Why Did You Want to Become a Criminal Defense Attorney?

The following are taken from an interview with MD criminal lawyer Angie DiPietro. To learn more about what a lawyer can do for you schedule a free consultation today.

When Did You Figure Out You Wanted to Become An Attorney?

I knew very early on, by seventh grade, that I wanted to be an attorney. Why I wanted to be a criminal defense attorney kind of developed over time having been a prosecutor, I thought – to me the job of the criminal defense attorney was really one of the most exciting and interesting in the courtroom because the I liked being in the role of the person who has to hopefully is giving everything the second look and looking at it with new eyes and a different perspective because the police  done an investigation and they have made assumptions or presumed things and then the prosecutor oftentimes takes what the police have said and  buy it whole cloth.

And it’s the job of the criminal defense attorney to be one of the very first people to say, okay, slow down, let’s look at this from a totally different perspective and I think that’s such an important job for a defendant who has been charged. They need to have somebody who is on their side who’s saying, okay, did we look at interviewing these witnesses, did we look for this kind of evidence, et cetera.

I like being that check against a pretty significant amount of power that is bearing down on somebody and they could lose their liberty, they could lose their job and it’s really important to have criminal defense attorneys there to be the person to sort of be looking out for the defendant.

And I love doing trial work, I love being in court. I love having trials, I think it’s exciting it’s very, stimulating and I love it.

What Training and Experience Has Prepared You For Criminal Defense?

I think some of the greatest training came from being a law clerk in the circuit court.  I worked for the judges in the Wicomico County Circuit Court and my responsibilities there required me to be in the courtroom assisting the judge if there was a case that needed to be researched. I had to prepare the sentencing guidelines for the judges and that required me to be in the courtroom observing cases.

And in that timeframe I had the chance to watch cases from the simplest kind of assault or a simple possession of marijuana all the way up to observing homicide trials. And that was such a great opportunity to watch and learn because I was able to watch how something should be done and I was also able to watch how something should never be handled and it was really a learning experience.

And then, I also served as a prosecutor for seven years and so, I think  that experience was very valuable for being a competent criminal defense attorney because I know what the other side is thinking, what they’re doing, you know, how they’re preparing because I had to do it too.

So it helps me to when I’m a looking at a case from my client’s perspective, I have some insight into what the prosecutor is thinking, what the prosecutor might counter if I raise a particular defense, I understand what the counter argument is going to be and I think that that was very important to helping me prepare for what I’m doing now.

How Have These Experiences Helped You become a Better Criminal Lawyer?

Those experiences helped me to prepare for and know what the opposing side is going to do or is thinking about doing. If you’ve never been on the other side of the table, then I think it’s much harder for somebody to anticipate well, this is going to be the prosecutor’s argument to this, this is going to be, their argument to this issue. And when you’ve been able to wear that hat, then you know what to anticipate and I think that that was – that was very valuable.