The Emerging Role And Function Of A Criminal Defense Lawyer
Updated: Jun 27
A criminal lawyer defends people or businesses that have been accused of criminal activity. A criminal defense lawyer can be part of private practice. In such a case, they will be hired by parties who have been accused of a crime at a fee. Alternatively, they can be a public defender who works for a government institution.
The Work of a Criminal Defense Lawyer Has Evolved Through the Years
Some of the emerging roles and functions of modern criminal lawyers include:
· Offering support for police interviews
· Reducing risk Exposure
· Dealing with the bail application process
· Finding weaknesses in a case
· Evidence collection, analysis, and presentation
· Participating in selecting the jury
· Dealing with public interest submissions
· Public defense
Offering Support for Police Interviews
A police interview is a challenging aspect for someone who has just been arrested. Because of the tension of the moment, it is easy to mess up. This is the point that someone requires the assistance of a criminal defense attorney.
Reducing Risk Exposure
Hiring a criminal lawyer will require someone to pay money. Choosing to save money by not hiring a criminal lawyer will expose someone to a lot of risk including:
· Having the driver’s license canceled because of a DUI offense.
· Being denied employment because of a criminal record.
· Being incarcerated for a crime that one didn’t commit.
· Having a hard time finding a job because of having faced a criminal charge in the past.
With a competent criminal defense attorney, these risks will be prevented. The amount to be paid to a lawyer cannot be compared to the lifetime cost of these risks.
Helping with Bail Application
Being refused bail will be a great setback. You will need to spend time in remand until the case is brought to the hearing. That can take weeks or months. Once a person has been denied bail it will be hard to bring forward another bail hearing. A defense lawyer will help with the bail application process.
Finding Weaknesses in a Case
An experienced criminal defense lawyer will strive to bring a case down before it advances very far. They will search for every deficiency and weakness on the case that has been brought by the prosecutor before it goes to trial.
· The lawyer can argue that there is evidence that is inadmissible in a court of law. That means that such evidence cannot be used in the case.
· The defense attorney can poke holes in a case by arguing that the arresting officer has had conduct issues in the past. They can even try to argue that there was some bias involved during the arresting process.
Evidence Collection & Analysis
The modern criminal lawyer doesn’t wait for evidence to be collected and brought to court. They go out there and collect their evidence. They possess evidence collection skills and can even involve the services of a private investigator.
After they collect their evidence they will proceed to analyze the evidence presented by the prosecutor to find discrepancies that can dismantle the case.
· The attorney can insist that the prosecutor’s evidence be independently tested. That will require hiring the services of a third-party independent lab. An expert can also be brought to court to analyze the evidence.
Even with the best evidence collection and analysis skills, a case can still fail if the evidence is not presented in the right way. That is where the assistance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer will come in handy.
· While presenting evidence, the lawyer has to know how to deal with interruptions from the other party. They have to be good at cross-examination.
· A top lawyer will ask the right questions and when confronted with a tough question, they will give the right answer.
· A solicitor should have a strategy for presenting their case and cross-examining witnesses that have been brought to the court.
Handling Jury Selection
Nowadays, criminal lawyers have to be involved in jury selection. An experienced defense attorney can try to influence the removal of some jurors who might not favor their client. They can say that they have a bad feeling about a certain juror.
Some criminal lawyers work for government agencies such as courts and state agencies. They serve as public defenders; representing people accused of a crime who cannot afford to hire a lawyer. The law states that every person accused of a crime is entitled to legal representation. If someone cannot afford to hire a criminal defense attorney, the government will need to provide a public defender for them. The public defender has to work in the best interests of the person who has been accused of a crime.
· Assignment of Case
A criminal lawyer who is a public defender will be assigned a case by a local or federal court. They will be paid by the office of the public defender. In most cases, public defenders earn a lower salary than criminal attorneys who work in private practice.
The role and function of a criminal defense lawyer are to facilitate acquittal for someone who has been accused of a crime. They do so using a wide range of strategies some of which have been outlined above.
A defense lawyer will help someone to avoid imprisonment. Statistics show that a good percentage of prisoners were imprisoned for crimes that they didn’t commit. An accused person who doesn’t involve a criminal lawyer risks spending time in jail for a crime they might not have committed. That will ruin their reputation and make it hard to find a job after being released from prison.