All You Need to Know About Criminal Law

Don't Navigate the Legal System Alone

Dealing with criminal charges can be a scary and overwhelming experience for anyone. At Issa Castro, we understand this feeling, which is why our team of experienced lawyers has compiled a wealth of information to help guide you educate yourself through the ins and outs of criminal law. 


However, despite our best effort to provide you with a complete library of everything you need to know, we also understand that every case is unique. Which is why we desire for you to gain valuable insights and knowledge through your scrolling, but also want you to know that we are here for you and have your back. 


So whether you’re seeking legal advice or simply looking to educate yourself about criminal law, our expert team is here to answer any questions that arise.

Featured Videos

Video Playlist
Riding Dirty - Drug Trafficking Charges | Issa & Castro Law Firm
Riding Dirty - Drug Trafficking Charges | Issa & Castro Law Firm
Criminal Procedure 101 with Mark Issa | Criminal Attorney in Atlanta
Criminal Procedure 101 with Mark Issa | Criminal Attorney in Atlanta
Where Are Your Guns? | Issa & Castro Law Firm
Where Are Your Guns? | Issa & Castro Law Firm
It's the Differences that Make the Difference | Issa & Castro Law Firm
It's the Differences that Make the Difference | Issa & Castro Law Firm
Wrongful Death - You Are Not Alone | Issa & Castro Law Firm
Wrongful Death - You Are Not Alone | Issa & Castro Law Firm
LS Got Marijuana
LS Got Marijuana

Criminal Law Letters

As part of our commitment to providing the most valuable legal resources to the public, we offer a Criminal Law Letter Template that you can download for FREE.

This template includes a variety of sample letters that you can use to address common issues in criminal cases. Simply enter your email address in the form provided to receive the direct download link.

MOST COMMON QUESTION: What can I expect after I’m arrested?

You can expect that you’ll be treated unfairly. Seriously. The most important thing you can do is keep your cool. Lay low, stay cool, be nice. The government may not show you respect, so know that and keep yourself as calm as possible. In other words, remain silent and respectful. Yes, give your real name and address, but DO NOT talk to ANYONE about what did or didn’t happen in your case.


If you’re the loved one of someone who’s been arrested, they’re going to jail. They’ll be handcuffed, transported by the Atlanta Police Department to the county jail, and eventually be placed in a position to make a phone call. Our jails are pretty crowded, so that call might not come for 6 to 8 hours.

Sometimes your charges are bailable, and sometimes they’re not. Once you’ve been processed, the deputy in charge will let you know what’s up. If your charges are bailable, you’ll be given the chance to make a phone call, and do it in this order: loved one, bondsman, criminal defense attorney. If your charges are not bailable, you’ll appear before a magistrate judge (usually called a first appearance) who will address this bail situation.


Assuming you make bail, you’ll be released from custody as soon as the paperwork is done. Look, the county jail isn’t going to get you in and out like the Chick-fil-A drive thru, so you’re going to have to dig deep and find some patience.


In the meantime, your case is turned over to the District Attorney’s office…and that’s when they get to work. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

Image of someone in a jail cell, Issa Castro Law Firm.
Image of someone consulting their lawyer while in custody.
Image of someone in handcuffs, Issa Castro Law Firm.


Criminal defense is important because it ensures that individuals accused of crimes are given a fair trial and that their rights are protected throughout the legal process. A criminal defense attorney is responsible for advocating for their client, challenging the evidence presented by the prosecution, and ensuring that the defendant is not unfairly punished. Without effective criminal defense, innocent individuals could be wrongfully convicted, and guilty individuals could be subjected to excessive or unjust punishments.


Criminal defense also plays a critical role in promoting the integrity and fairness of the legal system by holding the prosecution accountable and ensuring that the defendant receives a fair and impartial trial. Overall, criminal defense is a fundamental right and an essential component of a fair and just legal system.

