Criminal law is one of the most well-known legal areas. This legal facet generally involves crimes, or any action that is harmful not only to the individual but also the community, state, or country. Any deviant behavior in violation of a social norm is what defines a crime; however, what is considered a crime is usually dependent on the deviant behavior and the social norm that are defined within the state and federal levels. Even the punishment of a certain crime varies depending on how severe the crime was and where it was committed. Indeed, criminal law is a vast expertise that is widely interpreted differently, depending on the state one lives in.
Here in the U.S., crimes are classified as either felonies or misdemeanors. A felony is charged to a person if he or she commits a serious crime that is typically punishable by a prison sentence of one or more years. Examples of crimes under this category include murder, burglary, and arson. Meanwhile, a misdemeanor is charged to a person who commits a less serious crime that is typically punishable by a prison sentence of exactly one year or less. Examples of crimes under this category include vandalism, petty theft, driving under the influence (DUI), and simple assault. Depending on where these crimes were committed, states have their own various degrees of punishment to person convicted of such.
Getting convicted of a crime can greatly alter one’s life, from his or her ability to perform work and establish a career, access to education, to his or her personal freedoms. Anyone who is accused of committing a certain crime must pursue an expert lawyer for criminal law. The chosen legal counsel has the experience to not only help understand the individual’s rights, but also assist in establishing a defensive strategy against the accusations one may be facing. By having a criminal law attorney after undergoing an arrest, the person may be able to avoid committing mistakes that could jeopardize his or her chances of getting acquitted.
Obtaining legal representation from an attorney is an action that happens right after a person has been charged of a crime. As it is, there is a criminal process involved, and it usually starts with either a stop or an arrest. On one hand, an individual may be stopped by law enforcement for questioning, as long as the officer has a reasonable belief that he or she committed a violation of the law. This involves cavity searches or vehicle searches. On the other hand, he or she may be arrested by law enforcement, as long as a judge has provided a warrant for his or her arrest, or the officer has probable cause to believe that he or she committed a felony, or has caught him or her red-handed committing a misdemeanor. Once arrested, the person will be taken custody in the police department, where he or she will be “booked” or have his or her information registered in the police records, including finger printing.
From there, he or she will be informed of his or her rights under the Constitution. These rights will protect him or her against unfair treatment. These include the right to obtain an attorney to assist you in your hearings and other related legal procedures within the criminal process, the right to invoke the right against self-incrimination, and to undergo a prompt trial and appeal.
Depending on the crime committed, the person may either remain in police custody until a court hearing is scheduled or be released on bail. At the hearing, the person will be informed of the charges against him or her. From there, he or she will be asked to enter your plea of either “guilty,” “not guilty” or “no contest.” Depending on the plea, he or she may either be freed or undergo another set of hearings, especially sentencing.