Receiving formal notice of criminal charges is always terrifying. It feels like you’re facing the entire legal system by yourself, and without an experienced criminal lawyer, you essentially are. Understanding what pending criminal charges mean, the difference between civil and criminal cases, and the role of a criminal lawyer gives you the head start you’ll need for your defense.
What Do Pending Criminal Charges Mean?
In America, the government must inform defendants of charges brought against them at trial. We call these pending charges. Essentially, pending criminal charges are formal accusations made by the district attorney (DA). They represent the crimes which the police and prosecution have reason to believe a suspect has committed. However, since the DA has yet to prove that you are guilty or actually face you in court, the charges are considered pending.
Civil vs. Criminal
It’s important to know the difference between criminal and civil cases. Criminal charges can only be brought by the government. Civil cases typically occur between individual citizens or businesses. Basically, if someone sues you, you face civil charges. However, if the police take you to court for murder, you face criminal charges. Criminal charges may come from the local, state, or federal level. Unlike civil cases, criminal charges may result in jail time and fines. Depending on the state and nature of the crime committed, criminal charges may lead to the death penalty.
It’s easy to tell whether your charges are civil or criminal based on who is taking you to court. Simply read the name or title of the party bringing charges against you. If the case features your name versus an individual or business’s name, then you face a civil suit. You are facing pending criminal charges if the case is you versus a government body, such as the county or state.
What’s a Criminal Lawyer?
As we’ve discussed above, there are different kinds of charges. Most lawyers only specialize in one particular area. A civil lawyer, for instance, handles disputes between neighbors or corporations. A criminal lawyer works with defendants who face charges issued by the government. Some may specialize in defending companies while others focus on individual citizens.
Once a criminal lawyer has accepted your case, he or she will do far more than speak for you in court. He or she represents you in negotiations, interviews you about the details of your case, and engages in extensive research. A criminal lawyer’s primary tool is the law, which he or she will wield against any and all evidence brought by the prosecution. There could be evidence that was no properly collected, has evidence of falsification, or goes against a specific legal code. This expertise is a criminal lawyer’s greatest attribute.
Knowing the difference between civil and criminal cases is vital to your handling of your case. Having the right lawyer is even more important. The best way to deal with pending charges is to lessen them before you go to court. Staying aware of the process is critical, and if you have reason to believe a DA may file charges against you, it’s a good idea to get a lawyer in advance. They can negotiate to have charges lessened or even dismissed before they ever become pending. If you have already been charged with a crime, however, a criminal lawyer can still help you maneuver most successfully through the legal tangles of pending criminal charges.
Marcus Torigian Can Help
If you’ve been charged with a crime, you will need legal representation. Call Torigian Law today at 559-627-5399.