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Tasks of the criminal defense lawyer | Attorney - Heidelberg

 1. establishment of equality of arms

The purpose of criminal defense is to establish equality of arms in criminal proceedings. Unlike in other proceedings, the defendant on the other side faces the legally trained police and public prosecutor's office. The principle of the rule of law therefore requires that the accused, as a legal layman, be given the opportunity to seek assistance and advice.

Lawyer Fathieh 

The task of the criminal defense lawyer is thus to ensure the protection and enforcement of the rights of the accused during the proceedings. The necessary support of the accused is possible at any stage of the criminal proceedings, § 137 StPO.

Note: The office has a subpage with detailed explanations of the course of criminal proceedings.

2. the difference between a public defender of rights and a public defender of rights

a) Defender of choice

In the interest of the rule of law, every defendant has the right under § 137 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (StPO) to have a defense counsel of his or her own choice (counsel of choice). The court is obliged to point this out to the accused in accordance with Section 136 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. However, this does not result in a fundamental obligation to provide defense counsel.

b) Public defense

However, the cases of the so-called necessary defense in § 140 StPO apply as an exception. These are constellations in which a public defender must be available to the accused due to the seriousness of the accusation and the associated special features of the proceedings or threatening consequences.

Note: There is a sub-page on the details of the requirements of public defense by Mr. Fathieh, attorney-at-law.

c) Practical implications of the type of defense

The rights and obligations regarding the defense are identical to the elective defense in the case of the public defense. Only the costs are paid in different ways: While the defendant has to pay his elective defense attorney directly, the state makes an advance payment for the public defender initially, but subsequently claims the defendant in the event of a conviction - and this regardless of the defendant's financial situation.

In cases of necessary defense, the defendant is nevertheless free to appoint counsel of choice as an alternative to or in addition to the assigned public defender (up to a maximum of three). The only decisive factor is that a criminal defense lawyer is called in.

Note: It is absolutely advisable to consult a criminal defense attorney already at the beginning of the preliminary proceedings, regardless of the case groups of the necessary defense. This is because important decisions are made at the beginning of the criminal proceedings, i.e. during the preliminary investigation. Legal literature therefore rightly speaks of the formative power of the preliminary proceedings.

Attorney Fathieh 

3 The right trial strategy

The main focus of a criminal defense lawyer's work is to develop the right defense strategy for the best possible result and to implement it in the criminal proceedings or, if necessary, to adapt it flexibly. Part of the criminal defense is therefore also to make forecasts about the course and outcome of the trial.

a) Preparation of the trial

The strategic preparation of the trial includes considerations as to whether, depending on the case constellation, all accusations should be denied or a comprehensive confession made, to what extent or whether it makes sense for the accused to make statements at all, what evidence can be requested to exonerate the accused, and whether the filing of legal remedies (appeal and revision) would have a chance of success. It is also conceivable that trials will take place mainly at the sentencing level. In this case, the defense can start there and, for example, depending on the case constellation, achieve a lenient sentence by recommending a confession, a voluntary restitution or a sincere apology to the victim.

b) Implementation during the trial

In cooperation with the accused, criminal defense consists in securing evidence and preparing statements. Criminal defense also assumes the task for the defendant of facing direct confrontations with the judge and the prosecution during the trial. Skillful examination of witnesses is also an important task of the defense attorney for the accused.

The defense attorney also ensures that the complex proceedings are conducted properly, in particular that witnesses' rights to refuse to testify are known and, if necessary, used, or that the taking of evidence does not violate any prohibitions on the use of evidence.


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