Do I Need to Hire A Criminal Defence Lawyer? What Does a Criminal Defence Lawyer Do?
Criminal defence lawyers, like the ones listed in our defence lawyer directory, tend to get a bad rap. They are often seen as barriers to justice for victims, rather than important protectors of Canadians’ constitutional rights. Criminal defence lawyers play a crucial role in ensuring that innocent people are not convicted of crimes and that guilty people do not face undue punishment for their actions. It is a criminal defence lawyer’s job to ensure everyone who is accused of a crime receives capable representation in the justice system.
But how is that accomplished? Do I need to hire a criminal lawyer? What does a defence lawyer actually do?
Do I need to hire a criminal lawyer?
If you have been arrested and charged with a criminal offence, it is absolutely in your best interest to retain experienced defence counsel at your earliest ability to do so. You can represent yourself, but the outcome for self represented defendants in criminal matters is usually not good. Certainly, sub-optimal compared to the results a trained lawyer could achieve. Lawyers are expensive and a robust defence for a serious criminal charge by top-tier criminal defence lawyers can run into tens of thousands and even hundreds of thousands of dollars – Beyond the means of most Canadians. Criminal defence lawyers understand this barrier to justice and often make payment plan arrangements for their clients. Every province in Canada has a legal aid assistance plan to help low income people pay for a defence lawyer.
Communication with Client
Maintaining communication with clients is one of a defence lawyer’s key duties. This starts during initial meetings, where the lawyer will seek to understand the defendant’s side of the story, and should continue throughout the legal process. It is the defence lawyer’s job to ensure their client understands what they are being charged with, how best to fight the charges, and what the consequences of a failed defence may be.
Once a defence lawyer agrees to take on a case, they will launch an independent investigation into the allegations. This process often includes discussions with police, interviews with eye witnesses and expert witnesses, collection and analysis of evidence and information, and review of the prosecutor’s case for potential flaws and weaknesses. The defence lawyer’s investigation forms the basis of their case.
Building the Defence
After discussing the case with their client and collecting and reviewing as much information as possible, the defence lawyer will start to build their case. In some situations, the defence will argue that their client is innocent of all charges; in others, they may seek to negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutor. The goal is always to ensure that the client’s rights are protected and that they receive fair treatment under the law.
Negotiations, Pleas, and Trial Representation
An experienced criminal defence lawyer like the ones found in our defence lawyer directory will consider every option to secure reasonable treatment for their client, including plea bargains. In a plea bargain, the defence lawyer accepts a less-than-maximum sentence in exchange for avoiding trial. When no such compromise is offered, the case will proceed to trial. Here, the defence lawyer will present their client’s case before a judge and jury.
Sentencing and Appeals
A defence lawyer’s job doesn’t end when a guilty verdict is delivered; they must also work to ensure their client receives a fair sentence. In some cases, the defendant may also wish to appeal the decision, an endeavor that the defence lawyer can manage.
How to Find a Criminal Defence Lawyer
If you have been accused of a crime, a criminal defence lawyer can ensure that you receive fair treatment in the Canadian justice system. Our criminal defence lawyer directory of experienced criminal defence lawyers in Toronto and other Canadian cities is a great place to begin your search for a capable representative.