If you have been charged with a crime, you have the right to defend yourself. While a small percentage of criminal defendants represent themselves, a vast majority opt for a private attorney (paid by the defendant) or a court-appointed attorney (paid by the government). Once you understand everything a criminal defense attorney does, you’ll realize why it pays to have this experienced legal professional by your side.
Duties of a Criminal Defense Attorney
Defense attorneys protect the rights of people charged with a crime, helping them build a case to convince the court of their innocence or lessen the negative consequences of committing a crime. Within criminal defense, an attorney might specialize in specific areas, such as violent crimes, drug charges, or DUI cases.
The duties of a criminal defense attorney include:
- Investigate the case: After meeting with the defendant and deciding to take on the case, the attorney begins their investigation. This may include questioning police, speaking to eyewitnesses, finding expert witnesses to testify, and gathering additional evidence to improve the chance of an acquittal or not-guilty verdict.
- Analyze the evidence: Closely examining police reports, witness statements, and expert testimony helps the attorney build a strong case.
- Assist with jury selection: The attorney can remove jurors from duty if they seem biased against the defendant.
- Guide the defendant: A criminal case can sometimes be resolved by negotiating a plea bargain with the prosecution. Your attorney may recommend pursuing or avoiding a deal based on the circumstances surrounding your case.
- Present the defense: Without a plea deal, your criminal case will likely go to trial. The attorney’s job is to present your side of the story, making persuasive arguments to convince the jury of your innocence or that you deserve a mild sentence.
- Represent the defendant during sentencing: If you accept a plea bargain or are convicted at trial, your defense attorney will represent you during sentencing. This is the last chance to discuss a lesser sentence and possible alternatives to imprisonment.
- Appeal the decision when necessary: If you think the court’s decision is unfair, you can appeal the conviction or sentence with your attorney’s help.
Which Is Better-a Private Attorney or a Court-Appointed Attorney?
Both types of criminal lawyers must complete the required education and training to practice law. The difference is that court-appointed attorneys are often overworked and underpaid, which could affect the outcome of your case. That’s why it’s often best to hire a private attorney with the necessary experience, skills, and commitment to your case. For the best legal counsel in Ogden, UT, and the surrounding area, turn to Richards & Richards Law Firm. We’ll carefully review your case, putting our three decades of experience to work as we build a persuasive defense on your behalf. Whether you’re facing misdemeanor or felony charges, we can help, even if you don’t have legal status in the United States. To arrange a free consultation, please Contact us at (512) 461-4836 today.