Criminal Paralegal

What is a criminal paralegal?

This paralegal is one who has completed a paralegal or legal studies program. They work with and under the direction of an attorney.

They are not authorized to practice law.

An associate’s degree is one of the most popular ways for people to gain entry to the paralegal profession. If you possess a bachelor’s degree, you’ll find that a certificate in paralegal studies will be necessary for employment.

Criminal legal assistants work for...

  • Public prosecutors or district attorneys,
  • county attorneys,
  • state's attorneys,
  • public defenders,
  • private attorneys, and
  • victim’s rights organizations.

Criminal law is continually changing. New laws are enacted and opinions are published creating a changing legal landscape. It’s necessary for criminal paralegals to stay abreast of these changes to effectively assist their clients.

You must be familiar with the basic classification of crimes and the legal procedures surrounding search and seizure, arrest, bail, and probation.

Role Of The Criminal Legal Assistant

This paralegal's role is an evidentiary one. It’s critical for all the facts of a case be reviewed, verified, and compared to other facts. That said, you’ll find some of these duties listed below apply depending on whether you work for the prosecution or the defense.

  • interview witnesses,
  • read investigative reports,
  • prepare motions,
  • prepare exhibits,
  • assist with management of witnesses and exhibits at trial,
  • draft criminal complaints,
  • organize presentation of evidence,
  • keep crime victims informed of the status of the prosecution,
  • research questions of law related to the charges,
  • review and analyze results of police investigation, and
  • research possible defenses available to the defendant.

The nature of criminal law can be emotionally charged. You need to be objective and focus on the facts of the case. Criminal paralegals enjoy this work and succeed at it because they place the importance and focus on the case and not on the defendant.

Future of The Criminal Legal Assistant

Employment is bright for those working in criminal law. Their skills and experience are very useful particularly since there is no shortage of crime taking place.

Both victims and defendants require legal guidance to navigate the criminal courts.

You can, therefore, expect to earn $42,820 according to Legal Assistant Today (this salary is based on 2007 report).

Also, the Bureau of Labor Statistics finds that paralegal job opportunities will grow 22% between the 2006 and 2016. The growth is due both to employers delegating more basic legal work to legal assistants and an expanding population needing more legal assistance in areas like eldercare, environmental law, and intellectual property.

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