Presented to you by Los Angeles criminal defense attorney,

Robert Helfend

When a person is arrested, state officials build a case. When and if the case is sent to the court, the arrestee will be responsible for defending him or herself. Whether they are guilty or not, the charges made against this person will be discussed and cross-referenced with federal or state laws, sometimes both. How do you know if you need a criminal defense attorney or a civil defense attorney? It depends on your case. In criminal cases, sentencing usually includes jail time, fines or community service hours. In civil cases, the defendant typically isn’t accused of a crime, but of engaging in wrongful activity like a business that breached a contract – which results in defendants paying the plaintiff.

Understanding Criminal Cases

A criminal case starts when a prosecutor files criminal charges against a person according to state or federal laws. Counties elect their head state prosecutor and members of the federal government appoint federal prosecutors. A person charged is entitled to seek a criminal defense lawyer to defend him or her against the charges filed by the prosecutor. Once the matter begins, the criminal defense lawyer will review all the charges in question, research your facts of the case and the laws that apply. A defense attorney can then provide the defendant with recommendations on whether to pursue a plea bargain or prepare the for a trial. It is an ongoing process based on the different facts uncovered during the preparation of the client’s defense.

Private Criminal Defense Attorney and Public Defense

Criminal defense lawyers that have been contacted and hired by the defendant are known as private criminal defense lawyers. Should the defendant choose not to seek his or her own attorney, a public defender who is employed by the government, will be assigned to the criminal case.

Understanding civil litigation

Cases brought to the court that do not involve criminal offenses are labeled as civil litigation. When a complaint against a person or business is filed in a court of law, a civil case is built. The plaintiff is the person suing or accusing a defendant of wrongful behavior. Both parties are entitled to seek lawyers however, should one or the other not has one, a government-employed attorney will not be assigned to the case.

Civil defense lawyers

Many lawyers with a private practice who are involved in civil litigation are experienced in representing both parties. However there are many civil defense lawyers who only specialize in representing the defendant. An insurance companies usually hires these defense attorneys to represent their clients; mostly in cases where the plaintiff is suing the defendant over a claim that is covered by his or her insurance policy.


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