When most people think of criminal law, their mind tends to drift to exciting murder cases on their favorite procedural dramas, featuring exciting twists hiding in wait somewhere towards the end of the T.V. hour.
The reality is, of course, somewhat different. Criminal law does tend to make people think of a murder case, but it’s actually an umbrella term for all crime that requires punishment by the state. Does that seem to leave a lot up in the air? Well, the answer to that question is that the term is used to differentiate between criminal and civil law. Civil law involves the resolution of a dispute between two or more parties. It can also involve compensating a person or a party for loss of property, finances, etc.
Criminal law involves bringing people to justice according to the criminal system. So, murder falls under criminal law, yes, but so does theft of a car, robbery, and assault. Most people always think of procedural court dramas, though, when they hear the term “criminal law”. The result is that most people think that they’re never going to ever run into a criminal lawyer in their entire lives, let alone need one.
The truth is very different. Today, people routinely get caught up in events that are beyond their control and that can result in the need for a criminal lawyer. This is especially true for someone who has been falsely accused. For those looking for a criminal lawyer, their chief concern becomes finding a good lawyer to represent them or a loved one.
First, realize that most criminal lawyers are the genuine article. There are a few, though, who might just try to pass themselves off as the real thing but are actually con-artists. If a person is serious in ensuring that a lawyer is genuine, they can simply check with the province or state’s bar to see if they are permitted to practice law there. That’s really all one needs to make sure that they are an actual, genuine lawyer.
The real issue with a lawyer in any part of the world is to know what their reputation is. This can be accomplished through a number of means. First, take a look online and see if the law firm has a webpage. Although it is true then anyone can create a webpage today, this is a good way of gathering important information concerning the law firm one is considering.
Find out where the law firm is and then look it up on a map. At that point, take a look at it on street level, or take a look in person. The look of a lawyer’s office says a lot about what kind of firm you’re dealing with. If it looks drab or run down, then the law office may not be doing well financially and that says something about the amount of work they’re getting.
After that, take a look online at websites that have reviews of law offices. This is an excellent way of finding out exactly what people’s experiences were in personally dealing with that law firm. What’s better about those reviews is that there aren’t just ones on law firms in general but on the specific criminal lawyers employed there. Always be aware that there are going to be a few bad reviews. That isn’t because they’re lawyers, but because everyone and everything gets a few bad reviews!
What a person needs to look for is what the overall opinion online is of the criminal lawyer in question. If the average of the reviews is good, then it’s a good bet that the lawyer will do a good job. If the overall average is below about sixty percent, then be aware that a person getting their services will get what they pay for.
Next, comes a step that is a little trickier, especially if the person looking for a criminal lawyer doesn’t want people to know that they need one. What’s even better than good online reviews is good word around town. One can always be asking for a “friend” of course, but it isn’t that hard to casually bring up a lawyer in casual conversation without making it appear that they are in need of one. For instance, saying “I ran into John a few days ago. Isn’t he a lawyer?” is a really good way of starting a line of questioning to find out if that lawyer has a good reputation.
A person usually knows well-placed people, as well, and can usually ask about their reputation from them.
At any rate, confirming a criminal lawyer’s credentials, law firm, and reputation are the surest ways to ensure that a person gets the proper criminal representation that they need in a court of law.