Criminal defense lawyers do much more than simply question witnesses in court. Good defense attorneys will:
- Formulate sentencing programs tailored to a client's specific needs, often helping defendants avoid future brushes with the justice system.
- Provide defendants with a real world information pertaining to each situation, a knowledgeable, objective perspective and what is likely to happen should their cases go to trial. This perspective is vital for defendants trying to decide whether to accept a prosecutor's offered "plea bargain" from the prosecutor.
- Are familiar with important legal rules because many criminal law rules are hidden away in court interpretations of federal and state constitutions.
- Are familiar with local court customs and procedures that aren't written down anywhere (for example, a lawyer may know which prosecutor has the "real" authority to settle a case, and what kinds of arguments are likely to appeal to that prosecutor).
- Understand the possible "hidden costs" of pleading guilty which a self-represented person might never think about.
- Spend crucial time on your case.
- Gather information from prosecution witnesses.
- Hire and manage investigators, who may be able to believably impeach (contradict) prosecution witnesses who embellish or change their stories at trial.