You’ve probably seen crime-solving shows where the defendant is a criminal and a criminal lawyer is defending that person. But what if you are told that most of what you see in these shows isn’t as accurate?
Yes, the reality is quite different. In fact, there are some facts about criminal defense lawyers that’ll completely take you by surprise!
But before we jump into that, let’s talk a little about who criminal defense lawyers are and what they do.
A Little About Criminal Defense Lawyers
As the designation itself suggests, criminal defense lawyers specialize in defending those people who have committed a crime or been accused of committing a crime.
Even though it sounds simple, it’s not that easy. In the US, criminal defense lawyers usually deal with charges surrounding crimes like drug dealing, theft, murder, unlawful trespassing, etc. They also deal with bails, appeals, and any other complications in the post-trial period.
If you live in cities like Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, or Austin, and you or someone you know is facing incorrect criminal charges, then you can hire a criminal defense attorney. They will present evidence in favor of the accused and fight for justice based on the laws of the state and the country.
Some Interesting Facts About Criminal Lawyers
Although you may think you know well about criminal defense lawyers from all the crime shows you’ve watched, these facts may change your opinion about them forever.
- They Bond With Their Clients Before Moving Forward
Yes, you’ve definitely seen this part in TV shows, where the lawyer tries to get to know their client. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re trying to build a friendship.
Criminal defense lawyers try to bond with their clients by building trust. They try to educate their clients on their rights and ensure that the accused get complete access to their rights.
While it’s often quite difficult for criminal defense lawyers to bond with many of their clients, it’s an indispensable part of their job. Most experienced attorneys have some tricks up their sleeves to make their potential clients comfortable and thus paving the way for a bond based on trust and transparency.
- They Don’t Let Their Personal Feelings Interfere
Regardless of the criminal offense that their client has committed or is accused of, criminal defense lawyers don’t let their personal feelings interfere with their ultimate goal. These lawyers are very calm and collected and always try to keep their clients calm as well.
According to the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution, the person accused of a crime has every right to appoint an attorney to represent them and fight the case in their favor. They have the right to get someone on their corner who will try their best to win a trial or help them get the most generous sentence. And that’s what criminal lawyers do without allowing their own judgments or feelings to come in the way.
- They Research the Background of the Jurors
Why do criminal lawyers need to examine the jurors? Not all jurors are the same. Some are more persuasive, while others are quite adamant in their thoughts.
Criminal lawyers, both in defense and in prosecution, thoroughly check the background of the jurors to know their personalities, how open they are to arguments, and how persuasive they can be.
This helps the lawyers prepare themselves well enough to speak in the language of the jurors so that they can persuade the jurors more effectively. This can ensure that the lawyer has the best chance to secure the most favorable sentence for their client(s).
- Criminal Defense Lawyers Observe Everyone’s Body Language
The defending lawyer also observes the body language of the jurors, including facial expressions and hand gestures, as these can be quite suggestive and revealing.
Simple gestures, like nodding when they agree with something or shaking their head while frowning because they don’t support a point, are easy to understand.
But it’s not just the jurors they watch. They also have a keen eye for everyone present in the courtroom, whether they’re on the defense side or against. Small cues like eye movements, frowning, forehead expression, etc., can give off contradictory messages.
Sometimes, such things may show that someone wants to give information, but they’re hesitating. Or, maybe someone is connected to the crime and is trying to hide it. Criminal lawyers need to be well-educated on body language for these reasons.
- They Thrive on Nearly Impossible Cases
One of the main reasons criminal defense lawyers take on this sub-specialty is because they believe in ‘innocent until proven guilty.’ But why so? They aren’t anyone ordinary. These lawyers always love to take challenges, especially things labeled as ‘nearly impossible.’
Every case they take is a new challenge for them to test and polish their knowledge, skills, and training, which is why criminal cases excite them a lot. Besides, high-stakes cases are their favorite, as these get their hearts racing. They love the adrenaline rush!
Although they love the excitement, the more high stakes a case is, the longer it’ll take, which means more investigation. Criminal lawyers typically prefer this, as they love getting their hands dirty to make their clients clean.
- They Don’t Release Client Confessions
Legally, the discussions between the client and the lawyer remain confidential, even after the case closes. The attorney can’t reveal anything unless it’s required to ensure a favorable outcome for the client(s).
That’s why if the client confesses to a crime or makes any admission of guilt in some other crime, the attorney is legally obligated to keep it a secret, even if you end up letting them go as your attorney or in the event that the case gets resolved.
- They Know How to Take Advantage of Forensic Evidence
Besides recognizing body language, the other thing that criminal defense lawyers are experts at is understanding and using forensic evidence to bring the case in their client’s favor. The court usually makes a lot of decisions based on this evidence, as they’re scientifically provable.
You can’t challenge evidence like fingerprints unless you’re confident that someone has planted it somehow. But there is some forensic evidence that a criminal defense lawyer can challenge, such as ballistics reports, DNA, blood stains, breathalyzer test, and trace evidence.
- They Stand Close to Their Clients
Remember how criminal defense lawyers suddenly stand up from their seats to object or start pacing while presenting their information? It’s different in reality.
They usually either stand close to their clients or near witness stands when they take testimonials.
Sometimes, before a verdict, criminal defense lawyers will stand close and hold their clients. There have been cases where the defendants collapsed when the judge gave the final judgment. These lawyers then hold and handle their clients in such moments.
- People Often Don’t Like Them
Because of their title, people don’t even like them as they’re often victims of the stigma of what criminal defense lawyers do.
Many criminal lawyers report that, as they become more popular and more people come to know of their personal information, they start getting hate mail as well connected to the cases they’re fighting or had fought.
Criminal defense lawyers grow a thick skin when they get into this profession. They employ a confident attitude, which is why hate mail and general distaste from a lot of people don’t bother them.
If you’re someone who is thinking about becoming a criminal lawyer, this point is especially pertinent for you. You need to start growing thick skin now.
- 10.Public Opinions Can Influence Their Strategies Greatly
Usually, when there are criminal cases in small cities or counties, information can circulate among the residents and even make national headlines.
The public will definitely be highly opinionated, especially if it’s a sensational case in a small town. Though generally mostly useless noise, some of them may have information that can carry the case.
Beneficial opinions can bring different angles to the cases, affecting the judgment of the jurors and others in the courtroom. Criminal defense lawyers use the information to strengthen the case or shed new light on the existing arguments.
Criminal defense lawyers, especially public lawyers, get a bad rep for their job. However, knowing how they work and the strength they need to pull to bring their clients justice can help you understand a lot about their line of work.
From handling their clients to persuading the jurors and others to controlling how the hate around them affects them, these lawyers are far from what we see in the TV series. They’re definitely much stronger than we imagine, rather than crooked.