You are sure to already know that a criminal defense lawyer’s main duty is to defend a person who has been charged with a criminal offense. But the exact duties of criminal defense lawyers vary a lot. 

So, let us take a look at what they actually do. 

Interviewing Clients About Their Cases 

The first thing a criminal defense lawyer does when meeting a potential client is to obtain as many details about his or her case as possible. 

During this interview stage, the lawyer will be able to learn about the weaknesses and strengths of the case and discover potential defenses. 

Investigating Cases and Analyzing Evidence

After the initial interview stage, a criminal defense lawyer will investigate a client’s case in detail in order to determine possible routes for acquittal or potential defenses, such as an affirmative defense

The investigation stage could involve questioning police about the procedures they used, talking to witnesses, and gathering information. 

The lawyer will also analyze the evidence by carefully studying the facts and theories involved in the case. Then, the lawyer can begin to build a strong defense for the client. 

Selecting the Jury

In criminal cases, a defense lawyer will assist in the jury selection to ensure the client has a fair trial. The lawyer may have cause to remove certain jurors. For instance, they could be seen as being potentially biased against the defendant.

And extra care needs to be taken in jury selection when trials involve high-profile cases that are in the news, such as murder cases.

Plea Bargaining

Plea bargaining is an arrangement between the prosecution and the defense in which the defendant pleads guilty to a lesser charge in order to receive a more lenient sentence or in return for agreeing to drop other charges. 

The criminal defense lawyer is responsible for negotiating with the prosecutor regarding any possible plea bargain. So, the defense lawyer may be able to secure a favorable deal for his or her client. 

Participating in Trials

During a criminal trial, a defense lawyer will use his or her expert knowledge and skills to examine witnesses, cross-examine the prosecution’s witnesses, and convince the jury that the prosecutor has failed to prove that the defendant is guilty.

Participating in Sentencing

The sentencing comes at the end of the trial, of course. In the event that the defendant is found guilty of a crime, either because the jury has returned a guilty verdict or the defendant has accepted a plea bargain, the criminal defense lawyer will use his or her skills to convince the jury or judge that a minimum sentence is the best course of action for the defendant. 

Also, the lawyer may be able to convince the judge or jury to pass an alternative sentence to incarceration.

A Good Criminal Defense Lawyer Will Always Work for the Best Interests of the Client

Ultimately, a good criminal defense lawyer will always work for the best interests of his or her client. 

That not only means doing all of the things listed above to help the defendant receive the best possible outcome. It also means having excellent interpersonal and communication skills so that the defendant is more at ease and knows he or she is in capable hands. 

The best criminal defense lawyers, such as those on, ensure they do everything in their power to help their clients.

Summing Up

It is no wonder that criminal defense lawyers have to spend years at law school and pass the bar exam in order to become qualified to perform all of the above duties. 

To recap, a criminal defense lawyer:

  • Interviews clients to ascertain facts.
  • Investigates cases thoroughly and gathers and analyzes evidence.
  • Participates in jury selection.
  • Engages in plea bargaining.
  • Participates in trials.
  • Participates in sentencing.
  • Works for the best interests of his or her client.