The Criminal Law Handbook – Know Your Rights, Survive the System

“The Criminal Law Handbook: Know Your Rights, Survive the System” by Attorneys Paul Bergman & Sara J. Berman is an impressive 678 page tome of information all about criminal law. The book sets out to assist you with understanding the confusing rules and procedures involved with criminal offences and to teach you how the system works, why police, lawyers, and judges do what they do, and most importantly, what you can do to limit the harm. I feel it accomplishes that goal very well. Most of the book is written in an understandable question-and-answer format to explain the criminal justice system, both inside and outside the courtroom. It goes from initial police questioning through trials to prison and parole.

One must remember that Nolo focuses on making the law accessible to everyone, and the books published by Nolo do an outstanding job of doing just that. Therefore, this book isn’t a criminal law text book as you would find in law school, but a comprehensive guide for the non-lawyer or layperson. For such a guide, it is very good and includes a lot of information.

The twenty-seven chapters are broken down like this:

Chapter One: Talking to the Police. Chapter provides information on police questioning of people who haven’t been taken into custody and questioning of arrestees.

Chapter Two: Search and Seizure. Some of the topics covered here include: search warrants, plain view doctrine, stop and frisk, searches of cars, and warrantless searches.

Chapter Three: Arrest: When It Happens, What It Means. This chapter covers general arrest principles, arrest warrants, warrantless arrests, use of force when making arrests, and citizens’ arrests.

Chapter Four: Eyewitness Identification: Psychology and Procedures. Topics include eyewitness identification procedures, psychology of eyewitness identification, lineups, showups, photo identification, and motions to suppress identification.

Chapter Five: Booking and Bail: Checking In and Out of Jail. The booking process, arranging for bail, and being released on your own recognizance are covered here.

Chapter Six: From Suspect to Defendant. This chapter focuses on crime and criminal cases and charging, grand juries, and diversion.

Chapter Seven: Criminal Defense Lawyers. Do you need a lawyer, court-appointed attorneys, private defense attorneys, and self-representation are covered in this chapter.

Chapter Eight: Understanding the Attorney-Client Relationship in a Criminal Case. Topics include confidentiality, client-centered decision making, lawyer-client communication, among others.

Chapter Nine: A Walk Through Criminal Court. The courthouse, courtroom, courtroom players, and courtroom behavior are explained.

Chapter Ten: Arraignments. Timing and self-representation at arraignments are looked at here.

Chapter Eleven: Developing the Defense Strategy. Just what the chapter title says, the basics of defense strategy.

Chapter Twelve: Crimespeak: Understanding the Language of Criminal Laws. Basics about things such as murder and manslaughter, sexual violence, burglary, robbery, hate crimes, Patriot Act and more.

Chapter Thirteen: Defensespeak: Common Defenses to Criminal Charges. Topics such as partial defenses, self-defense, alibi, and insanity are covered here among others.

Chapter Fourteen: Discovery: Exchanging Information With the Prosecution. Discovery is an important part of any legal or civil case and this chapter provides the basics for the criminal arena.

Chapter Fifteen: Investigating the Facts. Interviews and witnesses are a couple of the things covered here.

Chapter Sixteen: Preliminary Hearings. What they are, what your rights are, and common strategies of both sides are presented here.

Chapter Seventeen: Fundamental Trial Rights of the Defense. Topics covered include: Due Process, Burden of Proof, Right to Remain Silent, Right to Confront Witnesses, Right to Jury Trial, Right to Counsel, and others.

Chapter Eighteen: Basic Evidence Rules in Criminal Trials. There are procedures that must be followed when presenting evidence and this chapter provides guidelines for doing it right.

Chapter Nineteen: Motions and Their Role in Criminal Cases. Learn what they are and what they are for in this chapter.

Chapter Twenty: Plea Bargains: How Most Criminal Cases End. Basics on plea bargains, the pros and cons, the process, and the strategy of negotiating plea bargains are covered in this chapter.

Chapter Twenty-one: The Trial Process. Good chapter on the various aspects of a trial from choosing a judge or jury to deliberations and verdict.

Chapter Twenty-two: Sentencing: How the Court Punishes Convicted Defendants. The basics of sentencing procedures and options and a bit about the death penalty.

