What Is a Criminal Defense Attorney?

A criminal defense attorney represents individuals, corporations, and other entities facing criminal charges. Their primary responsibility is to protect the rights of the accused and ensure a fair legal process. By meticulously examining the evidence, challenging the prosecution’s case, and presenting strategic defenses, these attorneys strive to achieve the best possible outcomes for their clients. They handle all stages of the criminal justice process, from initial investigation and arrest to court trials and, if necessary, appeals.

Distinction from Other Lawyers

Criminal defense attorneys differ significantly from other types of lawyers due to their specialized focus on criminal law. Unlike civil attorneys who handle non-criminal disputes like personal injury or contract issues, criminal lawyers are immersed in statutes, cases, and procedural laws specific to criminal justice. This specialization equips them with the expertise required to navigate the complexities of criminal cases effectively and to advocate vigorously on behalf of those accused of crimes. Moreover, the stakes in criminal defense—often involving potential loss of liberty—are typically much higher than in most civil cases, necessitating a deep understanding of criminal defense strategies and laws.





    Key Responsibilities of a Criminal Defense Attorney

    Initial Engagement

    The importance of engaging a criminal defense attorney immediately after an arrest or when under investigation cannot be overstated. Early involvement allows the attorney to safeguard the rights of the accused from the outset, potentially influencing the course of the investigation by interacting with law enforcement and prosecutors. Early engagement also provides the attorney with the opportunity to begin collecting evidence, interviewing witnesses, and building a strong defense strategy before charges are even formally filed. This proactive approach can significantly impact the outcome, including the possibility of reducing or dismissing charges.

    Case Management

    A criminal defense attorney’s responsibilities cover a wide spectrum of activities throughout the life cycle of a criminal case. The process starts with a thorough assessment of the charges and evidence against the client. From there, the attorney develops a defense strategy, handling everything from filing motions to challenge the prosecution’s evidence to negotiating plea bargains if it serves the client’s best interest. Throughout the pre-trial phase, the attorney prepares for trial by gathering evidence, deploying investigative resources, and developing compelling arguments and counterarguments. The culmination of these efforts is the trial, where the attorney represents the client, presenting evidence and cross-examining witnesses. Should the case result in a conviction, the attorney may also handle appeals, seeking to overturn the trial court’s decision if there were legal errors impacting the client’s rights or the fairness of the trial.

    Representation Across Stages

    Criminal defense attorneys are actively involved at every stage of the criminal justice process. This includes:

    • Arrests: Providing immediate legal advice, ensuring that the client does not provide information that could be detrimental to their defense.
    • Charges: Advising the client during the charging process and seeking opportunities to influence the charges before they are formally filed.
    • Court Appearances: Representing the client during bail hearings, arraignments, pre-trial motions, and other appearances, advocating on their behalf and ensuring that their legal rights are preserved.
    • Trial: Managing the defense during the trial, including presenting evidence, cross-examining prosecution witnesses, and arguing legal and factual issues before the judge or jury.
    • Post-Trial Proceedings: If necessary, handling sentencing negotiations to minimize penalties and filing and arguing appeals to challenge convictions.

    Specialized Skills and Training

    Educational Background

    The foundational step for a criminal defense attorney is obtaining a law degree from an accredited law school, which typically requires three years of full-time study. The curriculum covers a broad range of subjects, including constitutional law, civil procedure, and criminal law, among others. Upon completing law school, the aspiring attorney must pass the bar exam in the state where they intend to practice, such as California. This rigorous exam tests knowledge of state-specific and general legal principles. Only after passing the bar can an individual be licensed to practice law and represent clients in criminal matters.

    Additional Training and Mentorship

    Beyond formal education, criminal defense attorneys often seek additional training and mentorship to hone their specialization. This may include working under the guidance of experienced criminal defense lawyers, participating in continuing legal education (CLE) courses focused on criminal law, and attending seminars and workshops that address advanced defense strategies and emerging legal issues. Mentorship from seasoned practitioners provides invaluable insights into effective tactics and the nuances of navigating criminal trials, which are crucial for developing a successful practice.

