Why would anyone need a criminal lawyer (also known as a criminal attorney) in the first place? What is a criminal lawyer? What do they do? What are they for? Why should I possible need one?
These are all good questions, and the answers are relatively simple, if somewhat troubling. You need a criminal lawyer if you've been accused of a crime. If you've been arrested or charged with a crime, a criminal attorney will be crucial for you and for your future. A criminal attorney will defend you in court. A criminal attorney will take your side, and use his or her extensive education in the law to defend you from the charges that have been leveled against you. A criminal lawyer can be compared to a doctor, that is, an expert who comes in and takes care of something that you're not capable of taking care of yourself. A criminal lawyer is your friend in those very tight, very terrible situations where you either make a bad choice or find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time and are suddenly facing the possibility of jail, fines, community service, and worse.
What are some example of situations in which a criminal lawyer or criminal attorney would be required? Well, let's say you are driving in your car and you get pulled over for speeding. Your car is registered and insured, and your record's clean. No problem, right? The police officer comes to your window and asks for your information. Then he spots something on the floor of your car and asks you to step out for a moment. You do, he reaches inside your car, and comes back out again with something in his hand. It's a pill. It's your pill. Let's say it's a painkiller, one that was prescribed to you months ago and fell out of the pharmacy bottle by mistake. You didn't know it was there; you no longer need the pills; you don't have the pharmacy bottle or prescription with you. After all, your injury occurred months ago, right? You had forgotten all about it.
In this case, a criminal lawyer or criminal attorney might be needed. If the officer decides to charge you with possession of illegal drugs, you could be in big trouble even if you're innocent. A criminal lawyer would come in and smooth things over for you. He or she would work with you so that you could get the right information to the right people and be released without a criminal record. This is a relatively minor example of a situation in which a criminal attorney or criminal lawyer might be needed. Being charged with a crime is always a fairly serious matter, though, so a criminal lawyer will be needed in any case, however minor.
Another, more serious, example of a case where a criminal lawyer would be needed is as follows. Let's say that you make a stupid choice and decide to accompany a friend as he robs a local gas station. You think it's no big deal; he's just trying to get a little money and beer. When you arrive at the gas station, it turns out that your friend has a gun. He holds the place up. Something goes wrong, the police arrive, and you're both arrested. Obviously, you're in a lot of trouble here. You've been involved in armed robbery. It may seem as though your future is pretty bleak at this point. But a criminal lawyer or criminal attorney might be able to make things a little better for you. He or she could defend you: they could argue that you didn't know your friend would have a gun, etc., and your punishment might therefore be smaller than it would have been without a criminal lawyer present.
The basic thing to remember at the end of the day is: it is your right to have a criminal attorney or lawyer defend you in case you've been charged with a crime. Even if the charge is very, very serious, a criminal lawyer or criminal attorney will be of vital assistance to you.