providing evidence they were headed to another home, such as showing how similar the addresses are or that they received poor instructions.
Having years of experience learning the law by book and then executing it with actual clients is fundamental. The more experience an attorney has, the more likely they are familiar with the nuances of certain charges, defenses, and legal precedents that can help guide your own case and maximize its success. Seasoned attorneys are also well-equipped to handle curve balls during the trial, such as unexpected evidence or shocking witness testimony.
An attorney needs to be able to analyze large amounts of case data and piece together certain facts and circumstances that construct logical arguments for their clients. This can help them to spot patterns in evidence that can be used to contradict claims by the prosecution. This attention to detail can make the difference between how likely they are able to reduce or dismiss specific charges against their Dekalb County clients.
Whether it’s through writing or speaking, having effective communication skills is a nonnegotiable trait in defense attorneys. This is because attorneys need to clearly articulate complicated legal concepts to their clients and a jury to ensure they are able to comprehend and understand their position. Communication skills also include active listening, which a strong attorney needs to master to understand their client’s needs, witness testimonies, and opposing arguments.
Many criminal cases in Georgia are resolved through plea bargains, which require both a defense attorney and prosecutor to negotiate on behalf of their clients. Specific skills that make a strong negotiator include persuasion, critical thinking, and the ability to apply complex laws and regulations to everyday scenarios. An attorney’s ability to negotiate can have a significant impact on the likelihood that their clients are able to be awarded a reduced or dismissed sentence.
The total cost of criminal defense representation in Georgia largely depends on how complicated the legal case is and how long it will take to work on. The more experience an attorney has will also drive up costs. Many defense attorneys charge by the hour, which can range anywhere from $100 to $400 per hour or more, especially if their office is based in a highly populated area. Other attorneys may prefer to be paid a flat fee per service or through a retainer.
When you begin having conversations with a prospective defense attorney, prioritize a conversation about costs to ensure you will feel comfortable affording their services throughout the entire process.
Yes, a defense attorney is required to return any funds they don’t end up using from a retainer back to their client. This means that if no money was used, the full amount originally submitted will be returned. Most retainer fees are placed into a secure trust account where only the attorney has special access to retrieve and spend funds on a case.
There are some unique circumstances where certain funds may not be returned. For example, an attorney may make clear at the beginning that a portion of the retainer is simply to secure their availability to work on the case.
There are many different risks and potential disadvantages that can come from choosing to represent yourself in a criminal case. The legal system is extremely complex, and a lack of proper training will make it difficult to leverage the nuances of the law to defend your interests in court.
The lack of knowledge can also make it difficult for you to understand certain legal jargon or know what steps are to come next in a case. You also will likely not be aware of what defense strategies or negotiation tactics will be most favorable at any given moment in the case. All of this can risk the likelihood of you being found guilty.
A plea bargain is an official agreement made between the prosecution and a defendant. It’s where a defendant agrees to plead guilty in exchange for a more favorable outcome, like a reduced charge or lighter sentence. There are often several rounds of intense negotiations to make a plea bargain happen to ensure that both sides are comfortable with the arrangement and are willing to move forward.
An attorney will scrutinize the entire process to ensure that their clients are not being taken advantage of and are receiving a fair deal given whatever the facts seem to be pointing to in the case.
If you are facing a criminal charge and are struggling to know where to turn, give the attorneys at Miller North & Brill a call today. We have a deep appreciation for the criminal justice system and its ability to give those accused of crime a chance to share their story. We would be honored to learn more about your case and how we can help to maximize your success.
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