As criminal defense lawyers in the Charlotte area, we are often asked why we do what we do. Countless times we have been asked, “how you can you defend someone who has committed a crime?” How can you defend someone even if you know they are guilty?” Before becoming a criminal defense attorney, I may have had a different perspective on it, but now I am assured that my job protects the public just as much if not more than the job of a prosecutor.
Guilt is a legal conclusion
- At Gilles Law, we have never undertaken the representation of a guilty person. We can say this with confidence because under our Constitution, a person who is accused of a crime is innocent until proven guilty. Because of this, no matter what they were accused of doing, or what they did, the defendant is in fact innocent until proven guilty or formally admits guilt.
- It is only after going through the entire constitutionally-mandated court process that an accused becomes “guilty”.
Profiling exists on more levels than people realize – There is no doubt that profiling based on race, gender, age, and economic conditions exists. What people don’t often realize however is that just about everyone has the potential to become a victim of profiling.
- Why do you defend “criminals”? – “Well, I do what I do to protect you”, is often my answer. After the blank stares subside I tell a story……
- “The police are just doing a job just like everyone else. They have the same pressures, stresses, and personal lives. Imagine that there is a suspect that was accused of breaking into a house and assaulting someone. That person was last seen wearing the same color shirt as you, he has a similar build and he was last seen entering the neighborhood that you live in. The community is scared and really wants someone to pay for this crime and they really want someone to go to prison so that they can feel safe again.” I then ask the person “what stops the government from just arresting you because you fit the description, and throwing you in prison to make everyone feel safe?” The answer is, criminal defense lawyers stop them. A criminal defense lawyer’s job is to make it as hard as possible to put someone in prison, exactly so that the government can’t do that to others.
- Criminal defense lawyers are part of the checks and balances of our justice system.
People are not just the sum of certain acts that they might have committed
- Nobody wants to be judged solely on the worst thing they have ever done. Human beings should at least get a chance to rehabilitate themselves and their life. We have all done things that we are not proud of, some of us just haven’t gotten caught.
Some laws are just not fair
- There are some laws that exist simply to attempt to legislate some person’s standard of morality, and not to protect any particular victim. Prostitution and drug possession are just two that come to mind. It can be widely debated, and because of that gray area, it at least makes sense to help people charged with these kind of crimes avoid facing the same kinds of consequences as the people who are intentionally hurting others.
At Gilles Law, we are proud criminal defense lawyers.