Reviewed by Jeremy Geigle

Jeremy Geigle
Contributor

When you’re charged with any crime, the consequences can be serious. Often it is a good idea to consult with a criminal lawyer so that they can assess your case and advise you on how to proceed. Many times, criminal lawyers can specialize in various matters that may be beneficial to both you and your case. Before entering into a relationship with an attorney, you want to know a little more about what to expect.
 

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What Does a Criminal Lawyer Do?

Criminal attorneys will represent you if you are charged with either of the two categories of criminal law: misdemeanors and felonies. 

Misdemeanors are less serious charges which can result in less than a year imprisonment or a fine.

Felonies are more serious and if found guilty, you can end up in prison for more than a year or face the death penalty.

How Do I Know If I Need a Criminal Lawyer?

Since both felonies and misdemeanors can end up with a prison sentence, you should consult a lawyer if you are charged with any of the following:

Misdemeanors:
  • Petty theft
  • Prostitution
  • Public intoxication
  • Simple assault
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Trespass
  • Vandalism
  • Reckless driving
  • Possession of marijuana
  • First-time possession of certain other drugs
Felonies
  • Murder
  • Rape
  • Kidnapping
  • Treason
  • Aggravated assault and/or battery
  • Arson
  • Robbery/Burglary
  • Various forms of fraud
  • Intent to distribute of certain types and/or quantities of illegal drugs
  • Possession of certain types of illegal drugs
  • Grand larceny or grand theft
This is not an all inclusive list, so you might want to consult with a criminal lawyer even if your matter isn’t listed here.

How Much Does a Criminal Lawyer Cost?

Criminal lawyers charge either a flat fee or hourly rate with a retainer. A retainer is a fee paid upfront which will then be put towward what you owe the lawyer. Rates will vary depending on the severity of the charges and where you live, so be sure to negotiate a rate up front. 

What Should I Expect When Working with a Criminal Lawyer?

A criminal defense lawyer will do what he can to prove your innocence or at least lessen your sentence.

If your attorney knows that you can’t win the case, he may advise you to settle out of court, which will usually get you a shorter or easier sentence.

If you do end up in court and are charged with a felony, your defense lawyer can attempt to: prove your innocence, lower the charge to a misdemeanor, get you a shorter sentence, or get you placed in a better facility. For a misdemeanor your attorney will advocate for fines or community service over jail time.

Although there is no guarantee that the outcome will be favorable to you, it’s a good idea to hire a criminal defense attorney who understands the way courts work. The aid of a lawyer will greatly increase your chances of reducing your sentence or winning your case.

Get started Ask a Lawyer a Question You'll hear back in one business day.

Get started Ask a Lawyer a Question You'll hear back in one business day.


Jeremy Geigle

If you are being accused of or charged with a crime call attorney Jeremy Geigle for a free and confidential case evaluation. Geigle has the experience and commitment you need to get the justice and resolution you deserve.