Criminal law addresses a variety of behaviors and actions that are considered illegal by state and/or the federal government. When individuals are charged with criminal offenses, they will need the legal guidance of an experienced Silver Spring criminal lawyer. The following crimes, among many others, are considered criminal offenses:
- Gun crimes
- Drug offenses
- Sex crimes
Contact a professional attorney today and protect your freedoms.
Consequences of Criminal Offenses
If a person is convicted of a criminal offense, they can face penalties such as imprisonment, legal fines, and post-release supervision, and those convicted of felonies will lose their right to vote.
In addition to these penalties, a criminal record often makes it difficult to find housing and employment, and to pass a background check. Continue reading to learn more about criminal charges and the laws governing them.
Misdemeanor vs. Felony Charges
The state and federal governments separate crimes in two primary categories – misdemeanors and felonies. Each state, including Maryland, has its own set of criminal laws, and what is legal in one state may be illegal in another. Crimes classified as felonies are serious, and they often result in long prison sentences, in the most extreme circumstances, even death.
Misdemeanors result in lighter prison sentences, and individuals convicted of misdemeanors usually do not spend more than a year in jail. Less severe offenses, such as simple driving offenses are referred to as infractions. Regardless of the crime a person is accused of, hiring a Silver Spring criminal lawyer can be helpful.
The Role of Police Officers, Lawyers, and Judges
In the criminal law system, police officers investigate crimes and apprehend those suspected of committing them. They collect evidence and turn it over to prosecutors (lawyers who prosecute criminals). Prosecutors examine the evidence collected by the police and attempt to construct a case against the defendant (the person charged with a crime).
In many cases, there will be a jury, a group of individuals who will hear arguments from the prosecutor and defense attorney, and decide whether the defendant is guilty. The judge, who oversees the case and maintains order during the trial, will be tasked with sentencing the defendant if they are found guilty. Judges also have the power to overrule the decision of the jury.
Criminal Defense Attorneys
Individuals who are charged with a misdemeanor or felony will almost certainly need legal help from a qualified Silver Spring criminal attorney. Defense lawyers are an essential part of the justice system, and they strive to point out shortcomings or potential flaws in the argument of the prosecutor.
These individuals also examine the evidence collected by law enforcement officials, and they will notify the court if they believe the officers violated the rights of the defendant to collect it.
Learn More from a Silver Spring Criminal Attorney Today
If you have been charged with a criminal offense, you will almost definitely need help from an experienced Silver Spring criminal lawyer. Criminal offenses are extremely serious, and attempting to defend yourself is never a good idea.
The legal system is made up of various components and individuals, and you will need someone with in-depth knowledge to represent you.