The role of the defence attorney in a criminal proceeding is to defend and protect the rights of the defendant in the course of the proceeding.
Anyone who is accused in criminal proceeding has the right to the assistance of a defense attorney.
A defendant who has no defense attorney by choice, may request to be granted a public defense attorney under the condition that they can appropriately prove they cannot afford the defence costs without damage to their well-being of and that of their family. In certain cases if the defendant does not have a defense attorney, a public defense attorney is obligatorily assigned to them by the court.
The defense attorney can undertake procedural acts only for the advantage of the defendant.
A person who serves as a defense attorney must have the appropriate rights to act, in accordance to the Polish act on bar professionals.
The defendant has the right to the presence of a defense attorney during all acts in which the defendant’s presence is necessary, and may also defend during participation in other acts. To effectively represent the defendant, the defense attorney participates actively in the proceedings via presenting new evidence, submitting motions for securing evidence or other acts. The defense attorney has the right to ask questions to the defendant, witnesses and other proceeding participants. On behalf of the defendant, they submit complaints and appeals against courts rulings or prosecution decisions with which they do not agree. If a question was asked, for example, by the prosecution, the defense attorney may consult with and counsel the defendant to avoid answering a question or to refuse to give explanations.