What Does A Criminal Lawyer Do?


Movies and television have created an image of criminal lawyers. They act a certain way and conduct specific jobs. 

But that’s the furthest thing from the truth. 


They fulfil many important roles during a criminal case, and having an in-depth understanding of the work involved can shed light on their exploits. 


This guide looks at the work a criminal defence lawyer in Calgary does in three stages: Pre-Trial, During The Trial and Post-Trial, and how they can assist the defendant. 


What A Calgary Criminal Lawyer Does Pre-Trial  


The Assignment of the Case

The criminal defence lawyer can be contacted directly by the defendant or assigned the case through the Alberta courts. In most cases, criminal lawyers are part of a larger firm that provides services for defendants. Other criminal lawyers are public defenders who are paid by the public defender’s office. It is best to hire a lawyer that is an expert in their field: such as a DUI lawyer or a sexual assault attorney

Once the lawyer has been appointed, they will have an opportunity to meet with the defendant directly. They will discuss, in detail, the situation and circumstances around the case. During this questioning period – which might be over a few sessions – the lawyer will learn about the case’s possible defences and strengths and weaknesses. It is best if the defendant is open about the case, thereby avoiding any issues during the trial. It may take up to 8 weeks or more to obtain full disclosure regarding a case.

Investigating the Case

Although an interview might be enough, criminal defence lawyers can conduct investigations into the case to build arguments, counter-evidence and a stronger defence against the prosecutor’s charges. 

Most significantly, they have the right to review the prosecution’s case before it is submitted to the jury, thus allowing them to have an opportunity to find any possible holes in the case. During this period, the attorney can study the case’s facts and theories and have evidence independently tested. 

The process might include the following: 

  • Questioning police about the procedures used for the case
  • Talking to witnesses who have information
  • Collecting evidence about the case 
  • Gathering information and using an expert witness to prove their point 


Jury Selection for the Trial 

The prosecutors and the criminal defence lawyers decide who is allowed to be a juror, removing anyone who may be biased against the defendant or have other contributing previous histories or beliefs. 


How The Calgary Criminal Lawyer Assists The Client 


Offering Support & Guidance

This might be a difficult time for the defendant, so the attorney will do what they can to offer guidance and support to avoid further problems in the future. 

Present The Defendant With Options 

Upon reviewing all the evidence and the information, the lawyer will provide the defendant with options about whether they like to proceed. It can result in the prosecution dropping the case (after discussions), agreeing to a lesser plea bargain or, unfortunately, going to court for the trial.

Plea Bargaining

This process is known for talking about the case’s status and negotiating with the prosecutor regarding any particular plea bargain. The criminal lawyer will aim to secure a favourable deal for the defendant, resulting in a reduction of charges or the charges being dropped. 

What A Calgary Criminal Lawyer Does During A Trial 


Trial Participation

When the trial begins, the lawyer fights for their client. They examine witnesses and evidence, providing their own assessments of the evidence and try to convince the jury that the prosecution has not met its burden of proof. Rarely will the defendant be called up to testify (despite movies doing such a thing). 

What A Calgary Criminal Lawyer Does Post-Trial  



The criminal defence lawyer can represent the defendant during the sentencing phase, during which they can discuss factors that can help convince the judge or jury to limit the severity of the penalty. They can also negotiate with the prosecutor to reduce the sentencing. 

Appealing The Decision 

The defendant has an opportunity to appeal their sentence if there are grounds to do so. The criminal defence lawyer will explain the appeals process’s validity and whether there is an opportunity for success. 

This in-depth blog explains the lengths and works that a Calgary criminal defence lawyer undergoes before, during and after a trial. We hope that it opens the eyes to the amount of work that a lawyer does regularly. 


Joel Chevrefils of Alberta Criminal Defence Lawyers is here to defend you against all criminal charges. When charged with a criminal offence, such as impaired driving, domestic violence, or DUI, the first thing you should do is call your trusted Calgary criminal defence lawyer. His professionalism can help you with all concerns regarding your charges and the complex nature of Canada’s legal system. Chevrefils can help you with your charges in and outside Calgary, including Provincial Courts in Cochrane, Airdrie, Okotoks, Red Deer and Edmonton. Trust your case to Calgary’s most experienced criminal lawyer. Call Alberta Criminal Defence Lawyers today at (403) 830-1980.

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