A lawyer whether they deal in criminal law or in civil cases is an advocate for the accused, basically they speak for the accused and their job is to protect their client’s best interests and ensure that their rights are not harmed in anyway.
A criminal defense lawyer’s role is deemed crucial to an accused receiving a fair trial and even though the accused may dispense with their lawyer’s services and conduct their own defense this is considered to be extremely foolish. However, modern day criminal lawyers do not just fight it out in the courtroom they must be prepared to get to know every details of a client’s case. This might mean interviewing witnesses, studying the police reports and even visiting crime scenes. This is because a crucial part of a criminal lawyer’s role today is to determine the probability of his client’s odds of acquittal or conviction.
The criminal lawyer’s job is then to prepare the accused defense as diligently as possible. However, a controversial element has crept into modern criminal trials whereby the prosecutor can approach the defense lawyer to make a plea bargain. This typically involves the accused pleading guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for a reduced sentence.
It is the job of the criminal defense lawyer to decide whether they can win the trial or if accepting the plea bargain is in the accused’s best interest. However it is the accused that has the final say on whether to accept or dismiss the prosecutors offer. The criminal defense lawyer can only advise the accused based on their own probability assessment that they conducted earlier.
If the accused turns down the prosecutors offer then the criminal defense lawyer may have an opportunity to negotiate better terms with the prosecutor as this is really all about saving the court time and money.
This is where there is a subtle difference between a public defender and a criminal defense lawyer. The Public defender works directly for the state and are supplied to the defendants that do not have their own legal representation. The public defendants simply will not have the time to dedicate to each individual trial so will have to spread their time accordingly. The criminal defense lawyer on the other hand likely works for a law firm and has the time and resources to dedicate to serving their client.
However if agreement cannot be reached on the plea bargain and the accused sticks stubbornly to their rights to justice the case will go to trial. This is when the knowledge gained from those long years of studying law will be put to good use as criminal defense is a challenging area of law. Furthermore, it is no easy task protecting the rights and interests of sometimes unpopular defendants accused of heinous crimes.This is when the criminal defense lawyer will be seen to earn their fees as it is in the public courtrooms that they will hone their legal skills and make their reputations.