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What Does a Defense Attorney Actually Do Once Retained?

Enforcement Officer

If you’re considering hiring an attorney to represent you on a criminal charge, you may find yourself wondering whether you even need one. If you’ve already hired an attorney to represent you, you may find yourself wondering what, exactly, you are paying for. So, what do attorneys do once they’re hired?

The goal of a defense attorney is to find the most reasonable or best outcome for their client. Depending on when in the process the attorney is hired, their goal may be to keep you from being arrested or to ensure that you receive the lowest possible sentence after a conviction.

When you retain an attorney, you are essentially paying someone to do the work for you. You are buying their knowledge and experience and putting it to work to protect your rights and defend your name.

Attorneys Do the Paperwork for You

Once retained, your attorney will submit all the required paperwork to notify the courts that you have retained an attorney, are demanding to review all evidence in the case and, for Summary Court cases, that you are requesting a jury trial. If your case requires or would benefit from additional motions and hearings, the attorney will submit those to the court on your behalf. Attorneys will handle any and all correspondence with the courts on your behalf – whether that be very technical (like a Suppression Motion) or very simple (like a change of address notification).

Attorneys Go to Court for You (Or With You)

When you retain an attorney, they will either attend all court appearances with you or attend all court appearances for you. This will depend on which court your case is in: General Sessions court requires you to attend all court appearances, but Summary Court only requires your attorney to be present except for trials. Having an attorney in court with you means that you can quickly and easily get your questions answered and feel comfortable knowing that someone else will be leading the conversation during the appearance. Having an attorney attend court for you means you rarely have to worry about getting a day off of work or school or finding someone to watch the kids while you’re in court.

Attorneys Go to Bat for You

You are your attorney’s number one concern. Every interaction your attorney has with law enforcement, the prosecution, and the court is with your best interests in mind.

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