When you have an illness where do you go to get treatment? Do you go to a general practitioner? What if you had a heart condition? Would you still see a general practitioner or would you see someone who specialized in heart conditions like a cardiologist? I’m guessing you would see the cardiologist. That’s not saying your general practitioner doesn’t know anything about heart conditions; it’s saying there is a doctor that knows more about your particular ailment. The same goes for defense lawyers. There are some that represent several areas and then there are those that specialize in certain areas of law.
Let’s talk about defense attorneys versus public defenders first. They both represent people who have been accused of criminal activity. The difference is a public defender is assigned by the court to someone who cannot pay for an attorney. A defense attorney is hired by the defendant. Public defenders may not have the same resources and time available to them that a defense attorney has and may not be able to give a defendant the personal attention they desire. Public defenders are usually juggling many cases at once.
Perhaps you are being charged with a crime against the state. State laws this would apply to would be traffic violations, family disputes, robberies and other things. Retaining a defense attorney that specializes in state law would a wiser choice than retaining a defense attorney that specializes in business law. And state law differs from federal law. If you find yourself facing an action brought about by the federal government, finding an attorney who specializes in federal law is the attorney you will want to retain. Federal lawsuits might involve breaking the Constitution, bankruptcy, copyright infringement or patent cases.
Even if you lose your case in court, you may still keep the process going. You can appeal the decision and file with the appellate court. There are lawyers that specialize in appellate cases. In addition to making sure you have the lawyer who specializes in the type of lawsuit you are facing, it is also smart to hire an attorney for the stage of the case. Some attorneys specialize in trial law while others are better at researching.
When the need for a defense attorney arises, remember to think carefully about the type of defense you require and the stage your case is at. This could make all the difference to your outcome.