Life as a criminal defense lawyer is not easy when your job is basically to help those who are arrested of a crime. While some of the clients you meet are innocent, many of them are guilty and have had previous run-ins with the law.
Since the law dictates that everyone is innocent until proven guilty and you decided to specialize in this field, you have to defend this person by putting up the best defense there is available.
There are various strategies you can use to get your client off. You can plead insanity or claim that someone else did the crime. If your client has something to offer, you can make a deal with the district attorney in exchange for the client being granted immunity.
But before you decide what cards to play, you have to talk to your client. If this person is in jail, you have to go there and ask what happened. You should already discuss whether to enter a guilty or not guilty plea because your client will be arraigned shortly.
When a trial date has been set, you can get a copy of the documents of the case from the district attorney’s office because by law, both sides are supposed to view everything from the police reports to the evidence.
You will also get a copy of the people the prosecution will be calling to the witness stand as they too will also be aware of that so there will be no surprises during trial.
When it is your turn to cross examine the witness, you should use whatever is available to cast doubt on their testimony because this is the only way that the jury may be convinced that your client is not capable of doing the crime. Using expert witnesses of your own is also helpful since they can dispute the claims of the other camp.
Before the jury will reach its verdict, you will have one last chance to state your client’s innocence when you are given the opportunity for your closing argument. When it is all over, you just have to wait for the decision of the court to take the next course of action.
Your client’s not guilty verdict means your job is done and you can move on and work with another client. A guilty verdict means you have to stay on as counsel for this individual and appeal the jury’s decision to a higher court so you can perhaps get a reversal.
The best way to win an appeal is to determine if there is something in the trial that shouldn’t have happened or was overlooked. These technicalities are better known as constitutional protections. For instance, the client’s confession was taken without the presence of a lawyer so whatever they said is inadmissible in court. The same goes if a search was done without a warrant.
There are many examples which you can use. You may even cite a case with similar circumstances because this serves as precedence to the one you are working on.
The life of a criminal defense lawyer is challenging no matter how many times you have been inside the court room. This is because you get to work with different clients each time since someone who was innocent can no longer be charged with the same offense because of the principle of double jeopardy.