As crime escalates and prisons reach capacity, there is a growing call for criminal defense jobs to represent clients accused of a crime. Criminal defense jobs may include being an attorney or a paralegal who specializes in interpreting laws and preparing cases to defend their clients.
Clients can be either indiviudals or groups and can be defended against a wide range of crimes to theft, traffic violations, assault, embezzlement or fraud, to name a few options.
A criminal attorney will be expected to defend their client in court by reviewing the accusations, interpreting the law, researching similar cases and precedents, interviewing witnesses, negotiating plea agreements if necessary, creating motions and appeals if a case is lost and is appealed to a higher court.
A criminal defense attorney is required to complete the necessary educational requirements: graduating from a four-year college with a BA, followed by a JD from an accredited three year law school. The attorney will also need to pass the bar exam for the state they want to work in.
A paralegal acts in a supportive role for the attorney, helping in the background preparations for a trial, including helping to locate and interview witnesses and review applicable court cases and preparing briefs to assist the attorney. There are paralegal degrees and certificate courses available, but it is not an absolute necessity in some law firms.
Attorneys and paralegals can work in private practices specializing in criminal law, in a district attorney's office or for a public defender, who works with clients that cannot afford their own legal counsel. They will need to be prepared to defend their client in many different courts including federal, appellate or district courses, depending on the nature of the crime.
Because of the variety of laws that can be broken, a criminal attorney or paralegal has to be aware of how these laws apply to their client and work to defend their clients rights after they are accused of these crimes.
There are many opportunities for people to work in the criminal law niche as criminal activity continues to increase. However, there is a wide salary range for criminal lawyers ranging from a modest public defendant salary to attorneys who have high profile clients and cases. Criminal defense jobs are available across the country for the right candidates.