TV shows like Law and Order have given people around the country a closer look at the legal system without ever having to step foot in a courtroom. However, it can be difficult to separate fact from fiction when getting your information from TV. Luckily for you, our team of real-life attorneys is here to dispel some common misconceptions.
One of the most common questions people ask about criminal defense law is, “do criminal defense lawyers defend the guilty?” Criminal defense attorneys are mandated to follow strict ethical standards and regulations of the regulatory body in their state.
In Arizona, these regulations do not restrict the defense of the guilty, so the answer is yes—criminal defense lawyers defend the guilty. As long as the legal code of conduct is followed, an attorney can defend their client regardless of their guilt. Let’s dive further into the topic of guilt as it pertains here.
The concept of guilt can be further split into “factual guilt” and “legal guilt,” so let’s go over the definitions of each one.
Factual guilt is not discussed in court, but is discussed between you and your attorney. Your constitutional right to a fair trial and legal counsel affords you the opportunity to confer with your attorney on issues relating to the status of your factual guilt.
Legal guilt is debated and deliberated in a courtroom. The prosecution works to present enough evidence to prove your legal guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, while your defense works to prove your legal innocence.
Many skilled criminal defense lawyers avoid asking clients if they are guilty because knowing the answer to that question is not part of their job. The responsibility of the attorney is to defend the client by building a strong case for them before the judge and/or jury.
If you opt to plead guilty to the charges presented against you, a criminal defense lawyer still has a key role to play while representing you in your case. Your attorney can negotiate with the prosecution to lessen the charges or establish “less-serious facts” (“facts” being the details of the offense that are presented before the court). Either of these courses of action can work to provide the client with a more favorable outcome.
Furthermore, your defense attorney can take steps to indicate to the court that you are remorseful of your actions and have made efforts to make amends. This can move your case in a whole new direction by increasing the likelihood of getting a favorable judgment from the court.
If you are a guilty client in search of an attorney to defend a plea of innocence, it would be wise not to reveal your guilt to your attorney.
Knowledge of your guilt puts your attorney in a position where they cannot expressly defend your innocence, as it would be unethical. Many criminal defense attorneys in Arizona will even withdraw from a case in this situation.
Instead, you should leave it to your attorney to build the best case that they can. Answer their questions, cooperate, and allow them to do what you have hired them to do. In the end, the court will be the final discerner of guilt.
If you or a loved one are in need of a criminal defense attorney in Phoenix, our team is here to help. At The Law Office of Zayed Al-Sayyed, we employ an Aggressive Compassionate Representation approach to serve our clients. What this means is that we aggressively fight to defend our clients’ rights, while viewing each individual case with compassion. Everybody makes mistakes and nobody should be defined by them.
Like they say, the proof is in the pudding. In this case, the evidence of our success lies in the satisfaction of our clients. Contact us today for a free consultation to learn more about why we are one of the top criminal defense law firms in Phoenix, Arizona.