In the realm of criminal justice, the role of a defense attorney is paramount. These legal professionals serve as advocates for individuals accused of crimes, playing a vital role in safeguarding their rights and ensuring a fair legal process. When fines and prison time are on the line, the importance of having a quality defense attorney cannot be overstated, as it can significantly impact the outcomes for those facing criminal charges.


Safeguarding rights

One of the primary functions of a defense attorney is to protect the rights of the accused. The U.S. Constitution guarantees certain rights to individuals accused of crimes, such as the right to remain silent, the right to a fair trial, and the right to legal counsel. A quality defense attorney ensures that these rights are upheld throughout the legal proceedings. They can advise their clients on when to assert these rights and work to prevent any violations that might occur during the investigation or trial.


To protect the rights of the accused, LaHood Norton Law Group recommends talking to or through a trusted attorney when presented with questions from law enforcement.   


“Most people don’t think to engage a criminal defense lawyer while they’re being investigated by a law enforcement agency,” said Nicholas LaHood, a founding attorney at local firm LaHood Norton Law Group. “You do not have to talk if you are contacted by a law enforcement agency or any governmental agency. You do not have to talk or give any information without counsel from a criminal defense lawyer.”


Knowledge and expertise

Extensive experience and access to certain resources allow attorneys to significantly alter the outcomes of cases. They will thoroughly investigate evidence and identify potential weaknesses in the prosecution’s case. In the event that a case goes to trial, attorneys will call influential witnesses to support their arguments and will approach cases from unique angles to achieve the best result for their clients.


Defense attorneys also possess specialized knowledge of criminal law and courtroom procedures. They understand the intricacies of the legal system and can use this knowledge to develop effective strategies for their clients. In fact, the lawyers at LaHood Norton Law Group are former prosecutors, so they are well informed about court processes on both sides of the aisle.


Negotiating plea deals

Not every criminal case goes to trial. Many are resolved through plea negotiations. A skilled defense attorney can negotiate with prosecutors to secure favorable plea deals for their clients. These agreements can result in reduced charges, lesser sentences, or alternative sentencing options, such as probation or diversion programs. Without a defense attorney, individuals may be at a disadvantage when trying to negotiate these deals on their own.


Building a strong defense

Quality defense attorneys use the evidence they gather to challenge the prosecution’s viewpoint. The pressure to prove guilt is on the prosecution, so it is a defense attorney’s job to fight for the accused and highlight reasonable doubt in the minds of the jurors. If the prosecution cannot meet the high standard of proof required for a conviction, then a defense attorney can achieve acquittal or a verdict of not guilty for their client.


Protection from harsh penalties

Convictions for certain crimes can lead to severe consequences, including imprisonment, fines, and a permanent criminal record. A defense attorney’s role is to fight for the best possible outcome for their client. This may involve seeking reduced charges, exploring alternative sentencing options, or arguing in favor of mitigating factors. Without an attorney, individuals accused of a crime are more vulnerable to facing the full force of the law in the form of a maximum penalty.


There is significant value in employing a quality defense attorney when you’ve been accused of a crime or are being investigated by law enforcement. Defense lawyers are instrumental in safeguarding the rights of the accused, using their knowledge and expertise to build strong defenses, negotiating favorable outcomes, and protecting individuals from harsh penalties. In a system that values the presumption of innocence, a defense attorney is often the most crucial ally for those facing criminal charges, ensuring that justice is served to the letter of the law.


“If you have found yourself on the wrong side of the law, up against the intimidating criminal justice system, you are probably feeling anxious and overwhelmed,” according to local law firm LaHood Norton Law Group. “Whether this is your first run-in with the law or not, you have a lot at stake. Don’t jeopardize your future and your freedom—turn to the professionals.”


LaHood Norton Law Group is highly experienced in criminal defense law and employs former prosecutors who are familiar with both sides of the courtroom. If you believe you have a case requiring legal representation, visit LaHood Norton Law Group online or call (210) 797-7700 to schedule a free and private consultation.