The Roles Criminal Defense Lawyers Play

Posted by on Jun 28, 2014 in Criminal Defense | 0 comments

The criminal defense lawyer is more than an officer of the court and a necessary personality in a trial. There are many roles that a criminal defense lawyer plays way before the courtroom drama commences. In fact, many cases don’t actually get to that point at all, and in general, that’s how defense lawyers prefer it.


A defendant can tell his or her lawyer everything without fear of it being used against him or her. This is the main purpose of the attorney-client privilege. In fact, if the lawyer breaks confidentiality, it can be grounds for the lawyer’s license to be suspended or revoked, and the leaked information still cannot be used against the defendant because it is “tainted” except in some circumstances. A criminal defense lawyer is still required to build the best possible defense for the client even if he or she knows the client is guilty of the crime, although they are barred from lying to the court.


The lawyer is also there to provide the client various scenarios that may pan out for a particular case, the client’s legal options, and to advise the client about the best course to take from a legal standpoint. In most cases, the defendant is clueless about the law, and the lawyer is there to elucidate matters.


The criminal defense lawyer is there to defend the client, if only to introduce reasonable doubt in the case presented by the prosecutor. The burden of proof is on the prosecution; the defense can introduce reasonable doubt by challenging any statement that is damaging to the client, and to present an alternate theory of the case to that presented by the prosecution.


When it is apparent that the evidence against the defendant is overwhelming, the lawyer can take on the role of negotiator during a plea bargain. Prosecutors generally prefer to settle the matter out of court because it saves on trial costs, but the defendant must bring something to the table to justify a more favorable deal. A good Dallas criminal defense lawyer will know how and what to offer to minimize the severity of the punishment of the client and to indicate to the defendant when a deal is as good as it is going to get.

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