Criminal attorneys are in business to defend people who have been accused of all sorts of crimes. The range of crimes that a criminal attorney may defend includes traffic violations, drug charges, embezzlement, burglary, theft and murder. However, an attorney must also live by a certain amount of ethics. The integrity of one lawyer may be different from the integrity level of another lawyer. Therefore, times may come when a criminal attorney may decline to represent someone in a case.
The following are several situations in which a criminal attorney may opt against defending someone:
Admission of a Heinous Crime
Although lawyers may swear to keep the confidentiality with a client or prospective client, he or she still may decline representation if the person is guilty and shows no remorse. For instance, a person who openly admits to raping or murdering someone may not receive representation from an ethical attorney. Clients are supposed to disclose the truth to their attorneys. However, too much truth may prevent someone from being defended in court.
Conflict of Interest
A criminal attorney may also decline to represent a prospective client for reason of a conflict of interest. A conflict of interest occurs when an attorney gets into a situation in which he or she may be representing two parties in the same case. An example of a conflict of interest is in the case of personal injury, where one party caused an injury to another party because of negligence. The attorney would turn down one of the parties if both parties came to the firm for representation. An attorney has the right to refuse to represent any person in any case. Working despite a known case of conflict of interest is against the rules of ethics for legal representatives.
Belief That the Defendant is Guilty
If an attorney feels as though his or her client is guilty, and the crime goes against that attorney’s law of ethics and personal preference, he or she may refuse to represent someone. The defendant does not have to openly admit to the crime. Some attorneys will not go against their own morals and views to represent someone they believe is guilty.
Anyone in New Port Richey, FL who has questions or needs help with a criminal case can contact a criminal law attorney for a consultation. During the consultation, the two people will briefly discuss the case and decide if they are a good fit to work together in the case.