Chapter Twenty-three. Appeals: Seeking Review by a Higher Court. Losing at trial does not necessarily mean it is over. This chapter covers appeals and writs.

Chapter Twenty-four: How the Criminal Justice System Works: A Walk Through Two Drunk Driving Cases. Examples using drunk driving.

Chapter Twenty-five: Juvenile Courts and Procedures. Special chapter explaining the how things work in Juvenile Courts.

Chapter Twenty-six: Prisoners’ Rules. Information covering prisons and prisoners’ rights, legal resources, parole and pardons.

Chapter Twenty-seven. Looking Up the Law. What and where to research, including a glossary.

Again, this book is a large tome of information. It is organized well and has many side-bars and examples. If you have a question regarding criminal law, more than likely this book will have an answer. The authors do point out that the law varies from state to state, and I’d recommend that besides this book, anyone dealing with the criminal system on their own look to the statutes in the jurisdiction they are in to ensure they have the law that is applicable to their case. That’s why I really like that the final chapter provides guidance in this area. The authors also note that the book is not intended as a detailed guide to self-representation. It is a thorough overview of the entire system, but it’s not everything, and that’s because you can’t put everything regarding our complex system in one book.

This is an excellent tour of the criminal justice system and one of the best resources around for the layperson who wants or needs to navigate the complex maze of rules and laws that make up our system. I recommend it highly for anyone who wants to know all about criminal law.

Criminal Attorney Guide

Las Vegas is known as America’s playground. Millions of Americans come to Las Vegas every year to enjoy the casinos, the nightlife and all the glamor and excitement this vibrant city has to offer. Sometimes, however, things go wrong. If you or someone you know has been arrested or faces arrest in LV, Nevada, you need to get a good Las Vegas Criminal Attorney fast.

If it is your first time having to face the law on criminal charges, you will not know what to do. Innocent or guilty, you have the constitutional right to the attorney of your choice. Because of the vital importance of your situation, it is equally importance to obtain the services of an experienced, local attorney.

Any lawyer will tell you that local knowledge and connections are important. Your criminal defense attorney must be able to act fast on your behalf. For this reason, you are better off contacting a Las Vegas, Nevada Criminal Attorney first. If you have legal counsel elsewhere, they can be contacted later, if necessary.

Whatever the severity of the charges, although you are legally entitled to defend yourself or have a court appointed attorney act on your behalf, either of these options can have devastating results. Get a qualified, local attorney to help you and you stand the best chance of getting a favorable result.

A good criminal lawyer will have experience with a large spectrum of criminal charges. In Las Vegas, they often represent a unique type of client – the client who has been charged with attempting to defraud a casino. The casinos take these charges very seriously and will attempt to have even minor cases of fraud prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Las Vegas is also a place of heightened emotions, both good and bad. If you or someone you know has been arrested for assault or assault and battery, you will need the services of a LV criminal attorney. The first thing he will do for you is post your bail. After that, he will be at your side every step of the way, to ensure that you get the best defense available.

In the State of Nevada, even a first offense can incur a stiff penalty. Your first offense could earn you up to six months in Clark County Detention Center if you are convicted. You will also face fines and court costs and be obligated to perform up to 120 hours of community service. Your defence lawyer will do everything in his power to have your case dismissed. If that is not possible, he will argue for the lowest term of incarceration he can possibly get for you.

A competent Las Vegas Criminal Attorney will have experience in criminal law ranging from traffic violations to the most serious accusations of violence. He made a pledge from the time he got his license to practice law to defend his clients to the full extent of the law. Your best defense is his only concern. If you or someone you know has gotten into trouble with the law in Las Vegas, the first thing you should do is contact a criminal attorney. Remember, it is your right as a citizen. Exercise that right and know that your case is in good hands.

Being arrested for a crime is a very scary thing to go through. In Las Vegas, there are many law firms that specialize in Las Vegas criminal defense. When selecting an attorney it is a good idea to talk to several and try to go with the best one.

Legal Defense Is Vital in Criminal Law Issues

Getting a good lawyer is important to having a positive outcome in legal charges, especially criminal ones. The legal process is often long and involved, it helps to have a good guide to help make things work out better.

Getting a fair chance in a courtroom is often a matter of getting good legal representation. Actually, more often than it used to be, the legal system is bypassing court cases in favor of working out legal problems with the prosecutors and defense attorneys outside a courtroom.

