July 07, 2014
What Obligations Does a Defense Attorney Have to a Client?
A defense attorney plays an important role in America’s court system. Their job is complicated, and requires a singular dedication. Understanding the obligations that a defense attorney has to a client makes it clear why their services are indispensable.
The Obligations of a Defense Attorney
Crafting a Defense
Perhaps the defense attorney’s most important responsibility is that of crafting a defense. A defense attorney is held to both professional and ethical standards for providing their client with zealous representation. This may mean conducting a thorough investigation of the case’s facts. It also means monitoring the activities of the prosecution and providing timely responses to requests for production. The defense attorney also makes appropriate requests of the prosecution, and prepares for trial if necessary.
Protecting Your Rights
It is also the responsibility of the defense attorney to ensure that you are afforded your Constitutional rights. This means that they make certain that the prosecution treats you fairly and that they do not violate your rights in any way. Part of this duty is looking into how you were treated in the earliest parts of the investigation. For instance, if you were arrested, your defense attorney will want to be certain that you were read your Miranda rights and that you were allowed legal representation when it was requested.
One of the primary obligations of any defense attorney is to maintain confidentiality. Attorneys must abide by the rule of attorney/client privilege. Essentially, this means that they may not divulge anything you tell them to another party. They are hired to protect your interests, so it only make sense that the information you provide is not intended to be shared.
Conflict of Interest
The defense attorney also has an obligation to avoid conflicts of interest. They must not represent one client if it may adversely affect the interests of another client. Most attorneys go to great lengths to ensure that they do not have a conflict of interest in any client matters.