If you were recently charged with a crime, you might be wondering: What does a criminal lawyer do? Understanding the role of a criminal defense lawyer is important. You need to know what this person’s job is and what you should expect from them. Below, we discuss what a criminal lawyer does and how they can help you with your case.
Duties & Responsibilities
Criminal defense lawyers defend individuals who are charged with various crimes, such as:
- Drunk driving
- Drug crimes
- Domestic violence
- Sex crimes
- Theft crimes
- White collar crimes
- Gun/firearm/weapon charges
- Racketeering/RICO crimes
- Violent crimes
Criminal defense lawyers represent defendants during all stages of the criminal justice process, including during the investigation, at bail bond hearings, in plea bargains, at trial, at parole or probation revocations, and, sometimes, at the appeal level.
The lawyer’s primary responsibility is to defend your constitutional rights. There are very specific rules in place that are intended to prevent law enforcement from charging someone with a crime when police have not followed the proper procedures. A lawyer can fight to dismiss charges that were brought against you based on an illegal search or seizure, a coerced confession, or other police misconduct. This helps balance the scales of justice so that your individual rights are not compromised and police are deterred from such wrongful conduct.
If charges are brought up against you, your criminal defense lawyer will represent you at a probable cause hearing. This is another opportunity for your lawyer to potentially move to have the charges against you dismissed if there is not sufficient compelling evidence against you. It also gives your lawyer an opportunity to evaluate the evidence against you to provide you with advice and recommendations for a possible plea bargain.
If your case goes to trial, your lawyer holds the prosecution up to the high burden of establishing guilt by proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Because your freedom is at stake when you are subject to the criminal legal system, the highest standard of proof is applied. If your lawyer shows that the prosecution could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed every element of the offense, you must be declared not guilty.
When you work with an experienced criminal defense lawyer, you can expect your lawyer to:
- Thoroughly explore all potential defenses
- Prevent law enforcement from interviewing you alone
- Research the law
- Represent you in court at pre-trial hearings
- Argue for the dismissal of the charges against you, if possible
- Develop a legal strategy that is based on the unique strengths and weaknesses of your case
- Draft, file, and argue motions in your case
- Negotiate for a favorable plea bargain on your behalf to reduce charges and possible penalties
- Argue for a reduction in your sentencing, if applicable
Criminal defense lawyers are ethically required to provide zealous representation to all their clients, regardless of whether they committed the crime or not. You have constitutional rights that must be protected at all costs, including the right to due process and competent legal representation. Only through zealous representation can you possibly defend yourself from overreaching prosecutors or narrowly-focused investigators. Criminal defense lawyers help maintain justice through their fervent representation of their clients.
If you have been charged with a misdemeanor or felony and would like to learn more about how a criminal defense lawyer can help, contact the Law Office of Joel M. Mann. We are dedicated to protecting your legal rights and presenting a strong defense on your behalf. Reach out to us today to learn more.