22 September, 2021

Why do defense attorneys defend the guilty? This is a question that many defense lawyers face from members of the public. 

Whenever there is a high-profile case that makes headlines, the defense attorney working on the case inevitably faces backlash. Many citizens wonder how anyone could be so callous as to defend a guilty party. 

When a lawyer is defending guilty clients, they are not in any way condoning the actions of the clients. Lawyers are simply upholding their legal obligation to their clients and the US judicial system. 

Under the United States judicial system, those charged with a crime are entitled to due process and a fair trial — things that can only be achieved by working with a skilled defense attorney.


what do lawyers do when they know their client is guilty


Why Criminal Defense Lawyers Defend the Guilty

What is the duty of a defense lawyer to his or her client and the legal system?

There’s a lot of confusion as to why criminal defense lawyers defend the guilty, but there are reasons why defense attorneys work with perceived guilty parties. 

First, the distinction must be made between factual and legal guilt. 

  • Factual guilt. This is the action that the defendant actually committed. 
  • Legal guilt. This is what a prosecutor can actually prove in court. 

Criminal defense attorneys who suspect their clients are guilty are not trying to prove whether or not their client committed the crime, they are challenging the prosecutor to prove guilt. 

If the prosecutor is unable to prove all elements of the crime, the defendant may receive a lesser charge or no penalties at all. 


What Do Lawyers Do When They Know Their Client Is Guilty? 

What does a defense attorney do when they suspect or know that their client is guilty? 

Defense lawyers work in the field of legal defense, making criminal cases and law their specialty. Because the United States judicial system mandates due process and a fair trial for Americans, the role of a defense attorney is paramount. 

Without defense attorneys, those facing criminal charges — true or false — would find themselves facing harsh consequences without adequate representation. 

Regardless of whether a defense attorney suspects their client of being guilty, it is still their legal obligation to justly represent them and present facts that could shed light on the case and potentially earn their client a fair sentence.


What to Do if You Are Facing Criminal Charges

Here at Leyba Defense, our leading attorney, Matthew Leyba is considered one of Washington’s leading criminal defense lawyers. He has been working in the field of criminal law for more than a decade and is passionate about helping each of his clients receive a fair trial. 

If you are facing criminal charges, get the legal help that you deserve by contacting Leyba Defense today. Our firm offers a free initial consultation for clients who are facing criminal charges. Get in touch to schedule your first consultation at our legal defense firm.