It’s important to understand that not all actions or circumstances can be used as a defense. Claiming that you were following orders or under the influence of drugs or alcohol may not be a valid defense against a crime. Similarly, claiming that you acted in self-defense when there was no immediate threat to your safety may not be considered a good defense. Other actions or circumstances, such as duress, necessity, or entrapment, may also not be regarded as valid defenses depending on the specific details of your case. It can be stressful and overwhelming, but speaking with a criminal defense attorney is essential to understand your legal options and defenses that may apply to your case.
It’s important to know that different types of criminal law address specific crimes. Some of the most common types of criminal law include property, violent, drug, white-collar, and traffic crimes. Property crimes involve theft, damage, or destruction of property, while violent crimes involve force or the threat of force against another person. Drug crimes involve illegal possession, distribution, or manufacture of controlled substances, and white-collar crimes involve non-violent financial crimes like embezzlement or fraud. Traffic crimes relate to driving or operating a vehicle, such as DUI/DWI, reckless driving, or hit and run. It’s essential to understand the different types of criminal law and the specific laws that apply to your case should you ever find yourself in a legal situation.
Start by researching potential lawyers in your area with experience in criminal law and the specific crime you’re accused of. Look for online reviews, ask for referrals from people you trust, or check legal directories. Once you have identified potential lawyers, schedule a consultation to discuss your case and understand their approach, fees, and availability. Be sure to ask any pressing questions you have during the consultation. After selecting a lawyer, review and sign a retainer agreement outlining the scope of their representation and fees. Following these steps, you can quickly find a qualified criminal defense lawyer who can provide the answers you need and help protect your rights.
Criminal law can be used as a tool for social change by holding individuals and organizations accountable for actions that harm society and promoting justice and equality. By defining certain behaviors as criminal and imposing penalties for those actions, criminal law sends a clear message about what behaviors are unacceptable and can help deter future misconduct. Additionally, criminal law can be used to challenge systemic injustices and to advocate for the rights of marginalized communities. For example, criminal law has been used to challenge discriminatory practices like racial profiling or police brutality. Overall, criminal law can be a powerful force for promoting social change and justice when used to hold individuals and institutions accountable and to advocate for equal treatment under the law.

This is where things get sticky. You’ll get another court date in the future (usually within a week) and you’ll be waiting in jail the whole time. At our office, we call this a preliminary hearing, but sometimes the state calls it a probable cause hearing.


The magistrate judge listens to the evidence and decides if there’s probable cause for the charge to stick. But – and this is a big but – this is NOT a trial, so the “burden of proof” is NOT on the prosecution. They don’t have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you’re guilty, which means if the judge buys the state’s story, you may be charged with a crime you didn’t commit. YEOW! Again, keep your cool and hire a criminal defense attorney yesterday.


If your charges fall into certain categories, you’ll wait several weeks for a bond hearing, where you’ll appear before a superior court judge to decide if bail should be set.


Tangling with the law is not easy. But we’re in it to win it, and we don’t stop until our clients have the best defense possible.

Criminal law seeks to establish rules and regulations to distinguish behavior as a crime and provide a system for prosecuting and punishing those who violate the law. The essential purpose of criminal law includes deterrence, punishment, rehabilitation, and protection of society. The goal is to discourage individuals from engaging in criminal behavior by imposing penalties such as fines, imprisonment, or probation. These rules and regulations help protect society by removing dangerous behavior from the community. Criminal law aims to maintain public order, safety, and justice.
The cost of hiring a criminal lawyer can vary widely depending on several factors, including their experience, reputation, location, and the case’s complexity. Some criminal lawyers charge a flat fee, while others charge by the hour. Hiring a criminal lawyer can be expensive, but not having legal representation could result in much higher fines, jail time, and other consequences. It’s important to discuss the potential costs with a lawyer during the initial consultation and any payment plans or financing options that may be available.
If you are accused of a crime, you have several legal rights protected by the Constitution. These include the right to remain silent, the right to an attorney, the right to a fair and speedy trial, and the right to confront and cross-examine witnesses. Additionally, you have the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, a jury trial in most cases, and the right to appeal a conviction. It is essential to exercise these rights and speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to ensure your rights are protected throughout the legal process.
Criminal law deals with crimes against society, like theft or assault; punishments can include fines, imprisonment, or probation. In criminal cases, the burden of proof is on the prosecution to prove the accused is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. On the other hand, civil law handles disputes between individuals, like a breach of contract or personal injury claims. In civil cases, the burden of proof is on the plaintiff to prove their case by a preponderance of the evidence, and remedies typically include monetary damages or equitable relief. It’s essential to know the difference between these two areas of law and when they apply to ensure you understand your legal rights and responsibilities.
Criminal defense fees can be tax deductible, depending on the circumstances. Generally, legal fees incurred to produce, or preserve taxable income. However, legal fees incurred for personal matters, such as criminal defense for a non-business-related charge(s), are typically not deductible. It’s essential to consult with a tax professional to determine if your criminal defense fees are tax deductible based on your specific circumstances.
Voire dire is a legal term that refers to questioning potential jurors to determine if they are suitable for jury service. During voire dire, the judge and lawyers for both sides ask potential jurors questions to determine if they have any biases, conflicts of interest, or other factors that could impact their ability to serve impartially. The goal of voire dire is to select a fair and impartial jury that will be able to consider the evidence and render a verdict based solely on the facts presented in the case.
Yes, criminal lawyers frequently appear in court on behalf of their clients. They may attend court for various reasons, such as: representing clients at arraignments, arguing for bail, negotiating plea deals, or presenting a defense at trial. Criminal lawyers may also need to attend court hearings for pretrial motions, such as suppression or evidentiary hearings. Overall, appearing in court is a crucial part of a criminal lawyer’s job, which is why all must be well-versed in courtroom procedures and strategies to advocate for their clients effectively.
The cost of hiring a criminal lawyer can vary widely depending on the lawyer’s experience, reputation, location, and case complexity. Some lawyers charge a flat fee, while others charge by the hour. In general, hiring a criminal lawyer can be expensive. Still, it is essential to remember that the cost of not having legal representation could be much higher in terms of fines, jail time, and other consequences. If you are considering hiring a lawyer, we recommend discussing the potential costs of having legal representation vs what you could be charged in court during the initial consultation. You can also ask for any payment plans or financing options that may be available through the law firm.

