What Does a Criminal Defense Lawyer Do?


Criminal defense lawyers have many different responsibilities during a criminal investigation and case. The main role, however, is defending the person who has been charged with a crime. Consider the most important things that criminal defense lawyers do for clients.

Note that while a local, state and federal criminal lawyer Los Angeles CA may have different jurisdictions, they all have the same basic responsibilities.


A criminal defense lawyer will meet with a client and ask for details about the case and events that led to the client being charged. Defense lawyers will spend hours talking about the case to ascertain what defense strategy will be the strongest.


Next, the lawyer will talk to police and witnesses to gather even more information about the case and to build the defense. If the prosecution is calling an expert witness, then the criminal defense attorney will have an opportunity to talk to that specialist as well.

Analyze Evidence

If the prosecution has evidence that will be used in the trial, the defense lawyer can have the evidence independently tested. The test results may help the defense come up with legal theories that are in contrast to the prosecution’s theories.

Select the Jury

The defense has an active role in helping select the jury. If the criminal defense lawyer believes that a juror may be biased against the criminal defendant, then the lawyer may have an opportunity to have the juror removed.


A criminal defense lawyer will negotiate with the prosecution if a plea bargain is available. The plea bargain may help the defendant receive a reduced charge.

Court-appointed lawyers will represent criminal defendants who cannot afford a defense attorney, and the government will cover the cost. Regardless of whether the defendant hires a lawyer or is assigned one, a defense attorney will fight for the defendant’s rights and for a fair trial.

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