A criminal defense attorney has a multitude of roles to fulfill. Your defense attorney is not only in charge of almost every aspect of your case but is defending you both in and out of the courtroom.
Unfortunately, many people are unaware of the major responsibilities of their criminal defense attorney because they have never had one or are generally unfamiliar with the law in the first place. But, should the situation arise in which you need one, it is important to understand what your criminal defense attorney’s responsibilities are and what they can do to help your case.
The Most Important Responsibility of a Criminal Defense Attorney
First and foremost, the most important job of your criminal defense attorney is to fight for you and defend you in the court of law. According to the American Bar Association, the primary responsibility of a criminal defense attorney is to advocate for their clients and defend their rights. Your defense attorney should not only acknowledge your needs/wants in the situation but work in favor of your best interests. A defense attorney should protect your rights and fight for the best possible outcome for the case at hand.
What Does It Mean to “Work in the Defendant’s Best Interest”?
A criminal defense lawyer is an attorney that is usually hired specifically by the defendant to work with their best interests in mind. To work with the defendant’s best interests in mind means that your defense lawyer will not only be fighting for the best possible outcome by societal standards but that they will do so with your wants and wellbeing in mind too. Sometimes known as holistic representation, many defense lawyers attempt to help their clients by focusing on the whole of the situation, not just the crime at hand. While the outcome the defendant may want cannot be guaranteed by any defense lawyer, part of your lawyer’s job is to work for the agreed-upon outcome or the best one possible.
Your defense attorney works with your best interests in mind throughout multiple areas of the case. When considering plea bargains, your lawyer can negotiate terms for you that they think may be better. When considering the jurors, your attorney can assess and remove jurors that may be biased towards you or the case. Your lawyer can even interview and use specific witnesses to the case with your best interests in mind, too.
What Does It Mean to “Defend the Client’s Rights”?
Criminal defense attorneys work to defend their clients’ rights in many ways both in and out of the courtroom.
One way a defense attorney can defend their client’s rights is by working to make sure they have a fair trial. Oftentimes, the proceedings of criminal cases and other affairs in the criminal justice system are hectic. It is important that every aspect of your case is looked at with extreme detail and understanding, especially with regard to how it could play a role in your trial.
Another way a defense lawyer will work to defend their client’s rights is by making sure that the defendant remains innocent until proven guilty in the minds of the judge and jurors. Despite the evidence in a case before its trial, our legal system declares all defendants innocent until the prosecution is able to prove them guilty without a reasonable doubt. A defense lawyer works to make sure that all information between them and their client is confidential, retaining their innocence throughout the trial.
Even during the trial, a defense lawyer will be working to defend you and your rights. If the prosecution asks questions, they shouldn’t or pushes too far, your lawyer can object. If they present information that’s been passed through too many sources, your lawyer can object to it as hearsay. There are a number of things your lawyer can do both in and out of the court of law to ensure that your rights are being protected.
What Other Responsibilities Does a Criminal Defense Attorney Have?
On top of this, your criminal defense lawyer is in charge of almost every other aspect of your case. You can expect that they will:
- Be Knowledgeable of the Law
One obvious but major role of your defense attorney is to be knowledgeable of the law. Your attorney needs to know the ins and outs of the law in order to help protect you throughout all points of criminal investigations and court proceedings.
- Understand the Case Presented
Initially, your defense attorney will be in charge of learning about you and your case. Their job is to learn what happened from you and understand the details from your side of the story. From there, you and your attorney will most likely discuss the best outcomes of the situation at hand and what outcome you want to attempt to work towards.
- Investigate and Collect Information
The next role of your attorney is to investigate deeper into the case and collect information. Your defense lawyer will analyze all aspects of the case, review the prosecution’s evidence, and interview witnesses. The more detailed information your lawyer can find prior to the trial, the better your lawyer will be able to defend you in trial.
- Defending the Client in Trial
One of the biggest responsibilities a defense lawyer has aside from working in the defendant’s best interests, is defending the client in the courtroom. Your lawyer can spend a large amount of time developing a strategy for your trial. This includes analyzing the prosecution’s theories and preparing areas in their case to oppose.
- Keeping the Defendant Updated
Another large responsibility of your defense attorney is to keep you consistently updated throughout the legal process. Whenever your lawyer is informed of almost anything regarding your case, like for example a new plea bargain, it is their job to inform you as soon as possible.
Choosing a Criminal Defense Lawyer
Ultimately, your defense attorney’s biggest responsibilities are to work with your best interests in mind and defend you both in and out of the courtroom, trying to get the best possible outcome. Here at Patton Law, we always put our clients and their best interests first. We are a team of experienced professionals working to provide holistic representation to those who need it. If you are looking for high-quality, criminal defense lawyers in the Southeast Wisconsin area, contact us.