Defense Lawyers: Their Role and Importance

Why should I retain and cooperate with my criminal defense attorney?

The justice system accords certain rights to criminal defendants. In a free country like the United States, you are wise to learn as much about the process as you can. One of the most important, if not the most important, part of the process is the right to be represented by an attorney. Nobody expects laypersons to understand the complex criminal law and criminal procedure law. Therefore, a knowledgeable and experienced attorney is crucial to the task of proving one’s innocence.

There are certain skills a defendant can expect the defense attorney to have mastered and a skilled defense attorney will also be able to educate the defendant about what to expect during the case. In addition, representation by an attorney earns the defendant the respect he or she deserves from the government.

Defense attorneys understand that the government has any burden of proof. In addition, the government’s burden of proof is the highest in the entire justice system – “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Such a high burden of proof can be used to the defendant’s advantage, but only if the defense attorney understands how the burden applies to the evidence available.

Defense attorneys master the extremely complex procedural rules governing the admissibility of evidence, especially which evidence is excluded by law. The defense attorney also knows the ins and outs of direct and cross examination of witnesses. This skill is best honed through experience. Last but not least, the defense attorney is able to properly screen and filter potential jurors to ensure the most fair and balanced jury possible.

Perhaps the defense attorney’s most important skill is handling plea deals. In the majority of criminal cases something called a “plea” will be offered by the prosecutor. Defense attorneys will be familiar with the strength of the criminal case and will be best able to determine whether the plea deal is fair, or whether the defendant deserves a better deal. Such a decision cannot possibly be made properly without appropriate training and experience. This is perhaps the most important reason to retain the best defense attorney available.

If you are looking for a knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense attorney in New Jersey, please call the Sitzler Law Firm at 609-267-1101.