While some people only ever hear about what it is like to cut a deal with the DA, others realize this option might be their best chance at getting a fair deal in the system. A typical criminal case will often go like this: a crime is thought to be committed, charges are brought against a person law enforcement believes they can build a case against provided there will be a jury to prove it to, the accused is required to appear in court in front of a judge for arraignment. Following arraignment, a decision is made as to whether the person accused can be let free, either with bail or without, or must be placed back into jail. Sometimes there will be multiple charges brought against an individual at one time, but under the jurisdiction of multiple courts like city, county, state or even federal. As a person awaits trail or the working out of a deal between a criminal attorney and the prosecutors, they might need to have defenses for more than one crime. Sometimes there is an option to plead to a lower charge than the one they have been charged of, or to make a plea in abeyance which normally is dismissed following a program of therapy, recovery treatments or community service.

Criminal Lawyer in Vancouver for Defending Open Soliciting Charges

Prostitution is not entirely illegal in Canada. The law restricts neither sex worker nor their clients. However, there are certain conditions on which people would trespass on the wrong side of the law. One of the major misconducts is soliciting in public places. Offences in bawdy houses, generally the brothels and pimping that includes procuring and living on the avails of a prostitute are also dealt under criminal law in Vancouver.

“Soliciting” and “public places” are defined in Section 213, entitled Offence in Relation to Prostitution, under Part VII of the criminal code, dealing with Disorderly Houses, Gaming and Betting:

1. Every person who in a public place or in any place open to public view
a. stops or attempts to stop any motor vehicle,
b. impedes the free flow of pedestrian or vehicular traffic or ingress to or egress from premises adjacent to that place, or
c. stops or attempts to stop any person or in any manner communicates or attempts to communicate with any person for the purpose of engaging in prostitution or of obtaining the sexual services of a prostitute is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

2. In this section, “public place” includes any place to which the public have access as of right or by invitation, express or implied, and any motor vehicle located in a public place or in any place open to public view.

Procuring is elaborately explained in Section 212 and those related to bawdy houses in Section 210. In Vancouver, criminal lawyer suggest the individuals who are charged under these sections should take recourse to professional legal action. It is essential because they might lose a range of liberties. This could imply that they are prohibited from entering into certain parts of the city. The criminal law might even compel them to undergo therapies.

The criminal lawyers are helpful for precautionary measures because they can help in avoiding a criminal charge. There are further implications of such a charge. The defendants would be convicted to a jail term, they would have to pay penalties or they would be put on probation. The legal professionals can guide them in procedures and in steps like pleading not guilty. This last step, for example, would allow access to the evidence.

If individuals are caught on the wrong side of the law for soliciting on the street, it is crucial for them to acquire necessary legal assistance. Above all, the law clearly mentions what is and what is not included and implied in such charges.

Qualities Desirable in a Criminal Defense Lawyer

A criminal defense lawyer is an integral part of any criminal case procedure. He is a qualified defense attorney to represent individuals charged of any criminal case. He is responsible to ensure that the accused gets the right treatment from law.

He is responsible to bring the facts before a court of law. He needs to represent the accused in order to give argument on behalf of the accused and help a wrongly accused person from legal punishment. Hence, he should be a highly experienced person with years of experience in a specialized section of law. He should be well-versed with the laws of the State and provide guidance to the accused in a case.

There are various criteria on which a criminal lawyer is selected. Mostly people search for reputed defense attorneys with years of experience and a successful track record over the years. Some of the qualities desirable in him/her are elaborated below:

A defense attorney should be passionate about law and should strive hard to ensure fair trial and justice for the client.

It is necessary to possess confidence for representing individuals in court of law. Lawyers with high confidence make good defense options.

He should upfront in raising questions and taking initiative in the legal proceedings. He should be available at all times to support and guide his client.

Well-versed with jurisdiction
He needs to be well-versed with the legal proceedings to offer proper assistance in criminal cases to the clients in order to ensure no loopholes in the legal procedure.

Friendly and well-connected
A good criminal lawyer is always well-connected and holds strong ties with legal authorities, police and other authoritative persons.

He needs to hold years of experience in criminal law services and should have handled certain special cases and specific domains as well.