What are the keys for understanding the criminal defense attorney? How can you most effectively connect with your attorney clients?
There is a lot at stake – criminal defense attorneys want to win
That might be an obvious statement. And unlike a medical malpractice or personal injury case, where money is at stake, in criminal cases, imprisonment or death is the ultimate consequence. A total of 25 U.S. states allow the death penalty.
Winning means getting the charges dismissed or reduced or winning at trial.
How criminal defense attorneys define guilt
People come to criminal attorneys for help after being accused on a crime. How do you define guilty?
Factual guilt– did you do it?
Legal guilt – can the prosecutor prove you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt?
Criminal defense attorneys may never ask the defendant if he or she committed the crime (factual guilt) of which they are accused. Just because the individual is accused of a crime does not make that accurate or that a prosecutor can prove legal guilt.
Here are some defenses:
1. Sometimes a criminal defendant is protecting someone else who committed the crime.
For example, in one novel I read, the teenage son was behind the wheel when he hit and killed a pedestrian who wore dark clothes late at night. The father sitting next to the son decided to say he was the driver. (Things did not go well for the dad.)
2. Or the defendant may be guilty of a different crime than the one they are on trial for. An employee catches a bookkeeper is embezzling money in an accounting practice and tries to blackmail the bookkeeper by having her accept responsibility for another crime.
No, I didn’t read that story, but I think it’d be a great thriller.
3. Another defense is that the defendant may have done the act in question but has a legally valid defense that makes her not guilty of committing the crime. Not guilty by reason of insanity provides a defense in which the person essentially admits doing the deed. They claim that they were so mentally disturbed or incapacitated at the time of the offense that they did not have the required intention to commit the crime and are therefore not guilty.
Criminal defense attorneys believe that every person, regardless of guilt, is entitled to a defense. The Sixth Amendment in the U.S. Constitution says the accused are entitled to the assistance of counsel for his defense.
As legal nurse consultants, we assist the criminal defense attorney in analyzing the medical evidence to see if it is consistent with the charges. This is a valuable service for the legal system.
Join us at the all new 2-Day virtual conference, The Path of the Bullet: A Guide to Criminal Cases, on January 27 and 28, 2022, as we delve into the role of the LNC in assisting with criminal cases. Go here for details.
Pat Iyer is president of The Pat Iyer Group, which develops resources to assist LNCs obtain more clients, make more money and achieve their business goals and dreams.
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