If you have been charged with a crime in Texas, you probably have been advised to retain legal counsel immediately.
But before you hire a lawyer, you may want to know exactly what it is a defense attorney does.
Consider the following overview regarding a criminal defense attorney’s responsibilities when handling a client’s case, and call the law firm of Simer & Tetens for more information about how we can assist you specifically.
What Does a Defense Attorney Do?
One of the most sacred principles found in U.S. criminal justice law is the right of a defendant in a criminal case to be held innocent until proven guilty.
As such, it is the duty of a defense attorney to uphold this principle and defend their client against charges of guilt.
It is not the responsibility of a defense attorney to prove their client’s innocence; rather, it is the job of the prosecution to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The role of the defense attorney is to defend their client from unfair practices, false evidence, assumptions of guilt, and to protect their client’s best interests.
In order to do this, a defense attorney manages the following elements of a case.
Meeting with the defendant
Of course, the attorney is tasked with meeting with the defendant at the onset of the case, and learning as much about the case through the defendant as possible. An attorney and client share attorney-client privileges, which means that anything that the defendant shares with the attorney is confidential, and cannot be shared by the attorney with outside sources.
Investigating the case
While the defense attorney is not responsible for proving innocence, they should do due diligence in gathering any relevant evidence that can be used to support their client’s innocence, or which may be used against their client. This phase also includes a general assessment and analysis of the case, including possible defenses, plea strategies, and more.
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An attorney is also tasked with reviewing all evidence against the defendant held by the prosecution. This is very important, as a defense attorney, after an analysis, may conclude that evidence was illegally or unethically obtained, and therefore should not be submitted to the record and used against their client. This also provides an opportunity to begin to build a defense based on the evidence.
Negotiating a plea agreement
An attorney will be responsible for working with their client and the prosecution to negotiate a plea agreement. This is a type of agreement where the defendant enters a plea of guilty in exchange for some concession from the prosecution, such as a reduction in charges or sentencing. Plea agreements are optional, and are usually pursued when the prosecution has a solid case against the defendant and a jury verdict of ‘not guilty’ is unlikely.
Choosing a jury and preparing the case for trial
In the event that the case is going to trial, the defense attorney maintains the authority to participate in the jury selection process. A defense attorney will also prepare the case for trial, finding witnesses, practicing questioning with their client and preparing them for examination before the court, procuring necessary evidence and experts, and more.
Our Criminal Defense Attorneys Are a Resource Throughout Your Entire Case
If you are wondering, “What does a criminal defense attorney do?”, you should know that our lawyers are passionate about providing qualified representation to our clients throughout the entirety of their case.
To schedule a consultation with our team if you are charged with a crime, please call our office or send us a message immediately.