To defend charges that carry life without parole, the average criminal defense attorney needs 201 hours. But these lawyers do so much more than represent people in court.
Have you ever wondered, what does a defense attorney do? If you’re facing criminal charges, you’ll want to know so that you can understand what to expect.
Keep reading to learn what it’s like for a typical day in the life of a criminal defense lawyer.
Discuss the Case with the Client
The first step in representing a defendant is to speak with them. The lawyer needs to understand what happened from the point of view of the client.
This will help the attorney create a solid defense. The client should be as honest as possible and answer every question fully.
Investigate the Case
Armed with the client’s information, the attorney will now begin to investigate the case. This includes speaking with witnesses, experts, and police officers.
They will request to review the case drawn up by the prosecution. This will enable them to create a defense against the accusations made by the prosecution.
All of the information gathered will turn into the evidence that the attorney will use in court. A strong criminal defense attorney will look for physical evidence. These items will get sent out for independent testing.
Once a case moves forward in the legal process, the attorneys will convene to select a jury for the trial. The lawyers will interview prospective jurors and suss out potential biases.
This step in the process is critical. By choosing the right jury, the defense attorney can increase the client’s chances of a successful outcome to their case.
Negotiate Plea Bargain
For some defendants, the smarter option is to avoid trial and accept a plea bargain. In this situation, a defense attorney can negotiate with the prosecutor for a deal that’s acceptable to all parties.
Represent the Client at Court
If the client chooses to turn down a plea bargain and go to trial, their lawyer will represent them in court. They will argue on the defendant’s behalf.
Each lawyer will take turns speaking to the jury, cross-examining the witnesses, and attempting to sway the jury to agree with them.
If the defendant receives a guilty verdict, their attorney will represent them for the next phase, sentencing. This is the hearing after the trial where the judge delivers the punishment for the crimes the defendant was found guilty of.
The attorney will try to convince the judge to limit the severity of the punishment.
What Does a Defense Attorney Do? Now You Know
You no longer need to ask, what does a defense attorney do? These skilled lawyers work hard to represent the best interests of those who face criminal charges.
They will listen to the defendant, create the most robust defense, and guide them through the legal process.
Check out our other legal articles for more helpful information.