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What does a lawyer do when they know their client is obviously guilty?

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I am not a criminal. I want to be a lawyer.

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jackie m
They do everything they can do to convince the jury that you are not guilty - they don't care if you are guilty they only want the money for doing the job. Obviously if you have committed deliberate murder then they may advise you to plead a lesser cause, knowing that there is too much evidence against you,

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stephen t
First, if you have a real criminal problem consult with a qualified criminal attorney in your state, do not rely on this post. If a lawyer knows a client is guilty, he or she cannot put them on the stand and allow them to claim they did not do the crime, so they should not put them on the stand because they will be asked by the prosecution if they did it, that would be perjury and the lawyer would be contributing to that perjury and could get in big trouble, at the same time a lawyer cannot break the attorney/client priviledge or again attorney in big trouble, if a client who has told his lawyer he or she is guilty and insists on testifying, remember a criminal defendant does not have to take the stand and cannot be asked questions by prosecutor, if they do take the stand they get to say their piece and look at the jury and say I did not kill so and so but when they take the stand they the are subject to the prosecution hammering away at them with questions on cross examination, big risk. So if a lawyer is told his client is guilty by client he can use a ton of defenses, self defense, entrapment, suppression of evidence, plea bargaining, prosecutor did not prove their case guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, lack of evidence, witnesses can be made to look like liars or biased, improper search, tampering of evidence, police corruption/conspiracy and so on. But if a client says he is guilty and wants to testify he or she did not do it the proper thing to do, lawyer must refuse to go forward and ask the judge to quit the case, without breaking attorney/client priviledge or hurting the clients case, a real ethical dilema. Now in real life does a client admit to an attorney and the attorney still puts them on the stand, yeah I am sure it happens. Also, a lawyer would require a blatant, yeah I killed so on so by the client to have the knowledge the client is guilty, a lawyer can think his client is guilty but that is way different than his client telling them he or she did it, a lawyer is not looking to find his client guilty and instead is required to use every legitimate tool, and their are a lot of them to get the best result for the client.
This is not legal advice, and should not be relied on as such. If you have a criminal legal problem consult with a criminal legal attorney in your state.

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A lawyer works on many levels. First, the lawyer works to make sure that the client does not get railroaded. Guilty or not, everyone deserves a FAIR trial. Too often the public and the prosecutors ore overzealous in going after defendants. The criteria in the US is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The prosecution is required to prove that and the lawyer makes sure that they do that.

Second, if the lawyer knows that a person is guilty, the lawyer is still able to use various defenses. For example, if the person is guilty of killing someone, a defense is self-defense, that is, the person had to kill to save his own life.

Third, it may be in the person's best interest for the person to plea bargain. The court's like this because it reduces their workload and the guilty person likes it because they may get a lesser sentence. For example, if a person is accused of drug trafficking, and the lawyer knows that is what the person was doing, the lawyer can plea bargain for a lesser offense or a lesser sentence.

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José, The Special One
Defend them using as many technicalities and/or lame excuses as possible. Try to plead that they were "temporarily insane", "provoked" or "had a bad mommy".

Best of luck.

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