Role of Experience in Criminal Defense

The following is taken from an interview with a Richmond criminal lawyer as he talks about his criminal defense experience and the role it plays in criminal cases today. To schedule a consultation with criminal attorney in Richmond call today.

What Are Some of The Places That You’ve Worked or Trained in the Past That Have Prepared You For A Career in Criminal Defense?

Well, I started out back in 2002. I and another attorney, started a practice here in the Richmond area, but we also opened an office in the Northern Neck of Virginia. There are about four counties out there, along the shore of the Chesapeake Bay.

I learned to practice criminal law in Richmond and the Northern Neck.  I began taking appointed cases in the Northern Neck and Chesterfield Courts, everything from, reckless driving tickets to, rape and malicious wounding cases.   I did that to not only build up my practice but gain experience arguing before Judges and Juries.  After 4 or 5 years I stopped taking appointed cases and concentrated primarily in the Richmond/tri-cities area.  I also expanded into taking Civil cases and family law matters.

Why Do You Think These Experiences Have Helped You to Become a Better Criminal Defense Attorney?

Primarily just learning how to work with my clients and handle cases in front of a Judge or Jury.  With criminal defense, the best way to learn is with hands on experience.

Having experience with serious felony cases and handling a heavy case load by myself was invaluable. Learning how to handle and argue various cases was great.  You have to understand what to argue, how to argue it, knowing the law backwards and forward, but also primarily getting accustomed to how the courts work, how different jurisdictions work. You also have to understand the different judges and prosecutors offices that you will deal with from one county or city to another

How Much of a Role Does Experience Play in a Criminal Case?

Experience if very crucial in a criminal case.  If you’ve handled a case before, you might have seen certain issues and know certain cases that can help your present matter.  With experience also comes a comfort level in presenting yourself before a court.

Having knowledge of a local jurisdiction helps a great deal.  Familiarity with the judges, prosecutors, and clerks is always beneficial.  You want to have an understanding of how a judge and jurisdiction work is crucial to presenting a defense.

What About Having Just Local Experience, How Much of a Role Does That Play?

Again, there is a big effect because besides having familiarity with the court and judges, you are able to build a personal relationship with prosecutors and officers in the jurisdiction as well.

If you have a personal relationship with prosecutors and officers it helps in communicating the issues of a case and can help in negotiating a resolution.