A competent defense attorney will guide a client through the criminal justice system in the way that minimizes permanent harm to the client: Being charged will necessarily turn most client’s lives upside down and affect both their emotional status and physical well being, not to mention the impact on their friends and family.
Investigation is critical in nearly every case: What does the scene look like? Is there physical evidence that remains? What evidence do the police have and how was it collected? Were all the necessary witnesses interviewed, were the witnesses interviewed fairly and fully? Are there documents that can be obtained to either support your position, or to cast a shadow on the complaining witness?
Motion practice is often given short-shrift when lawyers have too many cases. Many times, which motions are filed pre-trial are nearly as important as what the lawyer says to the jury. It is a misconception among clients that the jury will be able to hear “the whole truth” or the whole story of the situation and they will then necessarily acquit. There is an entire, thick book which shapes what the jury hears, and it is most certainly not the whole truth: The rules of evidence are designed to keep the jury focused on the issue at hand, and hopefully, to have them make decisions only based on relevant and reliable evidence. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.