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Criminal Lawyers

Criminal defense lawyers have a variety of legal duties. Generally, they are obligated to keep communications between themselves and their clients confidential. They owe their clients zealous defenses, but also have separate duties to courts to present all defenses in an honest manner. Criminal defenses also must avoid conflicts of interest, which generally mean they cannot represent multiple parties in the same criminal matter.

Criminal defense lawyers generally must maintain privilege, or privacy, regarding lawyer-client communications. Privilege allows clients to safely speak to their lawyers without fears of reprisals, but there are exceptions. Privilege does not apply if clients use their lawyers' advice to commit crimes. Generally, lawyers may break privilege pursuant to court orders or to prevent deaths or bodily injuries. Clients also may waive their right to privilege. And, when clients die, prior attorney-client communications generally lose privileged status.

A criminal defense lawyer has a duty to zealously represent her client by taking all reasonable steps to prepare a viable defense. She must gather facts, interview witnesses, review police reports, subpoena documents, and research case precedents and statutes. Lawyers may also request courts to consider new and novel interpretations of existing law to support their client's interests. Lawyers should be prepared to examine witnesses at trial and to prepare compelling arguments for judges and juries.

Criminal defense lawyers have a duty to avoid conflicts of interests when representing their clients. For example, if several accountants are accused of criminal fraud their defenses may include shifting blame to one another. Lawyers cannot implicate one client to help another. Lawyers must also ensure that past clients do not create conflicts in current cases. For instance, an attorney may not be able to adequately attack a witness if the two of them previously shared an lawyer-client relationship.

A criminal defense lawyer, like all lawyers, is an officer of the court and owes a duty of candor to judges and juries. He may not knowingly make representations to courts that are untruthful. He is required to be as honest as possible when communicating with courts. He cannot support clients who commit perjury. Lawyers must take reasonable steps to remedy known perjury by clients, which may include lawfully breaking attorney-client privilege to report it.

Research and case preparation are the two main duties performed outside of actual trials. Criminal defense lawyers examine evidence, laws and statues, and past judicial rulings in order to build up the strength of their arguments. Once all this research is gathered, a criminal defense lawyer prepares it by creating an effective argument strategy for the courtroom. When in the courtroom, a criminal defense lawyer must constantly adapt and choose the most effective argumentative methods available to them in order to win a case.

Their job involves research and case preparation that may include visiting prisons, hospitals, law libraries and other venues relevant to the case they’re working on. After they’ve conducted an investigation of the factors involved in their case they determine the best strategy for court and then utilize that strategy during the trial.