Unfortunately, there are times in life when we will need a lawyer, an attorney or a criminal defense attorney. Separations and divorces, purchasing a home or business, having a will drawn or needing defense against a crime like drunk driving are all cases when you require legal counsel.
Knowing what type of counsel to hire is essential. A lawyer isn’t going to be able to provide a solid defense in a criminal proceeding, just like a criminal defense attorney isn’t the best person to guide you through your divorce. Each of these three types of legal counsel differs in whether and how they practice law.
What is the Difference?
There are three main types of legal counsel for hire: criminal defense attorneys, lawyers and attorneys. Each has a unique expertise within the law. Each of these types of legal counsel can be broken down further into specialties. Here are the overall differences of the three.
Criminal Defense Attorney
A criminal defense attorney manages cases where a person has been charged with a criminal act due to their own negligence, like drunk driving. These can be private attorneys, like a Redwood City Criminal Defense Attorney, or they can be public defenders who are assigned to cases by the court.
Public defenders are used when a client doesn’t have the means to hire a criminal defense attorney but requires representation. A redwood city criminal defense attorney may have a specialty within the law, such as narcotics or DUI charges. These attorneys manage cases from the charges, bail, court proceeding and all the way through to any appeals.
While the terms “lawyer” and “attorney” are often used interchangeably, they are not exactly the same thing. The American Bar Association acknowledges the difference between the two, even if the average layperson does not.
A lawyer has had legal training but does not necessarily practice law. This applies to law students who haven’t yet passed the bar. They can provide legal advice as lawyers, but not practice the law.
An attorney, or attorney-at-law as they are officially known, is someone who is legally trained, has passed the bar exam and is licensed to practice law. They can be defenders or prosecutors.
An attorney is a lawyer, but a lawyer is not necessarily an attorney. An attorney can specialize in a specific type of law, such as family law, criminal law, real estate law or finance law. They can also offer broader legal services rather than having a specialty.
When do you need a Criminal Defense Attorney?
If you have been charged with a crime, you need a criminal defense attorney. This applies even if you did not commit the crime or you committed the crime unintentionally. For example, you were pulled over and blew over the legal limit for alcohol and subsequently charged with drunk driving.
You were not aware that you had drank too much and would not intentionally drink and drive. For your own best defense, you need a Criminal Defense Attorney who can guide you through the process, help you make decisions about how to proceed, and give you the best defense possible.
Hopefully you will never need a Redwood City criminal defense attorney, but if the time comes, ensure you give yourself the best chance by using the right type of attorney.