What are the Responsibilities of a Criminal Defense Lawyer?

Responsibilities of a Criminal Defense LawyerCriminal Defense Lawyers have many duties. For example, they review discovery. They negotiate with the State Attorney. In general, there are many responsibilities. Let’s consider some of their duties.

Client Consulting

First, Criminal Attorneys will consult with clients. Understandably, most criminal clients lack a full understanding of the law. A thorough consultation is required. A good consultation covers the facts of the case. It will cover applicable law on the subject.

Accordingly, most initial consultations discuss the basics. The lawyer will want to know the facts and the law. The lawyer will ask you names and numbers of witnesses. He will ask for potential alibi defenses. In general, the lawyer will want to gather as many facts as possible.

Next, the attorney handling the case will conduct ongoing consults. He will explain updates in the case. He review continuing discovery. They will relay plea offers. The State Attorney makes the offer. But, the Defense Attorney will take that offer to you. The offer is part of an ongoing negotiation. Your lawyer will advise you on whether the plea is good. In some instances, the lawyer will strongly encourage a plea. Or, in some situations he may strongly discourage a plea.

Trust your counsel. You hire a lawyer to properly analyze the facts, the law, and the ongoing negotiations. Failure to trust could result in the loss of a plea deal. In some instances much worse.

Case Analysis

Experienced Lawyers have been to trial. They have tried many cases. Trial Counsel goes before many state attorneys. He goes before many judges. In sum, good lawyers have seen a lot. The case analysis depends on many factors. These factors include their life experiences over many years. It also includes those past experiences inside a court room.

Accordingly, make sure your lawyer has experience. An experienced lawyer will go over your case. They give you their opinion. They give you their analysis. Case analysis is a key component.

Filing Motions

Your lawyer will file motions. There are various motions to file. For example, there are motions to suppress. There are motions to dismiss. Accordingly, there are many motions to file. Your lawyer will have the knowledge to know what motions to file. Your lawyer will look at the facts of the case and apply the law. When a particular motion is appropriate, the lawyer will file it.

There are different components to each motion. Some motions have strict time components to them. Some motions have specific substantive components. It is your lawyer’s responsibility to file the appropriate motion for your case.

Defense Strategy

Your lawyer is in charge of Defense strategy. For example, which witnesses to call. Your lawyer will help you decide on the main weakness in the State’s case. He will decide how to attack the state’s case. Each case is unique. Not every case has only one possible strategy. Some cases require a more aggressive approach. Some cases require a more passive approach. Your lawyer is there to make sure that the Defense strategy is appropriate and on point.

Clients often want to take control of Defense Strategy. Remember, this is your lawyer’s job. Your lawyer has handled similar cases before. Your attorney will know what works and what doesn’t work. What may seem logical to you is not logical when defending a criminal case. Trust your lawyer. You hired him for a reason. Trust your lawyer to do their job. Defense Strategy is one of their responsibilities.


Next, consider depositions. Depositions are interviews out of court. Your lawyer will discuss the facts of the case with a witness. The witness will be asked questions. These questions are designed to get information. Each deposition may have a different purpose. For example, some depositions might be for purpose of catching witness in a lie. In the alternative, another deposition might be to try and get the witness to admit something they left out of their report. Regardless, each deposition has a specific purpose. Your lawyer’s job is to conduct appropriate depositions.

In some instances, the lawyer does not conduct depositions. Depositions will be avoid in certain contexts. For example, they may be avoided where the witness is believed to be unavailable. Defense counsel doesn’t want to reveal the unavailability of the key witness. Therefore, the deposition isn’t conducted. This is just one example. There are many reasons why a defense lawyer would intentionally avoid a deposition.

Plea Negotiations

Lawyers negotiate with the State Attorney. The State Attorney makes a plea offer. The Defense Attorney counters. This back and forth is called plea negotiations. These discussions are common. All criminal cases should involve this type of discussion. Your lawyer presents your story in the best light. The goal is to achieve the lowest offer possible. The offer is then relayed to the client. The client accepts or declines. If the client declines, then the case goes to trial.

Trial Preparation

All lawyers prepare cases for trial. Trial prep is key to every defense. Quality trial prep helps your plea offer. A properly prepared case may scare the state. The state doesn’t always like going to trial. Your lawyer will make the case look unfavorable to the state. Trial prep involves many things. First, your lawyer talks to witnesses. Second, your lawyer files motions, Third, your lawyer investigates witnesses. Fourth, your lawyer conducts depositions. Fifth, your lawyer prepares key components of trial. For example, opening statements. Your lawyer may write out closings, cross examinations, etc.


The trial itself. Your lawyer’s job is to conduct trial. First, there is jury selection. Next, there are opening statements. Third, there are cross examinations. Fourth there is a JOA argument. Fifth, there is the Defense case. Sixth, there is closing arguments.

Your lawyer’s job is to conduct each part of the trial. These parts make up the trial as a whole.

In summary, your lawyer has many responsibilities. If you have any questions about these responsibilities, call Smith & Eulo today. 407-930-8912

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