    Skills Developed

    Criminal defense requires a distinct set of skills that are cultivated through education, practice, and ongoing training:

    • Analytical Thinking: Ability to analyze case facts, interpret complex legal issues, and develop effective strategies based on that analysis.
    • Negotiation: Skills in negotiating with prosecutors for plea bargains or sentence reductions, which require understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the case, as well as the priorities of the opposing side.
    • Courtroom Tactics: Proficiency in courtroom procedure, including arguing motions, examining witnesses, and persuasively presenting cases to a judge or jury.
    • Client Interaction: Effective communication skills for explaining legal concepts to clients and guiding them through stressful and often confusing legal processes.
    • Attention to Detail: Meticulousness in investigating case facts, reviewing procedural history, and preparing legal documents, which can significantly influence the outcome of a case.

    Why Choose Arash Hashemi as Your Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney?

    Proven Expertise and Local Insight

    Arash Hashemi’s legal journey, beginning just a day after being sworn into the State Bar of California in 2002, demonstrates his dedication and swift immersion into the legal world. His early experience, starting with a bench trial on his very first day as an attorney, has equipped him with profound insights into Los Angeles’s legal system. His practice, established in March 2003, has since grown to encompass a broad spectrum of criminal cases, showcasing his adeptness not just with simple charges but also with complex felony cases, including those requiring nuanced understandings of self-defense laws.

    Broad Experience with Diverse Criminal Cases

    Throughout his career, Arash has handled cases ranging from DUI and drug offenses to serious felonies like murder. His experience is particularly deep in cases involving self-defense—a critical area of expertise in many criminal charges. His familiarity with both the straightforward and the intricate details of California’s criminal laws—including procedural tactics and evidence management—makes him exceptionally well-prepared to navigate through the complexities of each case.

    Commitment to Client Representation and Community Service

    Arash’s dedication extends beyond the courtroom. He has represented thousands of Californians, including those accused of violating probation or parole, and has practiced before the California Court of Appeals. His commitment to his community is evident in his regular volunteer work at the Mesereau Free Legal Clinic in South Los Angeles and his leadership roles within various legal associations. This extensive involvement has provided him with a unique vantage point on the multifaceted nature of legal defense, informed by a broad and diverse range of legal challenges and client scenarios.

    Credentials and Professional Standing

    Arash is admitted to practice before all California State Courts and the United States District Court across various districts of California. His professional memberships are extensive, including his role as the 2024 President of the Criminal Courts Bar Association, along with memberships in the American Bar Association, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and various regional bar associations. These positions underscore his respected status in the legal community and his ongoing commitment to legal excellence.

    Choosing Arash Hashemi means opting for a seasoned attorney who brings a comprehensive approach to defending your rights. His deep local knowledge, coupled with a broad practice scope and a committed presence in community service, makes him a distinguished choice for anyone facing criminal charges in Los Angeles.

    Contact The Law Offices of Arash Hashemi

    Los Angeles Criminal LawyerIf you are facing criminal charges in Los Angeles, securing a knowledgeable and experienced attorney is essential. Attorney Arash Hashemi has dedicated over twenty years to defending clients with a deep understanding of the legal challenges they face.

    Located at the Westside Towers in Los Angeles, our firm serves clients across Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and Westwood, providing convenient access to legal support during critical times. We recognize the importance of a detailed case discussion, offering flexible appointment options including weekend meetings and jail visits to accommodate your circumstances.

    To discuss your case and explore your defense options, contact our office at (310) 448-1529 or schedule a consultation online. At The Law Offices of Arash Hashemi, we are committed to advocating for your rights and ensuring you are fully informed throughout the legal process.





      11845 W Olympic Blvd #520, Los Angeles, CA 90064

      Monday—Friday 8:30AM–5:00PM

      (310) 448-1529


      Disclaimer: The content provided here is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is not intended to predict outcomes, as individual circumstances vary and laws may change over time. Those seeking legal advice should consult with a qualified attorney to understand how current laws apply to their specific situation. For detailed legal guidance on the topics discussed, please contact our law firm directly.