Role of a Criminal Defense Attorney


The role of a criminal defense attorney is to provide legal representation to someone. However, there’s much more to it than this surface-level explanation. The criminal justice system is complex. 

Within this system, a defense lawyer serves as an advocate, protector, guide, and confidant to the defendant. At least, that’s how the ideal version of the relationship. When it comes to criminal defense, attorneys exist in two groups. 

  • Court-appointed lawyers
  • Private attorneys 

When a criminal defendant has the funds for a private attorney, they tend to prefer that. However, the government provides counsel to those who cannot afford it – roughly 80% of defendants. Generally, these court-appointed lawyers are public defenders or “panel attorneys.” 

In some cases, defendants choose to represent themselves. The role of a criminal defense attorney varies by case. However, the responsibilities tend to remain the same. 

What Does a Criminal Defense Lawyer Do?

Whether court-appointed or private, a defense attorney performs a few essential duties. 

  • Research the facts of the case 
  • Investigate the case to build a defense 
  • Negotiate deals with the prosecution 
  • Seek the best possible outcome for each client

The ideal resolution for any defendant is innocence. However, this isn’t always the best possible outcome. In negotiations, the role of a criminal defense attorney is to reduce the harshness of any punishment. 

  • Lowered bail 
  • Reduced charges 
  • Shorter sentences

There are numerous factors at play in these cases. From public to political pressure to overwhelmed courts and jails, there’s much to consider. An experienced attorney knows how to navigate and leverage these situations.  

This deal-making is an important element in unclogging an overwhelmed criminal justice system. Additionally, criminal defense attorneys perform a few essential actions in your case. 

  • Examine witnesses
  • Formulate your plea
  • Analyze the prosecution’s case
  • Assess potential sentences
  • Review procedures for flaws 
  • Question witnesses 
  • Gather evidence to build your defense

Moreover, when immigration plays a factor in your case, it is the role of a criminal defense attorney to offer guidance. The same is true for any other potential consequences of the outcome. 

Defense lawyers also provide an essential reality check in regards to the consequences. They let you know the possible outcomes and help you manage your fear and frustration. Of course, when a deal isn’t possible, your attorney also represents you at trial. 

Private or Court-Appointed?

When it comes to a court-appointed attorney vs a private attorney, it typically falls to someone’s circumstances. As mentioned earlier, roughly 80% of defendants cannot afford private representation. However, there are some benefits to selecting your own representation. 

Often, private defense attorneys are former public defenders or prosecutors. This means that they have a great deal of experience within the system. Moreover, it means they understand how the prosecution functions and thinks. 

This provides their clients with a distinct advantage. While studies exist that show similar outcomes between court-appointed and private defenders, these focus more on conviction rates. Often, this fails to account for the “best possible outcome,” which reduces the harshness of a penalty. 

For example, one study showed that defendants fared similarly regardless of representation in conviction rates. However, those with panel attorneys tended to fare much worse. 

Ultimately, the role of a criminal defense attorney in your trial boils down to their experience, commitment, and skills. As such, when you have the opportunity to choose your own representation, you find someone who believes in your case. 

With a court-appointed attorney, so much is left to chance. 

Should I Represent Myself?

What is far more clear is that self-representation tends to be a bad idea. Oftentimes, your best option is to work with an attorney (even when court-appointed). Still, some defendants choose to represent themselves. 

However, it’s important to understand that this decision is ultimately in the hands of the judge. It is up to them to determine whether a defendant is competent enough. When they cannot provide a competent defense on their own, they don’t have a fair trial. 

This is true even when a defendant is adamant about the refusal of legal representation. When a judge decides whether to grant self-representation, they consider a range of factors. 

  • The severity of the crime 
  • Whether the defendant understands court proceedings 
  • The language skills and education of the defendant
  • Whether the defendant understands what giving up their right to representation means

Learn More About the Role of a Criminal Defense Attorney

As you can see, the role of a criminal defense attorney is quite essential. No matter the charge, it’s a good idea to seek professional representation. From theft crimes to DWI, lawyers help to guide you through the process. 

