criminal attorney

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A criminal attorney, also known as a criminal defense lawyer, is an attorney who specializes in defending individuals, organizations, and entities charged with crimes. Many criminal lawyers handle not only criminal cases but have other clients as well. Criminal attorneys represent defendants in state, federal and appellate courts. Some states certify criminal lawyers as “criminal law specialists” based on their experience and extensive training in criminal law. 

Some of the tasks performed by a criminal attorney include:

  • Interviewing the client and the witnesses to gather facts.
  • Performing legal research to set up a defense and a case theory.  
  • Gathering evidence in support of their case and analyzing the evidence presented against the client.  
  • Drafting, filing and arguing motions on behalf of the client. 
  • Gathering expert witnesses to testify in court.
  • Discussing and negotiating a potential plea bargain with the prosecution

[Last updated in June of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team