Criminal defense attorneys are exactly what they sound like. They are attorneys who represent individuals accused of crimes. If you have been charged with a crime, you will need a criminal defense attorney to defend you. Criminal defense attorneys advocate for you and work to get you the best possible outcome for your case.

Belén Olmedo Guerra exclusively practices criminal defense law. At Belén Law Firm, we have helped countless Arizonans make it through their criminal trials successfully. Hiring an experienced Phoenix criminal defense attorney like Belén gives you the best chance at having your charges reduced, dropped, or even dismissed. In this article, we’ll tell you everything you ever wanted to know about criminal defense attorneys… and more!

What Exactly Do Criminal Defense Attorneys Do?

Criminal defense attorneys often have a very complicated job. Each and every case is different and requires different tactics based on the circumstances surrounding the case. The job requires much more than simply showing up to court and arguing on your behalf.

Before a criminal attorney like Belén Olmedo Guerra takes on a new case, they will first schedule a consultation with you. During this consultation, you will discuss the details of your case and give your attorney as much information as possible. After this, he or she will be able to estimate the punishments that may result from your crime. Then, they will explain what they can do to help you. After that, you must decide if they will meet your needs. If you choose to hire them, they’ll begin working to solidify your defense. 

In order to build up your case, Attorney Belén will likely:
  • Review discovery;
  • Develop your defense theory;
  • Interview the relevant witnesses;
  • Select the witnesses they would like to bring to court;
  • Do legal research on similar cases;
  • Schedule and hold meetings to discuss the case details;
  • Gather and review evidence in your favor;
  • Give you legal advice;
  • Retain expert witnesses, if applicable;
  • Do pre-trial and trial interviews;
  • Write pre-trial and trial motions;
  • Oral arguments;
  • Video conferences with clients and family;
  • Make a motion to have your case dismissed before a trial begins, if appropriate.

An experienced, hard-working criminal defense attorney will complete all of this work before you even go to trial. In the event the prosecution refuses to dismiss the case and believes they have enough evidence against you, your case will likely need to go to trial. 

In the event you choose to plead guilty, your attorney will fight to get you the best plea deal possible. To emphasize, this is where experience and skill makes a difference.

Finally, when the trial is set, the criminal defense attorney will play a part in choosing the jury. They will then fight in your defense against the jury and work toward the best possible outcome.

Types Of Criminal Attorneys

In criminal law, there are two types of attorneys. There are prosecuting attorneys and defense lawyers. Prosecuting attorneys work for the city, state, or federal government to prosecute the accused in a court of law. Defense lawyers work on the other side. These lawyers defend the accused. They work to prove their innocence or lessen their charge.

Criminal defense lawyers work with four different types of crimes. These include:

Misdemeanors

  • These are considered a “minor wrongdoing.”
  • Misdemeanors are punishable by fines or jail time of less than a year.
  • Examples of misdemeanors include
    • Petty theft 
    • Public intoxication
    • Vandalism
    • Trespassing
    • Simple assault
    • Other petty crimes

Felonies

  • These crimes are much more severe
  • Felonies are punishable by at least one year of imprisonment.
  • Examples include 

Inchoate Offenses

  • These are also known as “preliminary crimes” or “incomplete crimes”
  • An inchoate offense is the act of preparing or intending to commit another crime.
  • Examples include attempt, solicitation, and conspiracy. 

Strict Liability Offenses

  • To convict a strict liability offense, the prosecution won’t need to prove intention, knowledge, recklessness, or negligence
  • This classification does not take into account any intent or mental state at the time of the crime.
  • Examples include:
    • Possession crimes 
    • Statutory rape

Most criminal defense lawyers work with many different types of crime. They can assist you in understanding what area your allegations fall into and then work to help defend you.

What is “Confidential” Between You And Your Criminal Defense Attorney?

All matters you discuss in private with your lawyer are confidential information. Whatever you say to your attorney relating to your case is completely private. This is a fundamental right of all defendants within the legal system. Attorney-client privilege is comparable to doctor-patient confidentiality. This enables clients to be as honest as possible. In return, they can receive the best care and counsel possible.

In some circumstances, an attorney may break confidentiality. This only happens if the information shared could:

  • Prevent another person’s death
  • Help gain legal advice from another attorney
  • Cause them the need to defend themselves against wrongful misconduct allegations

Rarely do lawyers need to share your private information. But, it can happen if the circumstances are as extenuating as those listed above.

How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney?

Often, it is impossible to give an exact, one-time amount for all criminal defense attorneys. There are many factors that go into determining cost. Every attorney, state, and case is different and unique to its circumstances. Given this, costs for criminal defense could start anywhere from a thousand dollars and scale up to tens or even hundreds of thousands.

There’s a common phrase: “you get what you pay for.” This is no different for attorneys. An experienced attorney like Belén Olmedo Guerra might cost a bit more than others. However, it will pay off in the end. If you’re facing a criminal charge, there might be serious consequences. It could take months of hard work to secure you the best outcome. That will come at a price. Freedom also comes at a price. Your criminal defense lawyer is working towards your freedom. 

How Long Do Criminal Defense Attorneys Spend On Each Case?

In the same way cases vary in cost, they also vary in length. A case as simple as a misdemeanor will likely resolve before going to trial. Because of this, it won’t take as long as other cases. With more severe crimes, resolution takes longer. This has to do with the amount of time and resources it takes to build a strong case in your favor.

Criminal lawyers sometimes handle multiple cases within the course of a single day. However, other cases may take up all their time for months or years. To get a better idea of how many hours your lawyer will be working on your case, the best way is to consult with one. If you contact Belén Olmedo Guerra and give her the details of your case, she will be able to provide you with the best estimate.

How Do I Find A Criminal Defense Attorney in Phoenix?

You can find a criminal defense attorney in many different ways. Hundreds of attorneys are a click away in this day and age.

First, if you want to find the best criminal defense for your case, you should search for a lawyer in your area who handles the types of crimes you’re charged with. Second, don’t forget to pay attention to their previous clients’ reviews and testimonies. Don’t simply look for the cheapest lawyer you can find. This will often cost you in the end. Skilled attorneys are more expensive for a reason. It is because they are good at what they do.

What If I Can’t Afford A Criminal Defense Attorney?

If you’ve ever watched a crime movie or TV show, you have probably heard Miranda Rights being read. They say: “If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed for you.” To emphasize, In the United States’ criminal justice system, everyone is automatically granted an attorney.

You do not need to pay for court-appointed attorneys. However, they almost always have several other cases they have to work on. They are often overworked. Court-appointed attorneys might have limited time for you. If you are able to afford one, you should hire a private criminal defense attorney. They will be able to dedicate more time and focus to you alone. In addition, this can be crucial if the charges you face come with severe consequences.

Contact Belén Law Firm Today

For people facing criminal charges, an experienced criminal defense attorney is key. If you’re in the Phoenix, AZ area, that attorney is Belén Olmedo Guerra. At Belén Law Firm, we will stop at nothing to give you the best and most aggressive defense in Arizona.  Schedule your free initial consultation right now by filling out our online contact form or calling 602-715-0908.

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