The rights of the accused is primarily enshrined in the Bill ofRights. While the U.S. Constitution is the main source of protectionsfor the accused, the federal government and states also put enactednumerous legislation and court rules to ensure that the accused isnot placed in undue advantage. Without putting in place protectionsfor the accused, he or she may not receive fair treatment from thegovernment, especially law enforcement agencies and prosecutors,given that these agencies have extensive resources at their disposal.Criminal defense law protects an accused prior to any filing of asuit, during trial, and after trial.
Criminal cases rely heavily on direct and circumstantial evidence bythe prosecutor. Unreasonable searches and seizures and illegalissuance of warrants are prohibited under the Fourth Amendment.Defense attorneys can easily overthrow a criminal case by arguingthat law enforcement agencies conducted the search and seizure orissued warrants for search or arrest in an unlawful manner, thusmaking the evidence unacceptable in court.
Another protection afforded to an accused is the law against doublejeopardy, enshrined in the Fifth Amendment. Double jeopardy meansthat a person who has been tried and acquitted of a crime cannot becharged with the same crime again. Defendants, under the SixthAmendment, is guaranteed of the right to a public and jury trial andthe right to confront opposing witnesses and subpoena favorablewitnesses.
There are many nuances involved in criminal defense. The foremostconsideration for criminal defense attorneys would be to make surethat their clients are treated fairly, regardless of whether theaccused admits to the wrongdoing or not. Criminal defense attorneysalso make sure they take advantage of the protections afforded totheir clients to make sure their clients continue to enjoy theirliberties. One of the first things that a criminal defense attorneyhas to do, following an arrest, is to get the accused out from jail.Criminal defense attorneys need to take their clients out from jail,prior to trial or while a trial is pending, so that the defendant canfreely assist them in their cases.
Criminal defense law allows attorneys to make plea bargains fordefendants in order to avoid lengthy trial. In a plea bargain, thedefendant pleads guilty in exchange for a lenient sentence.Defendants can achieve plea bargaining either by (i) fighting theprosecutor and making the case difficult for him or (ii) fullycooperating with the prosecutor and convincing the prosecutor that alenient sentence is appropriate.
Once a criminal case goes to trial, expert litigating techniqueshould be employed by criminal defense attorneys as it will becomedifficult to convince juries, especially if the cases are ofsensitive nature. Criminal trials are exhausting and often veryemotionally draining for all parties. A defendant cannot successfullywin his case without the help of an attorney who is not justknowledgeable of the theories of criminal defense law but who is alsopersuasive enough to convince the jury and the judge.
Criminal defense is laborious work as criminal cases are tedious. Theaccused, and later on, the criminal defendant, must always berepresented by an attorney in all steps of the criminal proceeding.In order for the accused's rights to be fully protected, one mustseek the assistance of counsel who are experts in battling shrewdprosecutors and zealous police officers. Criminal defense attorneysare not just knowledgeable of both federal and state criminal lawstatutes, they are also skillful in using criminal defense laws tothe advantage of the accused.