When you need a private defense lawyer, seek out a firm with a specialization in criminal defense. Moreover, find someone with broad experience in your area. Often, local attorneys are familiar with the judges and prosecution in the area. 

Across Harris County and Houston, TX, the Martinez Law Firm offers representation to those who face criminal charges. With decades of experience, Herman Martinez knows how the prosecution thinks. This offers his clients a distinct advantage as he seeks the best possible outcome in their case. 

When you need to understand the role of a criminal defense attorney in your case, trust in the skill and experience of the Martinez Law Firm. Schedule a free consultation today to learn more about your options. 

When to Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney

hire a criminal defense attorney

Wondering when to hire a criminal defense attorney? When you have a brush with the law and face criminal charges, it’s a good idea to call a lawyer. Oftentimes, thoughts flood your mind, including the cost of representation. 

While many people worry about the cost of an attorney, it’s important to have an advocate on your side. Typically, people don’t realize that hiring an attorney early on saves you the cost of larger expenses down the road. 

Moreover, navigating the court system takes experience. When you need someone to protect your rights, it’s a good idea to seek representation. Let’s take a deeper look at when it’s a good idea to seek counsel. 

What You Need to Know About Hiring a Lawyer

After your arrest, it’s important to make an effort to speak with a criminal defense attorney. Preferably, you’d seek a consultation as soon as you leave the custody of the police. Your top priority is to find experienced representation against serious allegations. 

When you seek representation early on, there’s the potential for your attorney to begin negotiations immediately. This increases your odds of a more favorable outcome. 

When you face criminal charges, the timing is essential. That’s why it is so vital to hire a criminal defense attorney to bargain and negotiate shortly after your arrest. 

With an experienced criminal defense lawyer, you have an advocate who mediates between you and any other party involved. In some cases, tempers flare, leading to mischief and arrest. Your defense lawyer has the experience to approach the other party and mediate. 

At all times, your attorney works to pursue the best possible outcome in your case. 

When Should I Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney?

If you’re wondering whether to hire a criminal defense attorney, it’s probably a good time to call someone. Whether you are at fault or not, it’s difficult to fight criminal charges. Oftentimes, the process is long and emotional. 

With representation, you gain the peace of mind that comes with an advocate working to secure your freedom. 

Assault and Battery Charges

Assault and battery cases vary widely in terms of defense strategy and potential outcomes. In some cases, the process is quite straightforward. However, when they have multiple moving parts, they grow increasingly complex. 

When someone levels these charges against you, it’s important to hire a criminal defense attorney immediately. At times, people attempt to defend themselves with no experience. When they do so, they risk serious jail time. 

Drug Charges

At state and federal levels, there are many drugs outlawed. From cultivation and distribution to possession, association with these drugs comes with severe consequences. In these cases, convictions carry stiff penalties. 

As such, it’s a good idea to hire a criminal defense attorney to handle your case. There are opportunities within the criminal justice system to negotiate plea deals that reduce the level of your offense. 

Fraud and Financial Crimes

Fraud and financial crimes constitute a form of theft. In these cases, a person or entity obtains property or money from someone and uses it illicitly. Oftentimes, these cases involve an abuse of trust or a deceitful act. That sets these crimes apart from other forms of robbery or theft. 

  • Credit card fraud 
  • Wire fraud 
  • Forgery 
  • Insurance fraud 

All these examples fall into a specialization known as white-collar crime. When you face these charges it’s essential to work with an experienced attorney.

Alcohol Crimes

Alcohol has a major role in numerous crimes. However, there are four main offenses that fall into this category. 

In Texas, the state takes DWIs incredibly seriously. As such, a conviction carries penalties with the potential to alter your life forever. With a Houston DWI lawyer on your side, you have someone to build a defense and pursue the best possible outcome of your case. 

