If you are suspected of a crime or charged with a violation of law, you may require the services of a criminal defense attorney to present your defense or negotiate a penalty.
As different rules and procedures exist for different offenses, you should seek a criminal defense attorney who has worked on your particular type of case to provide you with the best defense. An experienced criminal defense attorney knows what information the government will need to prove your guilt. The defense attorney will also know what information you need to prove your innocence, including whether there are any legal rules justifying your actions.
If you file a lawsuit and lose the case, you can appeal the decision to the next highest court, which is called the appellate court.
Appellate lawyers often specialize in arguing appeals; that is, they specialize in arguing why the decision of the lower court was wrong (or why it was right, for the party that won). Appellate attorneys specialize in appeals because they understand the specific and detailed rules that must be followed. It is possible to lose an appeal on technicalities, even when the law is on your side. If you want to appeal the outcome of the trial court, or if you need to argue against another person’s appeal, you should work with an appellate attorney.
Juvenile law applies to young children and teenagers—usually defined as less than eighteen years old, depending on the state.
Minors accused of breaking the law are processed under a juvenile justice system. This system is completely separate from the one used for adults, and the penalties involved are usually far less severe than in the adult system. Juvenile law also carries certain protections that do not apply to adults; for example, names are kept confidential and parents can be present during police questioning. A lawyer who specializes in juvenile law will help minors understand the juvenile justice system and present their defense in juvenile court.
Sometimes a government agency such as Child Protective Services makes charges of child abuse and neglect, or child physical or emotional abuse in Dependency court. Because of the children’s’ tender age, these cases frequently are complicated. You may seek a Dependency lawyer whether you have been accused by Child Protective Service.
If you are involved in a domestic violence case, you may want to hire an experienced domestic violence (DV) lawyer.
A DV attorney can help protect you if you or your family have been the victim of domestic violence. An attorney can file restraining orders and make changes to your child custody agreement in order to protect you and your family. Conversely, if you have been accused of physically or mentally threatening someone close to you (e.g., a family member, boyfriend, girlfriend, or partner), you should contact a lawyer with experience in domestic violence cases. DV lawyers can also defend you against false accusations of domestic violence, which might otherwise put you at a disadvantage in divorce or child custody negotiations.