4 Essential Duties for a Criminal Lawyer: Few people actually set out with the intention of committing a crime. Most people are sane and decent, and do not lead a life of intentional criminality. Even still, many crimes end up happening in the heat of the moment, or by mistake, and those criminal charges are levied against tens of thousands of people every year. Sometimes they’re even levied against innocent people who truly committed no offence.
Regardless of where you might fall on the spectrum, you should know that if you have been charged with a criminal offence, it is your right by law to be represented in this matter by a criminal lawyer. Even if the offence is something you feel you can walk away from, it’s always best to let a lawyer handle it. Here are some of the most essential duties of a good criminal defence attorney.
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The 4 Main Duties of a Criminal Attorney
1: Provide an Honest, Impartial Defence
The first duty of any lawyer is to the law. The principle of western justice is very clear that every individual is entitled to adequate legal defence, regardless of what that person’s charges may entail. You get a lawyer who remains impartial. Technically speaking, it does not matter to your lawyer what your crime is, or whether you did it. You will be provided with fair representation regardless, as per the law. Just know that it is also in the lawyer’s purview per this duty to their client to seek to mitigate the damage. So there is no guarantee that you will walk away entirely free; it all depends on individual circumstances and what your lawyer can make happen for you. Though their duty is to fight for you.
2: Investigate the Case
Another essential duty of a criminal lawyer is to provide ample investigation of the case. While all cases are different, and criminal charges vary drastically, you can think of this in terms of one of those classic, “he said, she said” cases. If someone is making accusations against you, the lawyer will ensure that this person is investigated, witnesses are interviewed, and that a proper defence is mounted. This will be done to either try to have the charges dismissed entirely or at least to mitigate the potential damage. Again, however, every case will be different, so the way the lawyer investigates will depend on the circumstances. Just know that it is an essential duty of your lawyer to do this investigative work.
3: Know the Law, and Research It
Another essential duty for a lawyer handling a criminal case is to know the law back to front. Sure, any lawyer who’s practicing in the nation understands the law well enough to be lettered and work in the court system. However, a lawyer’s duties go beyond this. They need to understand the law for the individual case they’re representing on your behalf. So what they do is go back and look at case law and other examples of similar charges. It is their duty to know everything that’s happening for your specific charges and your specific case. It’s not nearly enough to have some general understanding of the law; your legal defence is personalized to your situation and needs.
4: Speak with the Prosecution
Another essential duty that works out in your favour is that the lawyer is going to work with the prosecution. The first way this works is by the prosecution sharing their entire case against you with your lawyer. You have every right to know the evidence against you, your accusers, and your lawyer even finds out in advance who may testify as a witness. So your lawyer is going to fight to ensure they can get this information early on. The lawyer may work with the prosecution to mitigate the fallout in instances of plea agreements between the Crown and the defendant.
There are many different duties of a qualified criminal defence attorney, as their entire job is to ensure you get the best legal defence you can against charges. However, the four listed above are the main duties of any qualified attorney.
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