How to Become a Criminal Lawyer


If you find yourself on the wrong end of a criminal charge, it’s best to contact a criminal lawyer as soon as possible. Whether it’s a less serious misdemeanor, such as a traffic ticket or a more serious offense like assault, fraud or theft, a criminal attorney can help protect your rights and defend you against the charges. The first step is to schedule an initial consultation with a criminal attorney, which is typically free of charge. This will allow them to hear the details of your case and determine the most appropriate legal strategy for defense.

The most common career path for criminal lawyers is to work as a private attorney or public defender. Others choose to become prosecutors at the state, county or federal level. Finally, some decide to enter the political arena and effect change at the highest levels of government.

During their law school studies, most students are introduced to the field of criminal justice through a combination of courses and experiential learning opportunities. “First-year criminal law classes consistently inspire students to pursue a career in this area,” Professor Hansen says. “In addition, most students have been exposed to various aspects of criminal law through the media and entertainment.”

Once a student is admitted to practice as an attorney, they will spend years honing their skills in a variety of environments. Many attorneys will shadow or intern with more experienced attorneys to learn the ropes before they take on their own cases.