Criminal defense law involves the aggressive and dedicated legal representation of individuals who have -- or may be -- charged with committing a state or federal crime.
All too often, criminal defense attorneys are asked “how can you do defend those people?” and the answer is an easy one: because it’s the right thing to do.
Our system of justice is only as good as the legal protections in place to insure that justice is done: that the innocent go free and that the guilty are not punished unfairly or excessively. All too often, institutions like The Innocence Project find that men and women insisting upon their innocence have been deprived of their freedom and their lives for years on end, due to a failure of our justice system to be fair and accurate. All too often, excessive sentences are imposed that are (hopefully) overturned on appeal.
It is the goal of every good criminal defense lawyer to protect the rights of the individual at every turn and to fight hard to keep injustice from happening. Defending the accused has become the life’s work of Miami attorney Ken Swartz and he is passionate about it.
Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure
Criminal law is a collection of state and federal statutes defining actions deemed offensive to our society as a whole, as well as regulating the investigation, apprehension, charging, trial, and punishment of the alleged offender. Members of both state legislatures and the U.S. Congress draft proposed criminal laws, which are then voted into law by the legislative body. Additionally, courts can also decide that certain activities are against the law and define certain things to be crimes, as can municipalities, counties, and other governing bodies.
Criminal procedure deals with the process of enforcing criminal laws defining what is considered a crime, as well as the scope of punishment applicable to that crime. The United States sets high standards for protecting the individual citizen throughout the criminal law process. Based upon the United States Constitution, our rules of criminal procedure require each citizen be presumed innocent of the charge; his guilt must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt; and his punishment cannot be cruel and unusual.
Crimes are categorized according to their severity; felonies are the more serious offenses and carry the heavier punishments. Conviction of a felony under state or federal law will entail the loss of many years of freedom behind bars, to life imprisonment and even death. Because felony punishments are so severe, the American system of justice has set up tremendous procedural protections, all of which are founded upon those rights outlined in the U.S. Constitution. For example, the Sixth Amendment requires that felony defendants receive a speedy trial as well as having the assistance of an florida criminal defense attorney during the proceedings, and the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the Fifth Amendment right to not incriminate oneself requires the proper giving by law enforcement of the well-known “Miranda warning.” Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966).