Roles of the Criminal Defense Lawyer
A criminal defense lawyer necessarily comes after the fact; it is not their responsibility to prevent a criminal or unlawful act from being committed. Instead, the criminal defense lawyer must examine the facts of the case to determine if the defendant did in fact commit the crime, and if so, if there are mitigating or exonerating circumstances that would serve to reduce or nullify the defendant’s culpability. However, the profession is often rife with contradictions.
In many cases, the defendant will do anything to avoid prosecution and conviction. This includes intentionally offering false testimony in court. Now, the criminal defense lawyer has three roles: advocate, court officer, and justice seeker. It is the main duty of the criminal defense lawyer to vigorously protect the rights of the defendant to the full extent of the law, and this is in line with the defendant’s aim. But as a court officer and justice seeker, the criminal defense lawyer cannot knowingly and willfully participate in fraud.
To fulfill these sometimes disparate roles, the lawyer has to convince the client not to lie in court by refraining from testifying or by telling the truth. Being caught in a lie is a dangerous precedent in a trial because it tends to bias the judge and jury against any subsequent testimony or facts. The criminal defense lawyer must guide the defendant to achieve the best possible results while maintaining integrity.
Although a defendant is supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, society is quick to pass judgment. Often, being charged with a crime is enough to significantly and adversely affect the defendant’s life. It is up to the criminal defense lawyer not only to protect the rights of the defendant but to do so without breaking moral and ethical rules or condoning fraud. It is only when it is apparent that the defendant and the lawyer are credible that an acquittal or dismissal will be considered just in the public’s eye.