The most common usage of the term “sealed record” refers to the court’s act of concealing a criminal record from public view. Criminal record sealing is typically more common than complete expungement due to the fact that the information still holds importance with the state. It is a process by which record of criminal conviction is destroyed or sealed after the expiration of time.
The expungement won’t be given occasionally. Public criminal records are often not removed for charged crimes and first degree situations as well as sexual assault, rape instances and sexual acts with children. Approving a removal of records depends upon the criminal offenses concerned and the laws. However, each state has different policies and the overall effect of the expungement will depend on your situation. Record sealing and expungement are especially valuable practices as they afford people with criminal backgrounds a second chance which reduces recidivism and increases the numbers of employed taxpayers.
When a criminal defense attorney first opens his practice, he may choose to develop a niche in a certain area of criminal law. Between felonies and misdemeanors there are a number of crimes in which a new lawyer may specialize. If the accused individual has the means to hire a lawyer, he will most likely choose one who often successfully represents others who have been accused of the same or a similar crime.
Crimes Handled by a Criminal Defense Attorney
The most well-known crimes – the ones that end up on police shows and detective stories – are those involving violent crimes. Violent crimes encompass crimes that purposefully bring harm to others: armed robbery, arson, assault and battery, carjacking, homicide, and kidnapping, to name just a few examples. These crimes are considered felonies are punished most often with a long prison sentence. Since he may spend half his life behind bars, an individual being accused of a violent crime will should definitely hire an attorney who has already successfully handled cases involving similar felonies.
Capital offenses comprise another relatively familiar category introduced to us through both real life and fictional accounts of police investigations. Those being accused of these crimes usually face the death sentence. The defendant will definitely want to hire a criminal defense attorney who has a thorough understanding of the complexities of constitutional issues, forensic evidence and the appeal process. At least there will be hope of decreasing a death sentence to a prison life sentence.
White collar crimes are non-violent crimes like fraud, insider-trading or embezzlement. These crimes have their own complex issues that are different from violent or capital crimes. A lawyer who’s familiar with proving “absence of intent” (the defendant didn’t intentionally commit the crime) or “entrapment” (the defendant was lured or forced to commit the crime by an employer or other individual), will be the best choice for the defendant since he will understand the laws specifically related to these types of non-violent crimes.
Unfortunately driving under the influence violations are common enough for a criminal defense attorney find a niche. A DUI charge accuses an individual of driving while under the influence of alcohol and putting other drivers in danger by their erratic driving. A lawyer who specializes in DUI cases studies the possible inaccuracies of breathalyzers and other tests used by the police to diagnose a DUI driver. They are familiar with common ways to either dismiss the case or reduce the accused individual’s sentence.
Finally, some attorneys decide to work for the government as a public defender. They represent those who don’t have the funds to hire their own criminal defense attorney. Public defenders don’t always have the freedom to choose their clients, so their area of expertise may or may not be used in each case. A public defender is often assigned too many cases at once, so it may be hard to study the specific laws related to their client’s crimes. A broad knowledge of criminal law will definitely be helpful!
After an individual has been arrested and accused of committing a crime, he or she will face arraignment, where he or she will enter a plea of guilty, no contest, or not guilty. Should the individual enter a plea of not guilty, the court must decide whether to proceed with the case.
This process to determine whether a case should proceed to trial is called the preliminary hearing. The preliminary hearing is often referred to as the trial before the trial, because it works much like a regular criminal trial does.
During a preliminary hearing, an accused individual and his or her lawyer will present the defendant’s case along with any evidence and witnesses that are available. The prosecutor, which is the government, will also present its evidence and witnesses against the defendant.
After this happens, the judge must make a decision. Usually, this decision is founded in two vitally important questions:
1. Did the crime occur in the court’s jurisdiction?
2. Is there enough evidence to provide probable cause that the defendant committed the crime?
If the answer to both of these questions is yes, then the judge will usually charge the defendant with a crime. If the answer to even one of the questions is no, then the judge must drop charges, and the individual is free from the criminal accusations.
Should the case progress, the defendant will face a criminal trial, during which a jury or his or her peers will determine whether he or she is guilty or innocent.
An individual’s future may greatly hinge on his or her preliminary hearings, so it is important for individuals accused of crimes to hire experienced criminal defense to handle their cases during the preliminary stages.