When you are charged with a criminal offense, the chances are high that you will need a lawyer. Depending on the circumstances, you may need defense lawyers or trial lawyers. However, most people use the terms interchangeably, not knowing that these two types of lawyers are quite different.
A trial lawyer can be a defense lawyer, but not every defense lawyer is a trial lawyer. There are some fine differences between the two, and seeing through them will help you get the right representation.
What Is Defense Lawyers?
Defense lawyers are attorneys that will represent you when you have been charged with a crime. Typically, they start their work to defend you from the moment the charge has been made.
Once arraignments have been made, the criminal defense attorney will be with you throughout the whole process, giving you advice when making a plea or helping with statements during the pre-trial process. A criminal defense lawyer will help craft a path for you so that the outcome is positive or at least favorable for their clients.
A defense lawyer will have the job of negotiating a deal with the prosecutors in your pre-trial stage. If the client is innocent, they will find proof and bring it forward in order to prove that it was not you.
On the other hand, if you are, in fact, guilty, they will try to reach a plea deal that works for you and the prosecutor. For instance, if this is your first offense, then they might push for a shorter sentence, a fine, community service, drug testing, and whatever else might be convenient for both sides.
Ultimately, defense lawyers must prevent you from going into trial by following the code of criminal procedure. When you are in the pre-trial stage, you can have a say in the matter and you can get a better deal for your sentence.
However, once you reach the trial stage, things become slightly more complicated. At that point, the outcome will be decided by the judge and the jury, and you can no longer get a plea.
What Is a Trial Attorney?
If you go to trial, it means that every step you went through in the pre-trial stage failed and that you were not able to reach a resolution with your prosecutors. This may mean that the trial lawyer will need to go through a set of extra steps that are not required during the pre-trial stage.
They would have to go through jury selection, communicate very strong arguments, and cross-examining any potential witnesses – everything under the pressure of a trial room atmosphere.
For example, trials in Milwaukee can last for several weeks, especially when it comes to more complex cases. Milwaukee trial lawyers will have to turn every stone in order to either prove your innocence or plead your case – all while the two sides will present the evidence to the judge.
Criminal lawyers must prepare your case if you reach trial, but that’s exactly what they usually do: preparation. A trial lawyer will take on the heavier steps of a trial. They will represent either civil or criminal litigation, and they will know the best decisions to take for a good outcome in the worst possible scenario.
Differences between the Two
Legally speaking, there is not much distinction between the two. Both can do a fairly good job at defending their client, as long as they know the criminal law. However, a trial attorney will have to handle matters that are much more complex, something that a defense attorney may not be able to.
Defense lawyers will know to work under pressure, but that pressure is smaller when compared to a trial. A trial lawyer must have a strong presence and superior communication skills in order to present your case in court.
Their public speaking skills need to be top-notch because the slightest mishap in communication might end with a lost case.
A criminal defense lawyer may be able to achieve that, but not all of them will have to represent their client in the trial – and that is because their purpose is to avoid that trial in the first place.
The Bottom Line
Defense lawyers and trial lawyers may have similar knowledge to handle a criminal case, but they have different sets of experience. Therefore, if you end up going to trial, you might want to switch from a defense attorney to a trial attorney instead.
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