Tips for Helping Your Criminal Defense Attorney
Our modern legal systems, whether in America or abroad, affect virtually every aspect of our daily lives, whether we realize it or not. Anything from buying a car to smoking a cigarette, can come under scrutiny. As our world becomes more complicated by bad relationships, emerging technology and financial strains, good people make mistakes and may need to hire a criminal defense lawyer to defense them; however, a lawyer cannot do it alone, he or she will need a clients help in building the best defense for your case.
A crucial way to help your criminal defense attorney is defending you is to make an appointment and discuss the details of your case. In so many cases, in cricuit and juvenile courts across America, people do not take the time to sit and talk with their lawyers. If your attorney sets a time to meet, be there and be prepared to talk about the details, witnesses and even documents of which you may be aware.
Attorneys are busy folks. If you are unable to make the scheduled appointment, call and reschedule. Keep any and all appointments scheduled after that point. Minutes before your hearing or trial is not a good time to be meeting with and discussing your case with your counsel.
Honesty is the Best Policy
When you talk with your attorney, remember he or she is not your buddy, your mother or your priest. You should not embellish, soften or justify the facts, just give the attorney the details as you recall them. Attorneys are not there to judge you, but to offer sound legal advice about your case, potential defenses and possible outcomes. The more honest information received the better chance you have of your lawyer developing a clearer defense. Lying or omitting facts will compromise attorney-legal heirs trust and increase your risk of getting an unfavorable result.
The Proof is in the Pudding
Criminal law has evolved into a question of best evidence, constitutional questions, and witness credibility and not right and wrong. When a crime has only two witnesses, the alleged perpretor and the victim, the winner is determined by who tells the best story or relates the facts with fewer inconsistencies. So, in developing a defense, an attorney will need his or her client to provide clear details as well as potential witnesses, alibis, and corroborating information. If you were on the other side of town, provide proof. Toll slips, restaurant receipts, property titles, contracts, and statements from friends can help. If you are accused of destroying property and have physical limitations don’t be too proud to share this information with your attorney. Remember, you are not reliving an episode of Bones or Law and Order, this is real life.
Listen and Learn
An attorney has completed many years of education and has even more years of mentoring and/or experience. He understands the criminal justice system and the laws. When legal advice is offered, this advice is based on statutes, regulations, review of prior cases and continuing legal education. If a lawyer explains, the good and bad points to your case and then offers good and bad points for the evidence and potential outcomes- listen. Once these things are explained, ask questions. Through this exchange you will learn more about the law and its impact on your freedoms, whether they are driving privileges, personal freedoms or future housing and educational prospects.
Attorney-Client Privilege and Confidentiality
Nothing can torpedo a defense faster than a client, who talks too much and to everyone about what he or she said to his attorney. Remember that even if you think you are guilty and have expressed this to your attorney, the existence of attorney-client privilege protects this professional confession. However, this protection can be undermined by you allowing others to hear our discussions with your attorney or you repeat the information to others. Talk with your attorney about this special protection and let them know if you have told this information to others.
Attitude and Respect
“Do unto others” is more than a golden rule. It is the premise inwhich you determine how the court and legal system will treat you. If you show your attorney respect, you will get great respect. If you show attitude, you may find yourself looking for another attorney.
The same applies to your interaction with the courts. If you give a judge respect, he or she may find you more credible and show leniency depending on your alleged crime. If you give a judge and his or her deputies or bailiffs attitude, count your case lost. Even if your lawyer has in your opinion a rock solid defense, a judge has discretion to weigh this defense. Don’t prejudice yourself by being mouthy, difficult or ignoring direction comments from the bench.
Dress for Success
First impressions mean everything. While what you wear to your appointment may not matter, what you were to court does. If you want to help your attorney prove you are a respectful and guilt-free person, dress as if you are. Come to court clean and dressed neatly. Hair should be combed and neat. Braids, natural styles and wild hair colors will not sink your case, but unkempt styling will create an impression of lack of care, lack of respect or lack of understanding of the seriousness of your situation.
In criminal law, attorneys represent individuals who have been charged with crimes. There are consequences, minor to serious, if a client is found guilty. Helping your lawyer by offering crucial information and facts are only some of the ways you help them in developing your defenses. Through basic respect, listening to advice offered, trust and honest interaction increase your chances for a positive outcome to your case.
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