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2024 What Does a Texas Criminal Defense Attorney Do?

If you were recently charged with a crime, you may be wondering, “What does a Texas criminal defense attorney do?” In the United States, criminal defendants have a constitutional right to an attorney. This ensures that anyone who is charged with a crime has protected rights throughout the criminal proceedings. Of all the areas of law that attorneys can practice, criminal law presents unique challenges and opportunities for lawyers to serve their clients.

Protect the Rights of Clients

One of the most important jobs of a Texas criminal defense attorney is the protection of the constitutional rights of clients. The U.S. Constitution affords many rights to defendants, including the right to a fair and speedy trial. Rulings by high courts have expanded those rights, and a criminal defense attorney understands how to apply the Constitution and high court rulings in the service of their clients.

One example would be protections against unlawful searches and seizures. If someone is charged with drug possession but the evidence was collected unlawfully, a criminal defense attorney can inform the court of the violation of due process against the defendant. Those violations can lead to the charges being dropped altogether. If the case goes to trial, a jury may be informed of the misconduct by law enforcement.

Investigate Circumstances Surrounding Criminal Charges

Criminal defense attorneys are often astute investigators. When defending clients, the lawyers may question witnesses and examine evidence related to the defendant’s criminal charges. Criminal defense attorneys have vast resources, and they can use the power of the court to compel the release of evidence or testimony through the issuance of subpoenas.

Any evidence that weakens the prosecution’s case can serve the interest of the defendant. While a defendant may be restricted from contacting the alleged victim of the crime or witnesses, a criminal defense attorney is under no such restrictions.

File Motions

Criminal defense attorneys attend law school and pass the bar exam in the state where they practice law. Part of their training prepares them to file motions in court. Understanding which motions to file and how to word those court filings takes years of experience and training.

They may file a motion to suppress evidence when the evidence was obtained unlawfully. They may file a motion to dismiss the case altogether when there is strong evidence that their client did not commit a crime. When the court shows prejudice or bias, the criminal defense attorney may file a motion for a change of venue so their client can have a fair trial. While filing a motion sounds straightforward, the courts are meticulous about how motions are worded.

Represent Clients

When defendants represent themselves in court, they potentially risk self-incrimination. One job of a criminal defense attorney is to represent their client in court. During hearings, the attorney speaks on behalf of the client. In some criminal cases, the only words ever put on the record by a defendant may be “not guilty.”

Criminal defense attorneys routinely speak to the prosecution about a case. Attorneys understand what to say and what not to say. Anything the defendant says to their attorney is privileged information. The attorney can take the defendant’s information and relay only the statements that place the defendant in a favorable light.

If a case goes to trial, the defense attorney is the defendant’s spokesperson. Attorneys are well-versed in persuasive rhetoric. They understand how to communicate the law in simple terms to the jury.


Q: What’s The Difference Between a Prosecutor and a Defense Attorney?

A: In a criminal case, the prosecutor represents the State of Texas. Prosecutors often work for county district attorneys. Their job is to bring charges and represent victims of crimes. Anyone who is accused of a crime can be represented by a defense attorney. The attorney’s job is to advocate for the interests of the defendant.

Q: Are Criminal Defense Attorneys the Same as Civil Attorneys?

A: Criminal and civil law are unique and separate areas of law. Only criminal cases can result in someone being incarcerated. Because the stakes are high for a criminal defendant, there are many protections afforded defendants. Civil law attorneys are more focused on winning monetary compensation for plaintiffs for violations of civil law.

Q: What Does the Defense Attorney Represent?

A: The defense attorney represents a defendant in a criminal case. The defense attorney’s job is to protect the rights of the defendant and to seek a favorable outcome to the criminal case. The U.S. Constitution affords powerful protections for defendants. A favorable outcome sometimes means exoneration. Other times, it may mean a favorable plea bargain deal.

Q: Which Lawyer Wins the Most Cases?

A: A good criminal defense attorney is one who has a track record of helping clients receive favorable outcomes in cases. During your consultation with a defense attorney, one question you can ask is how many cases they’ve won. Criminal defense attorneys often display descriptions of past client wins on their websites.

Q: What Is the Personality of a Criminal Defense Lawyer?

A: Criminal defense attorneys have a reputation for being aggressive in their defense of clients. Criminal law is generally not for the timid. The stakes couldn’t be higher when someone faces potential jail or prison time. A good defense attorney is someone who can remain calm even during tough hearings or trials.

Schedule a Criminal Defense Consultation Today

Criminal law is unlike any other legal practice. Defendants come to criminal law attorneys seeking to have their criminal charges reduced or dropped. The system is adversarial by design, and prosecutors have vast resources at their disposal to prosecute defendants. Anyone who is facing criminal charges should take time to research who they plan to hire for their defense.

The Law Office of Joseph Ruiz, PLLC, provides strategic criminal defense in Houston and surrounding Texas communities. If you face criminal charges, exercise your constitutional rights by securing a Houston criminal defense attorney. Contact the Law Office of Joseph Ruiz, PLLC, today to schedule a consultation and learn how we can assist with your case.

Law Office of Joseph Ruiz, PLLC