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What Does a Criminal Attorney Do?

A criminal defense attorney in Columbia, South Carolina has a job that is far more complex than the movies would have you believe. An attorney’s primary purpose is to advocate on behalf of their clients and reach the best possible outcome, given the circumstances. 

This process starts when someone who has been charged with a crime meets a lawyer for a consultation. The lawyer will hear what the potential client has to say and may provide some basic details on what can be done. Once the client officially hires the attorney, the real work begins. 


The lawyer will begin by gathering any and all evidence they can use to prove their client’s case–this can include everything from witness statements to CCTV footage. They will also conduct a detailed interview with the client to ascertain their side of the story. 


This is the phase in which the attorney and the prosecutor share evidence with each other. A good lawyer should not be blindsided when the prosecution brings a piece of evidence to court; the attorney should be aware well in advance of any evidence that may be presented during the trial. 

The goal of the attorney during the discovery process is to formulate defenses to the evidence the prosecution provides. This could mean making sure their client has an alibi, or it may mean that the criminal attorney will look for technicalities that may disqualify the evidence presented, such as items seized during a search conducted without a warrant or confessions obtained under duress. 

Pre-Trial Motions

The goal of pre-trial motions is to ask the judge to disqualify evidence, such as in the examples provided above. The attorney may also request to change the trial location to a different county or jurisdiction to negate any bias that may exist towards the client locally. 

During and After Trial

Having researched the case thoroughly, a high-quality attorney will argue their client’s case as strongly as possible. Even if their client is found guilty, the defense attorney doesn’t stop there–their next goal is to minimize the punishment the client receives. 

This can be done in a number of ways, such as crafting an effective statement of remorse or demonstrating that after the incident, the client changed their life for the better. Another way to argue for a lighter punishment is to highlight a defendant’s lack of prior criminal record or any good deeds done in the recent past.

Sometimes, There Is No Trial

If a lawyer is good enough and has a strong case, they may be able to get the charges dropped completely before the trial even begins. This is obviously the most sought-after outcome for both the attorney and the client. 

In other circumstances, a defendant may have been caught red-handed and the evidence is irrefutable. They might wonder, “Why do I need a criminal lawyer if I’m already guilty?”

An experienced attorney knows when their client stands little chance of winning or when a trial could be damaging to their client. In cases like this, an attorney may advise their client to take a plea deal, in which the client pleads guilty without going to trial. In return, the prosecutor agrees to a lighter punishment or a less severe criminal charge.

In Summary

Real life isn’t like the movies, and this is especially true in courtrooms. Oftentimes, criminal attorneys can’t win their cases, but their work is of utmost importance to their clients.

Luckily, there are qualified, understanding, and reputable lawyers available in the Columbia, South Carolina area. Strom Law has a team of well-versed, highly experienced attorneys ready to take on your criminal case and make sure you get the best possible outcome. Our lawyers have backgrounds in all aspects of criminal law, and we’ll make sure you’re in good hands, no matter your circumstances.



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