A felony lawyer is a type of criminal attorney who represents people who have been charged with a serious crime, or felony offense. Although the types of crimes that are classified as felonies vary according to jurisdiction, murder, rape, drug trafficking, burglary, and arson are common examples of felony offenses.
Due to the serious nature of these crimes, felony offenses generally carry more severe penalties than misdemeanors. Depending on the crime, an individual accused of a felony crime may face federal prison, or even death, if he or she is convicted. In addition, once convicted of a felony, the individual in question may lose privileges, such as the right to vote or obtain a passport, even after he or she has served the required sentence.
One of a felony lawyer’s most important responsibilities is to ensure that his or her client’s constitutional rights are upheld throughout the trial process. Some of these duties include investigating the case, evaluating any evidence the prosecution has gathered, obtaining evidence that supports his or her client’s defense, questioning witnesses, and formulating a strong defense strategy. In addition, a felony lawyer should also be available to answer any questions his or her client may have, such as explaining legal terminology or recommending options to clients.
Like all lawyers, felony attorneys have an advanced knowledge of the legal system — specifically, criminal law. After thoroughly investigating the case, a felony lawyer will meet with the prosecuting attorney to present evidence that supports his or her client’s defense. At this time, the lawyer may attempt to negotiate a reduced sentence for his or her client in what is known as a plea bargain. This generally occurs when the client agrees to plead guilty to the charges and, in turn, the prosecutor agrees to reduce the charges or sentence of the crime.
Although a felony lawyer’s first priority is to avoid a criminal trial, the prosecutor may not always agree to a plea bargain. If this happens, the lawyer is therefore responsible for defending his or her client in court, and creating reasonable doubt, so the client is not found guilty. Part of this defense entails presenting a strong opening statement to the court, questioning witnesses, and presenting evidence to support the client’s innocence. To effect a good defense, the attorney must also challenge the prosecution’s evidence, object to any irrelevant questions the prosecution may ask, and deliver a persuasive closing statement on the client’s behalf.
If the jury or judge determines the client is not guilty of the crime, all charges will be dropped, and the felony attorney’s job is complete. If, however, the client is found guilty, the felony lawyer’s responsibilities continue. As such, he or she will discuss appeal options with the client and, if warranted, file the appropriate paperwork with the appellate court.
Depending on the country in which he or she practices, a felony lawyer may be employed privately or by the government. While private felony lawyers are hired and paid by the client, those employed by the government are usually known as public defenders, and are assigned to clients by a court. Regardless of whether a person hires a private lawyer or is assigned a public defender, he or she is entitled to fair and competent legal representation. As a result, it is always in a person’s best interest to obtain legal representation if he or she is charged with any type of felony crime.