Being a criminal defense attorney can be a wide variety of things, from rewarding to controversial, these specific attorneys often have widely varied perceptions among their peers and society. However, criminal defense attorneys are one of the most important types of attorney. Every citizen is presumed innocent until proven guilty, and criminal defense attorneys carry this burden for their clients. Whether an attorney is a private criminal defense attorney or a public defender, they are expected to use their skills and knowledge to prove their clients are not guilty.
These particular attorneys defend clients from charges ranging from minor misdemeanors through serious felonies, which carry sentences from fines and community service to hefty jail time and in some case death penalty punishments.
One of the most important things to keep in mind when hearing criminal defense attorney, is that not every crime is a horrendous murder and not every person charged in a crime is a horribly evil monster. Defendants charged with crimes are mostly normal people, living normal lives who made a bad decision, got caught up in the wrong place at the wrong time, or just simply let a situation get out of hand. Of course, there are murderers, kidnappers, rapists, who do have criminal defense attorneys, but a majority of the people who are charged with criminal offenses are just regular people who are in need of help and guidance.
The most important role a criminal defense attorney plays is counselor. These lawyers are responsible for listening to their clients stories and guiding them towards a resolution to their case that will afford them the best possible outcome. Criminal defense attorneys spend a great deal of their time interviewing witnesses, performing extensive research and preparing documents and presentations for trials. Defense attorneys are also responsible for examining the crime scene and securing and preparing expert witnesses to appear on the defendants’ behalf. Their responsibilities extend to being able to explain complex state and federal laws to clients and their families, so that defendants will understand the charges that they are facing and what the potential repercussions will be for each.
Defense attorneys will look at all the facts and evidence of their client’s case and advise them on how they should proceed, whether it is pleading guilty or not guilty, accepting lesser charges, a plea bargain, or taking their case in front of a trial of their peers.
Being able to provide a competent and vigorous defense for a client regardless of their guilt or innocence is the most important function that every defense attorney serves. In the most basic sense, defendants must have confidence that their attorney will fight for their constitutional rights, and defense attorneys must value upholding the constitution as the most important and rewarding component of a profession that is often misunderstood or misrepresented.