In certain cases, these charges lead to a loss of your driver’s license. Moreover, it has the potential to cause a loss of professional licenses. 

Never attempt to handle these cases on your own. When you hire a criminal defense attorney, you help keep a bad situation from becoming worse. 

Theft Charges

Theft pertains to taking another person’s property without permission. However, from a legal standpoint, the term covers a broad spectrum of categories. 

Oftentimes, we define it as an act of taking someone’s property to deprive them of it permanently. In these cases, the prosecution has to prove certain things. 

  • Defendant took the property without permission 
  • Intent of the defendant was to permanently deprive them of the property

The degrees of these charges vary based on the type of property and its value. As such, the two core categories of theft are petty theft and grand theft. 

Homicide Charges

When someone takes another person’s life, it constitutes homicide. Generally, this is true regardless of the details of the situation. However, homicide is not always a crime. For example, self-defense that results in the death of another is not always a crime. 

Typically, a prosecutor must prove either negligence or willful intent on the part of the accused. When you face these charges, it is crucial to hire a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. 

Defense strategies vary, but your attorney will fight to pursue the best possible outcome of your case. 

Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney ASAP

When is the right time to hire a criminal defense attorney? There’s no such thing as too soon when it comes to protecting your future. The earlier the better in many cases. 

When you work with an attorney early on, you have the potential to avoid lengthy legal fights. Moreover, you have someone to start building a defense earlier. Every crime has a unique set of circumstances. 

However, having an attorney ready to protect your rights influences the outcome of your case. While you have the right to defend yourself, gain the peace of mind that comes with legal assistance. 

Schedule a free case evaluation with an attorney to learn more about your rights. The right legal team offers you guidance on how to develop a personalized defense strategy. 

Attorney Herman Martinez Interview Concerning Adrian Peterson

minnesota viking football start Adrian Peterson - criminal child abuse interview

Just days after the news broke that Minnesota Viking’s star running back Adrian Peterson had been indicted by a Texas grand jury, Attorney Herman Martinez was called by WCCO Morning News anchor David Lee for his legal opinion on the case. Peterson had been accused of beating his four-year-old son with a tree branch and was charged with reckless or negligent injury to a child on September 12, 2014.

Martinez Breaks Down Adrian Peterson Case

The host of the Minnesota CBS radio affiliate conducted an interview with Houston Criminal Defense Lawyer Martinez on September 15. He asked him several questions regarding differences in child abuse laws in different states, the immediate future of the running back’s case, strategies Peterson’s defense may employ, and several other matters. David Lee, the host of the show, specifically called upon Attorney Martinez upon due to his notoriety in the legal field and his reputation as a top lawyer in Houston.

If you are facing criminal charges in the Houston area, don’t hesitate to get in touch with a defense attorney at our firm today to begin putting together a strong legal defense.

Read the full story by clicking here.


Martinez Law: What We Do.

According to United States law, you have the right to an attorney. This means that no matter what situation you are in, you can hire a hardworking defense attorney to advocate for you in court. Whether you have been accused of murder or a DUI, having a Houston criminal lawyer on your side is essential.

Watch this video to hear what Mr. Herman Martinez has to say about your rights as an American. You can exercise your right and hire a trustworthy, tenacious, relentless advocate to support you in your case. Mr. Herman Martinez has over 15 years of experience in the area of criminal law, so he is well equipped to represent you in court. He has a desire to help as many clients as possible with their accusations. He uses his vast experience in court and knowledge of criminal defense to help. Furthermore, he has expert research tactics and will stop at nothing to find laws that are applicable to your case.

For example, if you are accused of a drug crime, Mr. Martinez will first research the laws in details that apply to your case. This way, he can determine whether or not you deserve to be charged with your crime. After he has researched the laws, he will look over the police reports, and will then contact any witnesses to get their statements. He will hire investigators to probe the details of the crime and will talk with you for hours to hash out every single second of the arrest. With the time and attention that you will receive from Mr. Martinez, you can be sure that you are getting a lawyer that is doing all he can for you in this case. Mr. Martinez has proven to be a successful
Houston criminal defense lawyer even in complex criminal cases. He has been recognized on state and federal levels for his excellent work in this practice area.

