What Do Defense Lawyers Do?

Jason Markey


The legal process has been popularized and dramatized in the media for decades. This has created a somewhat false image of lawyers and what they do. Defense lawyers, in particular, have come to represent the archetypal lawyer that goes all out when defending their clients. While some of the things that defense lawyers do can be impressively sensational, a good portion of what they do is boring. While it is definitely a profession that requires years of experience and expertise to practice, a lot of what defense lawyers do is not headline-grabbing stuff. For instance, if you reach out to a reputable law firm like Stroleny Law, PA, you’ll get to enjoy a full range of legal expertise that gives you a good shot at a favorable outcome.

Facing serious criminal charges is not a situation most people knowingly put themselves into. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. While being a victim of circumstances in a criminal case is a less-than-ideal scenario, the legal system has no misgivings about prosecuting criminal actions. As such, defense lawyers become the only recourse for many such individuals. Of course, self-representation is something most jurisdictions permit. However, unless you’re an excellent law student or a disbarred lawyer, self-representation is never advisable. This is especially the case if you’re facing serious criminal charges with the potential of a lengthy prison term.

Defense lawyers are there to ensure that people don’t blindly overestimate their legal expertise and ruin their lives in the process.

A typical defense attorney does the following;

1)Discusses Case With a Client

Most cases usually begin with an initial meeting between a defense lawyer and a client. This is essential for the lawyer to understand the full scope of the issue to be handled. It also gives the potential client the chance to ask some questions and get clarification on a lot of things. Based on the information collated at this first meeting, a defense lawyer can run through all the possible scenarios using their knowledge. They can then explain all these options to a client, giving them the chance to choose how their case should be handled. Of course, the defense lawyer is always there to give constructive criticism while advising the client on the best course of legal action.

2) Investigates a Case and Gathers Evidence

Assuming a client has agreed to retain the services of a defense attorney, the real work now begins. Depending on the nature of the case and what’s at stake, a defense attorney will begin to investigate every aspect of it. Sometimes, there are time-sensitive matters that need to be dealt with immediately. For instance, if the client is already in jail awaiting trial, the defense attorney can attempt to secure their release on bail, citing health reasons or any other mitigating factor.

The defense lawyer will typically look for witnesses to interview, corroborate such witness testimony to the best of their abilities, or speak with the authorities. The arresting officer is of particular importance. This is because they may have witnessed things during the arrest that could corroborate a client’s story. Sometimes, they may have failed to follow proper procedures. A defense attorney will pursue all such avenues in a bid to get all the relevant facts about the client’s case.

3) Selects a Jury

A jury trial is a double-edged sword; chosen right, a jury can help exonerate a client assuming the facts are favorable. Ensuring an unbiased jury is one of the unenviable tasks of a defense attorney. They’ll want to ensure that a jury is not biased towards a client’s case. For instance, during a domestic violence trial, a defense lawyer will want to screen out any jurors who’ve suffered domestic violence or had a broken childhood.

4) Negotiates a Plea Deal

Even the best defense lawyers know that sometimes the smart move is to take a plea deal. For instance, if the client confides in the lawyer that they committed the said crime, it may not be in the client’s best interest to proceed to trial. In such cases, a defense attorney can help to negotiate a deal with the prosecution for a lighter sentence. This can also be the case if a client has valuable information to offer the prosecution. For instance, the client can agree to be an informant in exchange for a lenient sentence.

All in all, what a defense lawyer does can be summed up in a few words; adequate legal representation. Anyone facing criminal charges is best advised to seek out the counsel of an experienced defense lawyer as soon as possible.

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