Can a Couple Use the Same Lawyer for a Criminal Case?

We have a proven track record of success in handling over 15,000 criminal cases and are consistently awarded as one of Ohio’s Best Criminal Defense Firms. We treat our clients like family with a non-judgmental approach. Knowledge is power in any situation. We are here to help educate you about your circumstances. Use our resources below to contact us and learn how we can help you.

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Should You Get a Different Lawyer Than Your Spouse in a Criminal Defense Case?

Facing criminal charges is a stressful and challenging experience, and when spouses find themselves in this unfortunate situation together, it raises a critical question: should they share legal representation or pursue separate attorneys? It seems common sense if both you and your spouse have been charged with a criminal offense at the same time for a situation which involves you both, that you would seek out legal counsel together. It is however more complicated for one lawyer to represent two defendants charged together and it is important to understand the potential advantages and disadvantages of each approach.

More often than not it is wiser for spouses to seek separate legal counsel rather than retaining the same law office to fight for both of them. Here at the Joslyn Law Firm in Columbus, OH we typically recommend that when spouses are both facing criminal charges that they hire us to handle one of their cases and then we have a list of highly-reputable attorneys we have worked with many times that we will suggest for the second spouse.

If you and your spouse have been charged with a criminal offense, we encourage you to reach out to our office to set up a free case consultation where we can provide knowledgeable legal counsel about the best way to proceed for a more favorable outcome for both you and your spouse in your respective cases. Contact us online or call (614) 444-1900 to set up your consultation.


Disadvantages To Sharing Legal Counsel With Your Spouse in a Criminal Case

If you and your spouse have been charged with a crime you might be wondering ‘Can one lawyer represent two defendants charged together?’ While it might feel like hiring the same attorney for both you and your spouse makes the most sense for your situation there are many things to consider about this decision and some very possible negative outcomes that could arise from deciding to share legal counsel. Some of these include:

1. Conflicts of Interest – One of the primary concerns when contemplating joint legal representation is the potential for conflicts of interest. Criminal defense attorneys owe a duty of loyalty to their clients, and representing both spouses may present situations where the interests of one spouse conflict with the interests of the other. This can be particularly problematic if the case involves accusations against one spouse made by the other.

2. Individualized Legal Strategies – Every criminal defense case is unique, and the legal strategies employed must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each defendant. Having separate attorneys allows for the development of individualized defense strategies, taking into account the distinct roles and actions of each spouse in the alleged criminal activity.

3. Privilege Concerns – Legal communications between an attorney and their client are protected by attorney-client privilege. Sharing an attorney with a spouse may potentially compromise this privilege, as certain information may be considered shared between the spouses rather than confidential attorney-client communication.

4. Differing Levels of Involvement – In some cases, one spouse may have a more significant role or responsibility in the alleged criminal activity than the other, from example in a drug case one spouse may be charged with drug possession while the other is charged with drug trafficking. Having separate legal representation allows each spouse’s attorney to focus on their client’s specific involvement, potentially resulting in a more nuanced defense strategy.

Advantages To Sharing Legal Counsel With Your Spouse in a Criminal Case

Although every situation is unique, there are typically more disadvantages to retaining joint legal representation than there are advantages. That being said if you are considering retaining the same lawyer for both you and your spouse the benefits include:

1. Potential Cost Savings – Joint legal representation can, in some cases, result in cost savings. However, it’s essential to weigh this against the potential drawbacks. Saving on legal fees may not be worth it in the long run if it compromises the quality of the defense or if conflicts of interest arise forcing you to seek secondary counsel after you’ve made initial payments to your first lawyer, negating those cost savings.

2. Communication and Coordination – If spouses choose to share an attorney, effective communication and coordination are crucial. Both spouses must be on the same page regarding the legal strategy, decisions, and potential consequences. By sharing an attorney there is no need for communication to be shared across multiple law firms, however failing to communicate effectively about each case can lead to misunderstandings and hinder the overall defense effort.

If you are planning to share counsel with your spouse in a criminal case the most important element is that you are in lock-step with each other about the strategy and how the case will be fought. There are times when it can make more sense to retain one lawyer for both criminal cases but these are rare. It is always best to speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer about the unique circumstances of your case to determine the best course of action before making any big decisions.

Contact A Criminal Defense Attorney If You and Your Spouse Have Been Charged With a Crime

Ultimately, the decision to share legal representation or pursue separate attorneys involves weighing the risks. While joint representation can simplify certain aspects of your case, it also brings about a number of potential problems. Separate representation allows for a more tailored and focused defense for both you and your spouse but may come with added costs. The decision of whether to get a different lawyer than your spouse in a criminal defense case is highly dependent on the unique circumstances of your situation. It is crucial for both spouses to weigh the advantages and disadvantages, consider the nature of the charges, the level of individual involvement, and the overall dynamics of their relationship before moving forward.

Consulting with experienced criminal defense attorneys can provide valuable insights and help spouses make an informed decision that best serves their legal interests. Contact the Joslyn Law Firm today for a consultation about your criminal charges in Columbus, Ohio. Hiring an Ohio criminal defense lawyer who has experience taking on cases that involve spouses can be crucial to protecting your rights and freedoms and to end up with the most favorable outcome possible.


Call (614) 444-1900 for a consultation about your criminal charges in Franklin County or another Ohio county, including Pickaway County, Madison County, Delaware County, Licking County, and Fairfield County.

  • Brian Joslyn was named Best Lawyer in 2019 by Birdeye.
  • Columbus CEO magazine has yearly selections for the best attorneys in Columbus Ohio. Brian Joslyn has been identified as one of the most highly skilled attorneys across central Ohio.
  • Brian Joslyn has earned recognition for community leadership by Lawyer LegionLawyer Legion
  • Preeminent Attorney Award. Peer rated for highest level of professional exellence.
  • The Better Business Bureau (BBB), founded in 1912, is a private, nonprofit organization whose self-described mission is to focus on advancing marketplace trust.

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