The Role of Criminal Defence Lawyers

You might be asking yourself, “what do criminal defence lawyers do?” and you would not be alone in asking that question. 

A criminal defence lawyer represents persons who have been charged with criminal or quasi-criminal offences (that is, offences which are not Criminal Code offences, or Controlled Drugs and Substances Act offences, but offences such as Traffic Safety Act offences, for example).
Defence lawyers ensure that the rights of accused persons are protected throughout the criminal process. Once a defence lawyer is hired by an accused person, there are a number of steps which a defence lawyer would typically go through in representing their clients. Those steps would generally include:

  • Receiving a copy of the disclosure (evidence) from the prosecution;

  • Reviewing the disclosure, and perhaps requesting supplemental disclosure;

  • Providing legal advice; and 

  • Taking a client’s instructions.

Reviewing disclosure is the first step in determining what the prosecution’s case is all about. This is an important step as often police charge people without having the necessary proof of a criminal offence. The case will nevertheless make its way to the prosecution, and only after it is carefully examined by a defence lawyer will the frailties of the case come to light. It may be that at that stage, a skilled defence lawyer is able to negotiation for an outright withdrawal of the charges with the the prosecutor.
If the case is not dropped outright, then clients will have several choices available to them as to which direction they want to go with their file. The client will provide the defence lawyer with their instructions after receiving legal advice.
A client may give instructions to their defence lawyer to proceed with a trial of the matter. If that is the case, then the defence lawyer will question the evidence put forward by the prosecution, examine the importance or relevance of the evidence, and cross-examine witnesses as to other possible interpretations of the evidence. It takes skill and experience to be able to effectively cross-examine witnesses, and to poke holes in the prosecution’s case.
Defence lawyers may also be instructed to negotiate the best possible resolution for a client’s matter. In that instance, a defence lawyer’s negotiation skills are put to the task.

It is important to choose a defence lawyer who you have confidence will do the best possible job for your case and fight to uphold your rights. Call me today to discuss your case!!