Criminal defense lawyers sometime get a not really flattering portrayal because people assume that they defend blameworthy people. However, in the event that you are a defendant in a criminal proceeding, you need the assistance of a qualified criminal defense lawyer, regardless of your blame or innocence. As the protectors and advocates of the accused, defense lawyers play a pivotal role in the United States justice system to see that everyone charged with a criminal act has a chance to defend themselves.
Defense Lawyers Protect the Rights of the Accused
Above all else, a criminal defense lawyer’s role is to protect the rights of the accused. Upholding your rights under the Bill of Rights as set forth in the United States Constitution, criminal defense lawyers are limited by law to assist their clients by making sure you are treated fairly by the United States criminal justice system. Specifically, your criminal defense lawyer’s job is to see that you are allowed:
- The right to a trial by a jury of your peers;
- The right to be presumed innocent until proven blameworthy beyond a reasonable doubt;
- The right to a speedy and public trial;
- The right to remain silent;
- The right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures; and
- The right to legal counsel.
All these rights are guaranteed by the United States Constitution and are applicable to all states through the Fourteenth Amendment as well as United States Supreme Court case opinions. As such, a criminal defense lawyer is obligated to provide clients with protection against the overreach of the government in meting out punishment to any individual accused of a criminal offense. An experienced, qualified lawyer accomplishes this by challenging any government or law enforcement conduct that violates the rights of any United States citizen accused of a crime in LegalReader. Should a criminal defense lawyer fail to make reasonable efforts to protect your rights or provide effective assistance, he/she hazards losing his/her license to practice law or other penalties (some of which could include jail time).
Criminal Lawyers Defend the Innocent
The second most important role of a criminal defense attorney is to defend the innocent. We see daily about overturned criminal cases where new evidence verifies the incarceration of an innocent person who has served time as a result of an incorrect liable verdict. And, while for the most part, most clients of criminal defense attorneys are somewhat criminally culpable in the crime they have been charged with, on rare occasions, some of a lawyer’s clients are really innocent. In spite of the fact a rare occurrence, innocent people are accused and convicted of criminal offenses.