The Practice, Suits, Boston Legal, Outlaw etc. are some of the popular legal-drama TV shows that you may see on TV. Watching these shows definitely gives you an insight into the lives of law professionals and law firms. But what a criminal lawyer really deals with on a day-to-day basis is nothing like shown in these TV shows. As a matter of fact, even law school cannot prepare you for the life of a criminal lawyer.
Understanding the client
In majority of the cases, the client is already in police custody. So it is usually the desperate spouse or parent getting in touch with you who is willing to pay whatever it takes to save their loved one who has been arrested. They will act extremely pushy and needy and if you are already caught up with a few cases, it becomes extremely difficult to turn someone down. Unless you can dedicate resources to your client, it is not advisable to take up the case.
If you decide to take up the case, knowing all the facts is of prime importance. Knowing the minutest details of the case and the client can turn around any case. Convincing the client to be honest with you is also essential. Many clients omit facts or try to hide them from the criminal lawyer. Clients that lie about facts, increase your chances of losing the case.
Therefore, no matter what happens, gaining the trust of the client to collect accurate information about the case is a must. Moreover, a defense lawyer, who knows the facts of the case well, can surely make the work easier and faster for the District Attorney.
Dealing with what the client says
Remember in every crime drama TV show, the police will always inform the accused that they have the right to remain silent? Well in reality, most people who are caught by the police feel too intimidated and confess to all crimes without thinking twice. A client, who has already confessed to a crime in front of the police, leaves little or no choice for the defense lawyer. What is said is recorded and even in the absence of proper evidence, the confession is all it takes to take your client down.
In such cases, you are just negotiating and bargaining on behalf of your client. The years in prison, penalties or probations are the only factors that you can argue upon.
Knowing the Law and presenting the case
Not knowing the law in and out can cost your client much more than you can imagine. If you get the laws wrong, it will not be long until your client will be heard saying that a better criminal lawyer could have saved me. In every case it is important to figure out the best case and worst-case scenarios for your client and communicate the same.
Secondly, apart from doing your homework right, it is also about how you come across to the judge and the jury. Dressing the part of a criminal lawyer and presenting the case after studying the target audience i.e. the jury or judge can bring you closer to success.