Should 2 people, facing charges against them from the same person in almost the same case, use the same lawyer?

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Should 2 people, facing charges against them from the same person in almost the same case, use the same lawyer?

My friend and I both got into separate altercations on the same night, at the same gathering, with the same guy. He ended up pressing charges. Now, 3 months later, we both got hit with Class A Misdemeanors – Assault Causing Bodily Injury. Would it be unwise for my friend and I to use the same lawyer (but as 2 different clients of course)? We get along well, and the witnesses are all the same.Should I at least speak to another criminal defense attoreny? In San Patricio County, TX.

Asked on August 8, 2010 under Criminal Law, Texas

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

It would be advisable for you and your friend to have different attorneys.  If you both have the same attorney, the attorney may have a conflict of interest in representing both of you.  A potential conflict of interest on the part of the attorney could arise if your statement, testimony, etc. implicates your friend or vice versa.

If you both go to the same attorney, the attorney will advise you of the potential conflict of interest and will advise you to discuss the potential conflict of interest with another attorney.  If after discussing the potential conflict of interest with another attorney, both of you still want to be represented by the same attorney, you will both need to sign a waiver indicating that you were informed of the potential conflict of interest, were counseled by a neutral party such as a different attorney and despite the potential conflict of interest are going to proceed with representation by one attorney.  


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