Criminal Lawyers Defend Clients in Federal and State Courts
Within the legal system of the United States lawyers act as advocates and advisors. As advocates they represent clients in civil and criminal trials, presenting evidence and arguing on their behalf. As advisors they counsel clients about their legal rights and obligations. Most lawyers concentrate on either civil or criminal law. Criminal lawyers represent people who have been charged with crimes. Civil lawyers help their clients with all aspects of business and personal life not covered by criminal law.
Criminal lawyers represent clients who are faced with any of dozens of different types of crimes, from aiding and abetting to homicide to theft. Federal laws, which apply in all states, govern many crimes. But other crimes are covered by state laws, which vary from state to state. That’s why it’s important for a person charged with a crime to find a criminal lawyer in the state in which the crime is being prosecuted. Someone in Miami or Fort Lauderdale, for example, should choose a Florida criminal attorney. In San Francisco or Los Angeles, a California criminal attorney will be in the best position to defend a person accused of a crime.
Criminal attorneys may specialize in particular types of crime. White collar crimes, for example, are financial crimes that people of high social, professional, or economic status commit in relation to their professions. A typical crime involves deception but not violence. White collar crimes such as bribery, embezzlement, insider trading, public corruption, identity theft, forgery, money laundering, and fraud overlap with the area of corporate crimes. Within the broad area of fraud there is corporate fraud, healthcare fraud, mortgage fraud, insurance fraud, bankruptcy fraud, and hedge fund fraud, and government fraud, to name a few. Recent crimes investigated by the F.B.I. include adoption scams, celebrity memorabilia fraud, staged auto accidents, options backdating, computer fraud, and environmental crimes.
Anyone who has been charged with this kind of crime should contact a criminal attorney as soon as possible. Whether or not they are convicted, people accused of white collar crimes often suffer from negative publicity and the resulting loss of reputation, social status, assets, and business. The consequences of conviction are even worse, of course. People convicted of these crimes may face jail time, large fines, forfeiture of assets, home detention, supervised release, and/or restitution to victims of the crime. Criminal attorneys who specialize in white collar crimes have the experience and knowledge to protect the rights of the accused. A criminal attorney can help the accused avoid or mitigate charges by gaining a dismissal or winning if the case goes to trial.
Rapid advances in computer technology make white collar crimes more feasible. In fact, white collar crimes are on the rise in the United States. In recent years arrests for violent crimes have decreased, but arrests for fraud and embezzlement have increased. The F.B.I. estimates white collar crimes cost the country more than $300 billion each year. As Americans become more concerned about white collar crimes, judges and juries are becoming less lenient in convicting and punishing them.