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Role of Criminal Lawyer in Criminal Cases and Defense Proceedings

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Criminal justice cases in the USA are very different from civil ones. And it goes well beyond the stakes involved. Let's learn more about the role of the criminal lawyer in criminal cases and criminal defense proceedings, regardless of what type of case it is.


Provide Counsel to the Accused.


A criminal lawyer is there to advise the accused. This may be someone charged with a crime or asked to come in for questioning. Note that you always need to consult with an attorney before speaking with the police, because anyone can say anything that accidentally incriminates them. It may even turn you into a suspect though you did nothing wrong. You have the right to remain silent beyond stating you won't say anything else without your chosen legal counsel present. Know that you don't have to testify, and this shouldn't be held against you.

The defense attorney should work for their client. This means that they should heed their client's wishes. They may suggest that you take a plea bargain, but they should be willing to fight trumped up charges or prove your innocence. They should know the alternatives to prison be it drug rehabilitation or community service, home confinement or mental health treatment.

Gather the Necessary Information.


A defense case depends on the evidence that the attorney can dig up, the testimony of witnesses and the information that can be extrapolated. For example, a defense attorney may spend as much time poking holes in a police theory or undermining the credibility of a star witness as they do proving their client's alibi. They're obligated to preserve the record and protect any evidence they collect.

A key component to one's defense is attorney-client privilege. A client must share everything with their attorney in order to formulate an effective defense. Leave out little embarrassing details, and your attorney's defense strategy may not work when those things come to light. Always choose an attorney you trust and can communicate with.

“I cannot keep track of how many times a client told me the full truth and because of this honesty I was able to keep them out of prison. Hire an attorney you trust. I cannot emphasize this more.”

-James Kontos Criminal Defense Attorney

Maintain Lines of Communication.


A good criminal defense lawyer isn't just knowledgeable about the law and defense strategies. They take care of their clients. They let clients talk about the stress that they are under or the unpleasant conditions in prison. They don't take the case and only see their client in court.

Criminal defense attorneys must also keep up with multiple strands of legal correspondence. You don't want to lose a case because the lawyer didn't follow up with an expert witness or potential lead. This is aside from their obligation to keep up with the prosecution's theory so that they can poke holes in it.

Good defense attorneys can offer a confidential case evaluation, so that you understand your options. They will also respect your privacy while defending you in court.

“Most defense attorneys will offer a free case evaluation in the criminal defense arena. This is their time to sell you on their experience and know how. Schedule consultations until you find the right attorney. Don’t choose the first attorney you come across. 3-5 consultations should be sufficient.”

            -Tim Clancy Attorney at Law


Follow Legal Procedures.


There are many procedures in place related to police investigations and criminal prosecution. It is a criminal defense attorney's job to ensure that these policies are followed. For example, they will make sure that law enforcement only obtains evidence through properly executed warrants and searches. A defense attorney who understands the proper
procedures may be able to get exculpatory evidence thrown out because it wasn't collected properly.

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