Criminal attorneys defend individuals or groups, accused of crimes.
Criminal attorney frequently focus on particular legal disciplines, such as family law, commercial law, constitutional law, or criminal law. Dedication and devotion are needed for this career.
Criminal Attorney might invest hours in study and case preparation before a case goes to trial. This includes reviewing laws and statutes, gathering evidence to build a case, and identifying vulnerabilities that could jeopardies a case before it is presented in court. Other obligations include:
Looking at the crime scene
Building a defense
Drafting, filing and arguing appeals
Developing a case strategy
Gathering witnesses to testify in court
Criminal attorneys handle a wide range of criminal cases, including sexual crimes, domestic abuse offences, fraud, embezzlement, drug crimes, and other offences.
They occasionally take pro bono cases or represent those who cannot afford legal representation. When managing high-profile cases, criminal lawyers may be seen in public.
What exactly is criminal law?
Criminal law governs behavior that is deemed damaging and threatening to the public, either in terms of property safety or moral wellbeing.
Legislation is created by government officials to define and punish criminal behavior. For example, criminal law prohibits activities such as murder and stealing.
If someone commits a crime as defined by these statutes, they can be held accountable in court. Criminal laws are intended to moderate people’s conduct and make them comprehend the consequences of their acts.
How to Become a Criminal Defense attorney
The completion of an undergraduate and graduate degree, acing the bar exam, and earning a legal license are prerequisites for becoming a criminal attorney. Follow these steps to obtain a profession in criminal law:
1. Get a bachelor’s degree
You need a bachelor’s degree from an authorized university before you can apply to law school.
Whatever your major, earning a degree in criminal justice is advantageous since its courses provide a solid grounding in the field. These classes might cover:
Introduction to Criminology:
The criminal justice system, crime, and criminals are the main topics of this course. Professors and students make an effort to decipher criminal behavior, investigate the various sorts of crime, and provide recommendations for crime prevention.
This course explores the functions of correctional administrators, including budget management, oversight of correctional officers, and upkeep of secure and hygienic prisons.
Law Enforcement Administration:
Students learn about the function of law enforcement administrators in this course. This job entails making sure that police forces and other law enforcement agencies function efficiently.
This course focuses on the activities of the criminal justice system, including law enforcement and the judicial systems.
2. Pass the entrance examination for law school
Once you have earned your bachelor’s degree, you must take the LSAT, which is a prerequisite for getting into law school. This standardized test measures a candidate’s reading, verbal, and analytical reasoning abilities.
It has five multiple-choice question parts plus a writing example. The test results are used by admissions personnel for law schools to evaluate applicants’ legal acumen. Four times a year, in February, June, September, and December, the LSAT is offered.
3. Prepare for law school
You are prepared to begin applying to law schools once you have received your bachelor’s degree and passed the LSAT. But before you start the procedure, the following particular steps must be taken:
Credential Assembly Service (CAS) registration:
This important step shouldn’t be skipped. Every legal school use CAS. Your transcripts and letters of recommendation are sent to CAS, who then packages and sends them on to the schools of your choice. There is a cost associated with this service, so it’s crucial you register and send in your transcripts as soon as possible.
Gathering recommendation letters:
You can request strong letters of recommendation from your instructors, former or current coworkers, or church leaders who can attest to your moral character and work ethic.
Personal statement creation:
As part of their application, prospective law students must prepare a concise 500 word statement. Students have the option of writing on an assigned topic or a topic of their own choosing. The word limit must be adhered to because going above it could hurt your chances of admission.
Since there are no majors available at law schools, in your personal statement you should talk about your objectives and why you believe the institution can help you reach them. Don’t talk about “majoring” in a certain subject.
4. Earn a law degree
Over the course of three years, 90 credits are earned in law school. Your first year is made up of classes that give you exposure in various legal contexts. Several of these courses include:
- Criminal Law: The body of law that governs criminal offences is this one.
- Constitutional Law: The legislative, executive, and judicial branches of a state or country are defined by this corpus of law, together with their respective functions and organizational frameworks. It acknowledges that citizens have certain basic rights.
- Civil Procedure: It is the study of procedures that are used in non-criminal cases.
Before applying, it’s critical to explore the course offerings and specializations offered by the school.
The legal profession offers a wide range of specialties, so make sure to choose a program that offers many courses in your area of interest.
For instance, you might decide to focus on environmental law, commercial law, property law, or criminal law.
A J.D. (Juris Doctorate), a nationally recognized degree, is awarded to law school graduates. This degree is provided by 205 law schools that hold ABA accreditation.
The majority of states mandate that candidates for the bar examination hold this degree before sitting for the exam.
5. Pass the MPRE
With the exception of Puerto Rico, Wisconsin, and Maryland, all states and jurisdictions in America require the MPRE (Multi-state Professional Responsibility Examination).
You may need to pass this test before you may take the bar exam in some states. The MPRE lasts for two hours and includes legal ethics.
6. Obtain your law license
Each state has its own standards and methods for appointing lawyers and administering the bar test. Check the prerequisites for the state you want to practice in before submitting an application for admission to a state bar.
You must be able to pass the written test in every state. Over the course of two days, a multiple-choice test and an essay section make up the exam.
While many jurisdictions have adopted the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE), several states have developed their own distinctive exams. You can transfer your score to other states that have implemented the UBE if you pass it.
For instance, you can apply for a license in another UBE state without taking another exam if you pass the bar exam in a UBE state like Pennsylvania and want to practice in other nearby states as well. But keep in mind that different states could have different minimum passing marks.
The bar test is administered twice a year, once in the summertime and once in the wintertime.