A defence lawyer is an attorney specializing in the defence of people and businesses charged with criminal offense. Criminal law involves interpreting the criminal laws of a country as they pertain to the charged individuals and the conduct of the accused. In some instances, lawyers work as advocates for the accused. This means that they will be responsible for defending the client charged with a crime from being pronounced guilty or having their case dismissed. They can also be referred to as public defenders. In other instances, lawyers work on a contingent basis as an independent consultant assisting the prosecution in preparing for court proceedings and working to build their case.
A criminal defence lawyer, like any other professional, holds a duty of loyalty to his/her client. The duty of loyalty is inherent in the law of negligence as it requires a legal practitioner to take a position that is independent of an organization or company that employed them. Where legal professionals are employed by one of the competing parties in a court case, the duty of loyalty to the client is more complex. Where the client is represented by a party other than the defendant in a criminal case, the duty of loyalty to the client is even more complex. See more about defense attorney.
The first duty of a defence lawyer is to obtain the necessary facts that will support their argument. Expert witnesses for the accused will frequently give evidence at trials in the hope of providing enough weight to counter the position of the prosecution. In these circumstances, the defence lawyer must obtain the expert witness's evidence without compromising their clients. Attorneys will often draft a defence outline that outlines the extent of their expert witness's evidence and the potential difficulty that would be encountered if they fail to pursue it in a timely and cost-effective manner.
Another duty bound by law is to assist their client in making their appeal. In some jurisdictions, a defence lawyer must take on this additional responsibility. While most jurisdictions recognize a right to appeal, not all do so and only a limited amount of time may be allowed for an appeal to be permitted. The defence lawyer must therefore exhaust all reasonable resources to obtain the relevant documents and submit the appeal before the appeal panel.
Where a person is accused of an offence, their lawyer must be able to defend them effectively. This does not simply mean proving the innocence of the client. The lawyer must prove that the charges against their client are correct and legally bind the client. This can be done through the completion of all the requisite documentation and through preparing a vigorous defence for the client. Read more about Dailey Law Firm.
There is another duty that a defence lawyer must undertake, and that is to advise their client when their client is being charged with a criminal offence that may carry a penalty. Whilst most criminal offences are punishable by a year to a few years in prison, some will be punishable by up to a number of years in prison. If the client is guilty of this crime, the defence lawyer must ensure that the client consults with their lawyer and that the client presents all the evidence necessary to prove their innocence.
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