A criminal charge is a formal accusation made by a government entity such as the police. Criminal charges state that the individual has committed a crime. The charging document contains the list of crimes committed and may come in the form of an indictment, complaint, or information of the crime.
Those individuals who would need a criminal attorney would have to be charged with a criminal charge. Criminal charges are as follows but not limited to:
- Grand Larceny
- Criminal arson
- Grand theft auto
- Insurance fraud
- Domestic violence
- Criminal trespass
- Possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute
Someone who is charged with a crime will need a criminal defense attorney to defend them.
A criminal attorney is one who defends an individual who is charged with doing something that is prohibited by society, as mandated by law. Criminal attorneys represent their clients in criminal court and speak on their behalf. They spend a lot of their time fact gathering, filling out and filing legal documents. Criminal attorneys can either be from private law firms or court appointed attorneys. What type of criminal attorney a defendant gets is dependent on what the individual can afford. If the defendant is from an affluent family then they may use their family attorney for their defense. Pro bono family lawyers are very uncommon unless they are friends of the family doing them a favor.
Criminal Attorney Guide
The sixth amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees the defendant the right to an attorney. In most cases individuals charged for a crime cannot afford the cost of an attorney. In these cases the state that is charging the defendant will provide an attorney free of charge to the individual. Usually the state will pay the attorney for representing the defendant. It is common for the court to reach out to pro bono criminal attorneys if they are available and willing depending on the case they are asked to represent.
Pro bono is Latin for "for good." Lawyers who take pro bono work are seen as doing a public service for the good of the community. Under the Model Rules of Professional Conduct of the American Bar Association, attorneys are encouraged to conduct at least 50 hours of pro bono work each year as a public service to those who cannot afford an attorney.
The Innocence Network comprises of over 60 organizations who offer pro bono criminal attorneys to those who are suspected of being wrongly accused. These organizations under the Innocence Network use forensic science to reopen cases and prove that the suspect was wrongly accused.
Large law firms encourage their attorneys to take on pro bono cases in an attempt to alleviate the pressure on the criminal justice system.
Even though the state may request a pro bono criminal attorney does not mean they will receive one. Attorneys are encouraged to take on certain cases pro bono, but they are not forced in any way and may not be obligated to take the case.