You have the right to have a defence lawyer appointed to assist you if you are a suspect and are being questioned by the police, or if you are charged, accused, arrested or detained.
A defence lawyer is someone who looks after your interests, so the defence lawyer should try to deal with the case as you would. The defence lawyer must therefore put forward and argue the best options for you. In short, the defence lawyer’s goal is an acquittal for you.
Even though the defence lawyer must fight for your acquittal, the defence lawyer must not actively obstruct the case or the investigation but must also not help the police to clarify the case, even if the police are in a state of misunderstanding about the facts of the case. The defence lawyer’s role is unilateral and is only a support for you. The defence lawyer should only work in your best interests. This is their primary goal. In companies like Aalborg Attorney they are experts in building the best possible defence strategy. You can find more information about this here at their website – Aalborg.
Choosing a defence lawyer
In most countries, you are free to choose your defence lawyer from among all the lawyers in the country. You have the right to choose who your defence lawyer will be. This applies even if the court has already appointed a lawyer for you. Only in exceptional cases can the court refuse to change to another defence lawyer of your choice.
However, the appointment of a defence lawyer in a criminal case is personal and it will therefore normally be the lawyer himself who appears in the case. There will therefore be certain situations where the courts will refuse to appoint a lawyer if the defence lawyer is unable to appear in the case and this will result in a longer delay of the case if the defence lawyer is chosen. In such cases, the need for a speedy trial for the victim and the defendant would outweigh the freedom to choose a lawyer.
If you are unable to contact the defence lawyer yourself because you are in custody, you can inform the police, prison staff or the court that you want a particular defence lawyer to be appointed.
The new defence lawyer will then deal with the court, the police and the former defence lawyer. It will typically take a few days for a change of defence to be agreed and for the new defence lawyer to contact you.
If you are under 18, it is the person with parental responsibility who chooses your defence lawyer.
Costs of hiring a defence lawyer
The court sets the lawyer’s fees according to fixed rates, so it is no more expensive to choose your own lawyer than to keep the lawyer automatically appointed by the court.
If you are convicted, you will normally have to pay all the costs. The public authorities will pay the costs of your defence in the first instance. However, you will subsequently be charged by the public authorities. The fee for the appointed lawyer is usually calculated on the basis of fixed tariffs.
If you are acquitted, you will not have to pay the costs of your appointed lawyer. The public authorities will pay the costs. However, you will normally have to pay the costs of a private defence lawyer – even if you are acquitted. In some cases, however, the court may decide that you do not have to pay (all) the costs of your privately appointed defence lawyer if you are acquitted.