While most people think of trials when they're talking about criminal defense attorneys, the list of responsibilities is much longer than this. They are there for you in every aspect of the legal process. In this blog post, we'll discuss some of the most important responsibilities of criminal defense lawyers.
The Number One Responsibility of a Criminal Defense Attorney
The number one responsibility of a criminal defense attorney is to have their client's interests at heart. A lot of people use the phrase “client-centered” when they're describing the essence of what an attorney's responsibilities are. The focus should be to give their clients their very best. From the day they first get the call to the day the case gets closed or dismissed and even beyond, they should have the client's best interests at heart.
Providing Expert Legal Advice
A criminal defense lawyer should be there for you from the very moment you call them. If you have questions on whether a certain proceeding was handled legally or what your next steps should be, they should be able to answer them. Their expert knowledge will give you peace of mind in an anxious time.
Gathering Evidence and Research
Whether a case goes to trial or not, criminal defense lawyers focus their efforts on building a strong case in your favor. They will gather information by interviewing you, performing research, and gathering relevant evidence.
Representing You In Court
If your case goes to court, a criminal defense attorney is prepared to fight on your behalf. This includes cross-examining witnesses and using the evidence to defend your interests. They'll scrutinize every detail and fight for the best-case scenario, whether that's getting you fully acquitted or having the case dismissed.
Filing Appeal Documents
Lawyers are responsible for filing essential paperwork such as appeal documents. For example, if you contact a lawyer within 30 days of getting arrested for a DUI, they can file an appeal with the Department of Driver Services (DDS). The DDS will then hold a hearing and determine whether or not to cancel the suspension of your license. While these appeal documents can be completed by yourself in some cases, they can seem complex and daunting at times. Having a lawyer handle it on your behalf ensures that you give all the necessary information.
Negotiating with Prosecutors
Not all cases go to trial, but a criminal defense attorney is still there to represent you regardless. They will negotiate with prosecutors on your behalf, potentially allowing you to get a plea bargain. By pleading guilty to a lesser sentence, you'll face less severe punishments.
For example, a DUI can be reduced to a reckless driving sentence. It will give you four points on your license, but you won't have it automatically suspended for at least 120 days like you would with a DUI sentence. Ideally, a criminal defense lawyer should have prepared the case as though it was going to trial to ensure you get the best deal possible.
In some cases, you may have the option of pleading guilty to the same sentence you were charged with, but your attorney's strong defense will ideally grant you a lower punishment.
Need a Criminal Defense Attorney? Contact Us Today
Ultimately, criminal defense lawyers are your advocates both inside and outside the courtroom. Whether you have questions or need representation, they'll be there for you. If you want an experienced attorney who will fight for you until the end, Brett Willis is here to help. He has represented clients since 2005 on a wide range of criminal cases. If you need a criminal defense attorney, contact us today.