Due process and the presumption of innocence are among our most important civil rights. Unfortunately, they’re among the most difficult ones to protect. It is almost a David and Goliath scenario. That is why the accused need criminal defense lawyers, a legal expert on their side to help defend them.
The Defense of Due Process
There are too many people accused of a crime who don’t have good legal representation. Yet they have no hope of defending themselves against the state without a good defense attorney. Defense attorneys are there to ensure that their clients are dealt with fairly. This ranges from ensuring that evidence is only collected in accordance with the law to not using someone’s words against them. Defense attorneys are often fighting popular misconceptions such as the belief that the refusal to take the stand proves that someone is guilty of the crime or that accusations should be taken as sacred truth. Accusations should be taken seriously, but everyone accused of anything from sexual harassment to rape to murder should be presumed innocent and given a fair hearing to fight the charges.
Even those who have been accused of civil offenses should have access to criminal defense attorneys. Overzealous Child Protective Services case workers have taken children from parents without proof of neglect or abuse. People have had their lives ruined by false allegations of spousal abuse and child abuse. These things shouldn’t be taken lightly, because having that in your record is disastrous. For example, a doctor or teacher accused of domestic abuse by an ex seeking to force them out of the house and sole custody of the kids will lose their ability to continue working in their profession. A DUI / DWI conviction will cost you your commercial driver’s license for life.
Protecting the Rights of Criminals
Even those who are guilty of the crime should have legal representation. It isn’t just a matter of ensuring due process so that someone who isn’t sure they committed the crime is sent to jail. It is also about protecting the rights of criminals. Prosecutors often tack on extra charges to ensure that their target is found guilty of something, and they may be found guilty of almost everything. Now someone guilty of a minor misdemeanor is convicted of several felonies. They go to prison for extra years, because the prosecutor just wanted to make something stick.
Ensuring that Justice Is Done
Too many police have fabricated evidence to get the person they are convinced was guilty. Dallas had to settle fake drug cases for millions of dollars back in 2006. There are prosecutors who have used someone’s attempts to be helpful and give their side of the story to convict an innocent bystander. There are prosecutors who have taken a number of pieces of circumstantial evidence to convict the person they think is guilty, though they are innocent.
In their minds, they’re getting a bad person off the street and giving victims closure. Unfortunately, the real criminals remain at large. Criminal defense attorneys who prevent the innocent from going to prison improve the odds that the real perpetrator will eventually be found.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2021 Tamara Wilhite