A criminal defense attorney serves as a defendant’s guide, protector and confidant in the complex legal system. They are required to have a detailed working knowledge of statute law in order to be able to explain to a judge or jury how the law applies to their client’s specific situation. This requires a thorough understanding of all laws that apply to a given case including State, Federal and local regulations.
They spend a great deal of time reviewing all documentation in their client’s case and carefully studying how the law could be applied to that particular circumstance. In many cases a lawyer will be able to expose mistakes by the prosecution that may lead to dismissal or reduction in charges and or sentence. A good criminal lawyer will also be able to cross-examine witnesses and present evidence that proves the client’s innocence.
One type of defense that is often used in criminal cases involves claiming that the use of force was justified. For this to be true, a jury must find that the threat was real and that the defendant believed the only way to avoid that danger was to use force. For example, Kristen is walking alone after a concert at night and a stranger approaches her, so she maxes him in self-defense.
Another type of defense involves claiming that the crime was committed under duress. For this to work, the defense needs to convince the jury that if they were in the defendant’s position, they would have committed the same crime. For instance, a co-defendant might threaten to hurt someone in their family unless they agreed to commit a crime for them.