Criminal lawyers have somewhat of a mixed reputation around the word.
Many who have relied on them to defend them against prosecution see them as guardian angels while others might see them as opportunists who get criminals off the hook.
While the views on criminal lawyers are extremely nuanced and subjective, the lawyers themselves are objectively necessary for the justice system in a free society. Without criminal defence lawyers, many of the rights and freedoms people take for granted could be jeopardised.
The way in which criminal lawyers work is helpful to the police and greater society. The abundance of talented criminal defence solicitors means that prosecutors need to exhaust every avenue they have to prove the guilt of the accused party.
Also read: The basics of criminal law
This is crucial because it helps prevent anyone from going to prison while there was doubt about their guilt. It forces prosecutors to bring to bear a robust case against the defence in order to satisfy any doubt about their guilt.
This prevents those who are wrongfully accused from being punished for alleged crimes that could not be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. If there is reasonable doubt about the accused’s guilt then a free society cannot ethically punish them for the crime.
This burden of proof remains true whether the accused has legal representation or not. However, a criminal lawyer helps the accused represent their best interests as if they had legal training themselves.
This is likely the most important aspect of criminal lawyers and why they thrive as a profession. Criminal lawyers understand the workings of the criminal system of law so that non-lawyers don’t have to.
Criminal lawyers assist their clients at every stage of the criminal process from arrest to trial. The best solicitors act as powerful advocates for their clients, arguing on their behalf to seek the most just outcome.
The art of criminal defence can appear controversial when a lawyer aids in the acquittal of someone society believe is truly guilty. These lawyers are often treated with disdain because of their advocacy for people many believe are obvious criminals.
This is why criminal lawyers are so important, they make sure that criminal law is applied fairly no matter what the court of popular opinion dictates. This makes criminal lawyers part of what keeps legal principles from being stepped on by popular opinion and ensures that the law is preserved at all levels of society.