Individuals in North Carolina and around the country who are accused of committing crimes have the right to be represented by an attorney. A criminal defense attorney is expected to advocate zealously on behalf of their client while following the rules of jurisprudence and maintaining the ethical standards of their profession. When defense attorneys fail in their duties, their clients can claim that they were denied a right guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and mount appeals based on ineffective assistance of counsel.
The duties of a criminal defense attorney
The right to consult with a criminal law attorney can be invoked long before a case goes to trial. Individuals can ask for an attorney to be present during custodial questioning before charges have been filed, and most criminal cases are resolved by plea agreements and do not even go to trial. The duties of a criminal defense attorney before, during and after a trial include:
• Remaining loyal to their client and keeping relevant information confidential.
• Keeping their client informed about developments and legal options.
• Continually evaluating their strategy as the case progresses.
• Being open to a negotiated settlement and communicating all plea offers to their client.
• Considering the possible ramifications of the decisions they make.
• Performing all of these duties in a competent manner.
Many people believe that defense attorneys cannot represent a client they know to be guilty. This is a myth. Defense attorneys are required to represent their clients ardently regardless of their guilt or innocence, but they are not permitted to mislead or deceive the court. This means that they cannot allow a client they know to be guilty to take the witness stand to profess their innocence.
If you are accused of engaging in criminal behavior in North Dakota, an experienced criminal defense attorney may advise you to ask for a lawyer right away and then be open and candid with them. Not knowing key facts can make the job of a defense attorney much more difficult, but receiving a full and complete account of the events in question gives them the information they need to plan an effective defense strategy.