About Herman Martinez:

In addition to receiving praise from many significant persons in the court, Mr. Martinez’s successes speak for themselves on his Avvo account. Avvo profiles are reserved for attorneys and are a place for the lawyer to place his or her profile and wait for clients to write reviews and rate the service. In most cases, lawyers receive between a 6 and a 7on Avvo, meaning that most clients were satisfied with their aid. Yet Mr. Martinez boasts a magnificent 10.0/10 rating. This is considered “superb” on the site and is based on the testimony of many clients who have used Mr. Martinez to advocate for them. He has rated high because of his abundant experience, his respectable reputation that precedes him in the industry, and his professional conduct with clients and in court. He has been endorsed by other lawyers who work in criminal defense.

Other lawyers in Houston say that he would heartily recommend Mr. Martinez because he is dedicated and compassionate with these clients. He is also respected by all of his opponents and has a wonderful personality and rare integrity. One attorney writes that he regularly trusts Mr. Martinez with his referrals because he practices personal injury. When a client has been harmed in the midst of committing a crime, then he refers them to Mr. Martinez to receive optimal defense. You can also check out The Martinez Law Firm Facebook page in order to see more testimonials by clients and read informative news articles written by Mr. Martinez and the staff at the firm for your information.

According to Justia, Mr. Martinez us the leading attorney at his law firm and also founded the organization. He previously served as a chief prosecutor for the Harris County District’s Office, so he understands both the defense and prosecution in criminal law. This gives him a significant advantage over other attorneys because he is able to anticipate the other side’s moves and counter-attack. Mr. Martinez is a member of many noteworthy organizations, including the Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association, the Fifth Circuit Bar Association, the Harris County Bar Association, and the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association. He is also a part of the National College for DUI Defense and the Hispanic Bar Association of Houston. From 2009 until the present, he has reached status as an H-Texas Magazine Top Lawyer. He has also been nominated to be on the Super Lawyers®list. In addition to speaking English, Mr. Martinez is also fluent in Spanish so that he can best help those of this language group.

He can aid in all areas of criminal defense. This includes DWI charges,
domestic violence cases, juvenile defense, assault charges, theft crimes,
sex crimes, and more. The Martinez Law Firm even has a whole website dedicated to the practice of drug crimes defense. You can check out the law firm’s profile on Find a Criminal Defense Attorney if you want more information on the practice areas that are performed. Mr. Martinez wants to be there for his clients at all times, which is why he provides two numbers to call on his website.

Contact Us:

You can dial (713) 489-9773 in order to get ahold of The Martinez Law Firm or can call (800) 724-1876.

When you decide to seek aid from The Martinez Law Firm, the staff will greet you by setting up a free, 60-minute consultation. During this time, you can explain your case and Mr. Martinez will go about developing a defense for you. You can also visit our office for more information at
3730 Kirby Drive Suite 909, Houston, TX 77098. Look us up on
Google+, Chamber of Commerce profile or visit our contact us page if you want more contact information.

The offices are typically open from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, though on Saturday office hours are 10:00 AM- 2:00 PM. The firm is closed on Sundays. Mr. Martinez practices law in:
Missouri City
Harris County
Pearland, and
Sugar Land, contact him if you reside in one of these areas.

If Mr. Martinez’s credentials aren’t enough to convince you of his ability to take on your case, then maybe the reviews from his clients will. You can check Insider Pages to read reviews about this client or visit the
testimonials page on the website. As well, there are client reviews on
Avvo speaks of Mr. Martinez’s professionalism, diligence, honesty, and excellence. Hire a former prosecutor that you can rely on by contacting Mr. Martinez at The Martinez Law Firm today!