How to Choose the Right Lawyer?

Remember this saying: You can’t do a good deal with a bad partner.


Chances are, you’ve been burned when picking people to work with—that might be what landed you in this situation to begin with. So let’s talk about a few things to look out for when you’re hiring an attorney to defend your rights and your freedom.


Pay attention to whether you feel seen and heard. If the lawyer doesn’t leave room for you to talk or finds their allocution more compelling than your experience, ask yourself if they’ll be the right partner for you. When you tangled with the cops, we implored you to exercise your right to remain silent. Talking to your lawyer should feel natural and easy.


Does the conversation flow easily between you and your lawyer? We believe communication creates connection, so we do what we can to keep the lines open. When you work with us, you’ll have our personal cell phone numbers so that you’ve got a lifeline when you need it.


You’ve developed some pretty savvy people-reading skills by this point, so tune in to your gut sense. You remember that time you heard a whisper that something was wrong but moved forward anyway and shit went sideways? Let yourself hear the whisper, whether it’s saying yes or no.


Trust your gut when you’re interviewing criminal defense lawyers. Oh, and something to think about: You may not think you can trust your gut because someone you trusted sold you out. It’s our commitment to you to be safe, reliable, and trustworthy. We’ve seen the difference it makes in people’s lives to have someone believe in them, so we strive not only to litigate fiercely but also so show people that they matter and we care.


Make sure your lawyer is comfortable in a courtroom. Though there’s a chance that your case will settle out of court, there is also a chance that we’ll need to go to trial. Find out if your lawyer has defended charges like yours and how many times they’ve been to court. That experience is invaluable in negotiating with the state, so you’ll only benefit if you hire a criminal defense lawyer who has experience in front of a jury.


Does your lawyer excel in a courtroom? Skills like strategy, case preparation, investigation, and defense are at the forefront of our minds when we work with our clients. We’re considering not only how the government might view your case but also how a jury would so that you get the best outcome possible.

Have more questions, or in need of legal assistance?


The first step is to call or text 404-491-7561 to schedule a free consultation. During that time, you’ll get to tell us your story and we’ll show you how we can help. We’ll talk about fees, payment plans, and what you can expect when you work with us. You’ll hear all of the options we see in your case, and you’ll have the information you need to decide if we’re the right lawyers for you.


don’t wait any longer

We're Ready To Fight For You

Take Our Crime Classification Quiz


Which of the following is not a type of crime classification?
Which type of crime carries the most severe punishment?
Which type of crime is considered less serious than a felony but more serious than a misdemeanor?
Which of the following is an example of a felony offense?
Which of the following is an example of a juvenile crime?
Which of the following is an example of a capital offense?