Criminal Defense Law Center
West Michigan

What Does A Criminal Defense Lawyer Do?

Criminal defense lawyers work hard every day to get their clients the best results possible. We feel a deep sense of pride when we catch the government breaking the rules and holing them accountable for it. The United States Constitution provides us with certain fundamental rights. When the government doesn’t follow the rules, we will make sure the government pays for that mistake. Catching the government breaking the rules may lead to clients getting are client’s charges dropped or a much better plea-deal than they may have gotten otherwise. There is a saying in the legal world, “Loose lips sink ships.” Police officers, the FBI and jail guards will act like they are your friend. We tell all of our clients and to all reading this blog to exercise the right to remain silent. It will help you and your lawyer a lot!

Protecting our clients from illegal searches and seizures is another right criminal defense lawyers protect. Trust me when I tell you that we see the government do this frequently. Finally, we protect people by making sure the government provides evidence that meets the burden of proof necessary to convict someone for a crime. If the government can’t prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt, we are there to make sure the judge and jury know this. This means that sometimes a guilty person may get away with a crime, but we believe that it is better to let a guilty person walk away than convict an innocent person.

Finally, I tell my clients that I am here to defend their innocence. While our criminal justice system assumes you are innocent until proven guilty, the reality is that innocent people get charged with serious felonies and misdemeanors every single day across all West Michigan courts. Criminal defense attorneys are able to help clients get outstanding results when they are completely innocent of the charges brought against them. We do this by getting a not guilty verdict at trial or by getting the charges dropped.

Why Are Criminal Defense Lawyers Important?

If protecting the innocent and making sure the government follows the rules isn’t important enough, providing our clients with powerful knowledge should cement the importance of criminal defense lawyers. When you have a tough fighter on your side, you will be given valuable insight on what steps you need to take to get the best results possible in your case.

This knowledge includes:

  1. Why you shouldn’t talk to the police
  2. What your charges are
  3. What are the penalties of your charges
  4. What defenses you might have against the charges
  5. Best plea bargains you can get for your case
  6. If you can win your case at trial

Finally, we protect our clients future. A client that is facing a drug charge can lose their legal ability to drive. A drug charge can also keep a person from getting financial aid for college. Protecting our clients from getting a felony on their record keeps open employment opportunities and numerous other benefits.

Criminal Defense Attorney Tasks: Pre-Trial

Criminal Defense Attorneys work closely with their clients all throughout the process of a criminal case. Smart people retain a lawyer during the period of investigation before a charge is even filed. If a police officer is calling you up out of the blue, you need to retain a lawyer ASAP! A lawyer will be able to help you make sure you do not provide the police officer with any incriminating information.  If you are innocent and think you can talk with a police officer who is investigating you for committing a crime, think again! We see far too often a person who talks to a police officer because they have nothing to hide and “didn’t do it,” get charged based on their conversation with law enforcement. Law enforcement agents are highly trained individuals who are skillful at twisting what you say in a way that makes you look guilty to a prosecutor and jury. 


At this pretrial stage, a criminal defense lawyer can start talking to the prosecutor about why you should not be charged and if you are going to be charged why the charges should be less than what the officer and prosecutor might think are called for simply based on a police report. We make sure the prosecutor has the full picture of what happens before they decide to press charges. We understand that the prosecutor has to prove probable cause and we know the arguments that can be made effectively to a prosecutor about why charges should be reduced or dropped. 


After you are arrested for a crime, you can be detained pending your trial. Criminal defense lawyers can make arguments for you in front of a judge that will allow you to post bond. Bond will give you the chance to stay out of jail pending trial or resolution of the case. In some cases, we are able to get our clients a personal recognizance bond. This means you don’t have to pay anything to stay free pending trial. You just have to promise the court you will show up for future court dates. 

Criminal Defense Attorney Tasks: Trial

Does any reasonable person want to face a trial without a lawyer? Going to trial without a lawyer is a sure fire way to get found guilty of a crime you didn’t commit.  Criminal defense attorneys will examine and analyze your case. We will identify the strengths and weaknesses of your case. We will give you great advice as to what you need to do to prepare for trial. We will guide you in a way that will let you present your evidence in a clear manner.  


If you have a weak case, we will tell you. We will explain to you the benefits of taking a plea deal if your case is weak. If your trial does not go the way you want it to, we can help you prepare appeals. 

Why Does A Good Criminal Defense Attorney Cost So Much?

As a five star rated criminal defense lawyer, I try to keep my rates reasonable. Reasonable does not mean cheap. There are many factors that determine how much an attorney might charge you. The factors are:

  1. How much time the case will take.
  2. How complicated the case is.
  3. The seriousness of the criminal charge.
  4. How much experience your lawyer has practicing law.
  5. Is the lawyer recognized as a specialist in this area of law? 

Do not hire an attorney who charges rates that are considerably lower than what you are getting quoted by other lawyers. Here is West Michigan, we had a lawyer who was charging retainer fees at $50 dollars down, $50 dollars a month. Needless to say, this lawyer’s clients were not happy with the service and results they were getting. In totally not surprising news, this lawyer was disbarred. Better Call Saul is a good show, but if your lawyer is acting like him you need to run away real fast!

Consider how much is at stake for you when you are facing criminal charges, the real question you need to ask is your freedom and reputation worth the price of a lawyer. If it is, be glad you can afford a great lawyer to get you the best results possible. 

Is A Private Attorney Better Than A Court Appointed Attorney

It’s hard to say without knowing who your court appointed attorney is. You are literally rolling the dice when you go with a court appointed attorney. There are several court appointed attorneys and public defenders that do outstanding work. There are also quite a few that do poor work. The main reason for this is how many cases they are handling at one time. I only handle a select few cases at a time. This means my clients will get all the time needed to get the best results possible. I am never so busy with cases that I have to cut corners for my clients. Given how much is on the line for you when it comes to fighting criminal charges, can you really afford to roll the dice with a court appointed lawyer?

Final Thoughts

I hope this blog has answered questions you might have regarding what does a criminal defense attorney do? As the blog has shown, defense lawyers like myself are busy defending the constitution, protecting the rights of our clients and making sure the government follows the rules. And yes, sometimes we do defend the innocent. 


I’ve been asked several times in my life, “How can you defend someone who is guilty?”  As my old criminal law professor once told me, “It’s not about helping people get away with committing a crime, it’s about making sure the prosecution does its job.”  I’ve also had the pleasure of representing good people who made a poor choice. They may have one one too many drinks before driving home and getting busted for drunk driving. It feels good trying to cut a break for people who have made a mistake. 

If you have any questions about a criminal matter or you have been arrested, give me a call today at 616-438-6719. The call is free so don’t hesitate to call me!

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