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Can Lawyers Refuse to Defend Someone?

On Behalf of | Oct 25, 2023 | Criminal Defense

Many people accused of a crime are concerned about the judgement of their attorneys and even whether an attorney can refuse to defend them. The short answer to this is yes, an attorney can absolutely refuse to defend someone. While lawyers can refuse to defend someone, they are not likely to do so based on whether they are guilty or not guilty.

You should have a good relationship with your lawyer because they are the one fighting for you. If you do not trust them or if you do not feel comfortable talking to them, then it might be difficult to have a successful case. If an attorney sees your reticence to trust them, it may be an indicator that you aren’t a good fit, and they may refuse.

Regardless of your situation, having legal counsel that you feel comfortable with and who you are able to open up to will help your case. If you are in California and have a criminal defense case that you need assistance with, you can trust Exum Law Offices to fight for you.

Reasons a Lawyer Might Refuse a Case

While an attorney doesn’t have to give a client a reason to refuse a case, there could be any number of reasons that they would. A few could include:

  • Client’s lack of necessary finances for the case’s complexity
  • Conflict of interest with client or opposing client/counsel
  • Personality differences that could affect communication
  • Personal experience with the type of case that affects attorney
  • The client suggests misconduct on the attorney’s part
  • Caseload is too big to take on a new client

These are some of the most common reasons, but, in others, an attorney might be required to turn a case down if they feel an ethical dilemma. Keep in mind that a good attorney will have a strong ethical code, too.

Client Confidentiality

An attorney may refuse a case if their clients aren’t honest. Clients are often concerned about what they say to their attorney, but they are bound by law to your confidence. These laws apply in the following situations:

  • When a client or potential client is in communication with an attorney
  • Anytime your lawyer is acting as a lawyer
  • Anytime a client states they would specifically like the communications to be private

Any communication that happens between a client and a lawyer must remain confidential, whether it is written or verbal. Even other lawyers on a legal team may not receive the information from communications unless it is deemed okay by the client. A lawyer must always follow the client-lawyer privilege laws, but a client can waive their rights to keep their information confidential.

Lawyer and client confidentiality remains after the lawyer’s relationship with the client ends or if the client becomes deceased. There is never a situation where a lawyer can share the information a client has given without consent.

Confidentiality as a Lawyer’s Duty

One reason confidentiality is so important for lawyers is because it prevents them from testifying against their clients. Beyond this reason, lawyers give their clients confidentiality because they have a duty to it. This is to prevent lawyers from speaking about cases with other people. All information related to their client’s case must be kept confidential.

If a lawyer were to speak about their client’s case with someone, it could jeopardize the entire outcome of the case against you. This is why transparency with your attorney is crucial, and you should hire someone you can trust. Any attorney will keep your confidence, but your comfort and ease with this person can help you during this process. If you have any questions about lawyer-client confidentiality or need legal assistance, contact Exum Law Offices today.

For your defense attorney to make the best case for you, they must understand all the details of the case. A good defense lawyer looks at the case from an outside perspective with all the facts to make sure they gather as much evidence as possible in your favor. This means you must share all the small details of the situation for your defense attorney to understand exactly what occurred. Even sharing details that may not be completely relevant can also influence your case.

When a lawyer has all the information, they can gather it and create a strategic case to clear your name. If you believe you may be at risk for criminal charges or you are facing them already, it is a good idea to have an experienced lawyer representing you.

What Happens If I Lie to My Attorney?

Lying to your attorney makes it harder, if not impossible, for them to trust you. If an attorney cannot trust their client, it is more difficult for them to do their job properly. Without that trust, the case could be in jeopardy. Also, if you are caught lying to your attorney, they may drop your case altogether. It is essential to be honest with your lawyer from the beginning to avoid any issues down the road.

Can a Public Defender Refuse My Case?

A public defender’s caseload is often very different from a private attorney’s. They don’t have the same freedom to refuse a case because their casework is assigned by the state. However, certain elements may prevent them from being able to handle a case, like a conflict of interest with the client. For instance, if they already represent someone who might be a witness in your case then they will not be able to represent you.

Get in Touch With Exum Law Offices

Criminal defense attorneys are important in our society because they ensure that people who have been accused of crimes are given a fair defense. This is an essential part of our judicial system, and it helps to protect the rights of citizens. A criminal defense attorney must be knowledgeable about all aspects of a case and be able to give their client a voice so that they can be heard in court. If you or someone you know has been accused of a crime, seek legal assistance from a qualified criminal defense lawyer. The legal team at Exum Law Offices are experienced professionals who are ready to help you. Contact our law offices today.