Criminal defense lawyers assist their client (the defendant) in creating a criminal defense plan that will be applied throughout their whole criminal case. After being retained by their clients through a signed representation agreement, criminal defense lawyers start strategizing.
Criminal defense lawyers will guide their clients through the legal process, provide recommendations based on the case’s facts, and advise solutions. The client, however, ultimately decides the outcome of their case, including whether to enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or nolo contendere, whether to testify in court, and whether to accept a plea deal. Although it is up to the defendant to make these choices, a criminal defense lawyer will offer support and advice.
In a criminal case, a criminal defense lawyer may make recommendations, which are covered in this article.
Overview of Criminal Defense
The identical set of factual circumstances can serve as the basis for two entirely distinct stories told by a prosecutor and a defense lawyer. Consider it in the same manner as you would a map of the United States. The states are shown on one map in their geographical regions, with state borders shown as dark lines. The United States is depicted on the opposite map instead using a gradient color scheme based on average income per population. Despite the fact that both maps are accurate, they won’t likely appear alike.
The best defense for the defendant’s circumstances must be developed by the defendant and the counsel. The conclusion should include elements like:
being supported by solid facts and data. Show that the defendant’s car was taken from them at gunpoint the morning of the offense, for instance, if it was being utilized as a getaway vehicle.
possessing the capacity to win over the jury or the judge through an emotional appeal. For instance, if at all feasible, demonstrate that the defendant made an effort to refrain from committing a crime before it was actually committed and even went so far as to inform the police of the potential crime.
elucidating and demonstrating the reasons why the events described by the defendant in his story actually happened. For instance, if the defendant asserts that they weren’t present when the crime was committed, their story must explain why they weren’t.
A criminal defense lawyer may also provide their client advice on how to approach lesser included charges, which are crimes committed while committing a more serious offense. The offender will receive a lighter sentence if they are found guilty of the lesser included offense rather than the more serious offence.
Developing a Criminal Defense Plan
The criminal defendant either hires a lawyer through a representation agreement or the court appoints one for them in accordance with their constitutional right to counsel as guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment. The criminal defendant will then outline their case to the prosecutor.
It takes more than just speaking the truth in a way that establishes the defendant’s innocence or minimizes the severity of the charge. Instead, it will frequently include evaluating the reliability of the witnesses and determining how well-known they are among the public and the police. A “theory of the case” based on the defendant’s account and other verifiable facts will be developed after taking all of these factors into account.
Attorney-client privilege will shield any information shared by the client with the lawyer, whether it was spoken or written.
You are entitled to attorney-client privilege if you hire a lawyer under a representation agreement. Any correspondence between a lawyer and their client, whether verbal or written, is protected by this privilege. Since these discussions are exempt from disclosure requirements, any information you share with your lawyer regarding a legal matter will remain private.
The attorney-client privilege has several exceptions, such as when it’s necessary to stop certain death or serious damage. However, in most cases, this privilege is in place to encourage open, frank communication between clients and their attorneys without worrying about a third party discovering the information. In the best interests of their clients, criminal defense lawyers can develop a criminal defense plan with the aid of this confidential information.
Getting Ready for Trial
Criminal defense lawyers will start planning how to best represent their clients after hearing their version of the tale. This depends on the specifics of each instance. The defendant will have to decide on their legal defense in court.
The attorney will need to come up with a plan to convince the judge or jury that the client is, in fact, innocent. Alternately, the client may maintain an alibi, in which case the lawyer will need to devise a plan to demonstrate that the client was elsewhere when the crime was done. The client may also confess to the offense while claiming a justification for their behavior, such as self-defense. The lawyer will need to make an effort to compile enough proof to persuade the judge or jury of the client’s argument.
Frequently, a criminal defense lawyer might also:
If the defendant decides to testify, get them ready by conducting practice interviews to help them memorize the defense argument;
Escort defendants to significant crime scenes to jog their recollections;
Encourage the defendants to record their account of the events in writing.
In order for the defendant to understand what kind of evidence are required from them, defense attorneys also educate clients about the prosecution’s case.
A Private Criminal Defense Lawyer Is Vital To Your Future
Let’s briefly look at the ways your life can be impacted should you ever be charged with a crime:
- Potential loss of relationships
- Jail or prison time
- A criminal record
- Reduced career prospects
- Expense of court fines
You need a private criminal defense attorney who can assist in getting the best possible outcome for your case – they can help you with:
- Understanding the legal ramifications of the charges that have been filed
- Explain strategies for your defense
- Explore and explain what (if any) plea bargains are likely to be on the table
- Discuss the post-trial and conviction process
Private criminal defense attorneys handle a wide range of cases and can help you by:
- Reducing your criminal charge (an example would be from a felony to a misdemeanor)
- Lessening the penalty for the crime
- Reducing or eliminating potential jail time, for example, through probation
- Developing a sound defense strategy with your best interests in mind
Your criminal defense lawyer should also have experience in the following areas:
- Familiarity with crime scene investigations
- Great knowledge of photographs, sketches, video and polygraphs
- The interviewing techniques for police, victims and witnesses
- The ability to effectively cross-examine your accuser
Finding A Criminal Defense Lawyer
While you can ask family and friends for a recommendation, it is understandable you may not want many (if any) people to know of your current circumstances and you may not have time to do a great deal of in-depth online research, so here are some questions to ask a criminal defense lawyer you are considering retaining:
- What is your experience with cases similar to mine?
- Will you be handling my case personally, or will an attorney I have not met be the point person?
- Are you experienced in litigating trials involving a jury?
- Are you knowledgeable regarding requesting a lesser charge or working on a plea agreement?
- What is the fee and are payment plans available?
Many factors go into the determination of the fees a criminal defense lawyer will charge. Usually fees are either on a flat rate or billed hourly. Some attorneys will offer payment plans while others will want a retainer fee paid upfront before commencing the case. It is a good idea to shop around and seek out the best options for your circumstances. In situations where you cannot afford an attorney – it is possible you may be granted a government paid attorney who will represent you.
Source: “Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer.” Findlaw, 6 Feb. 2019, criminal.findlaw.com/criminal-law-basics/hire-a-criminal-defense-lawyer.html.
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*This information is not intended to be legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs.