If you are fighting a criminal case, you are going through a roller coaster of emotions. You are nervous, angry, and may even be frightened about what the future might hold. Depending on the seriousness of the case, you could face jail time or be ordered to pay hefty fines if you go to trial and are found guilty.
Because your freedom is important to you, you hire a criminal defense attorney to come up with a strategy that can help you beat your charges in court. But even though you retain a practicing lawyer to prepare your defense does not mean that you should not be involved in the process.
If you are actively involved in the preparation and investigation process, you can improve your chances of having a positive outcome in court. Here are some tips on how you can help your attorney prepare your defense when you are a criminal defendant.
Be Upfront and Honest With Your Attorney From Day One
The first time you meet your defense lawyer they will ask you detailed questions about the case. Your lawyer may ask you to recall all of the events leading up to your arrest, what took place at the time of your arrest, and if anything relevant happened when you were booked into custody. No matter how irrelevant a question may seem, there is a reason why your attorney is asking it. You should always be upfront and honest with your lawyer.
Remember that attorney-client privilege laws state that anything you say to your lawyer is private and confidential. Your defense attorney has taken your case in hopes of having the case thrown out or the charges reduced. If you fail to tell the attorney the truth about the events leading up to your arrest, surprise evidence could affect your defense strategy.
Knowing everything from day one can help your attorney achieve a successful outcome. When your lawyer knows “the good, the bad, and the ugly”, they can be prepared for what the prosecution might bring up as evidence in court.
Gather All of the Documents Your Attorney Requests in a Timely Manner
In some cases, your attorney may ask for specific documents that will become part of your case defense. This might include time-stamped receipts showing your whereabouts, witness statements, and the name and phone numbers of people who can add to your defense. It is very important for you to gather all of the information your attorney needs in a timely manner so that the attorney can proceed with the preparation process. If you do not get the information the attorney needs, it will affect your case. There is nothing worse than you and your attorney going to court unprepared because you dropped the ball.
Do Not Talk to Anyone About Your Case Except For Your Attorney
The prosecutor or the arresting officer may try to contact you to discuss details of the case. If you receive a letter, a phone call, or even a visit from the prosecutor, you should tell the person that you have retained a lawyer and that they should direct all of their questions to your attorney. Defendants often feel like they have something to prove and can say something detrimental to their case if they have even a very short conversation. Call your attorney, let them know about the contact, and say nothing.
Tell Your Lawyer When You Relocate
Criminal cases do not go to trial in a matter of days. In some situations, it can take a year or more just for a case to go to trial in court. If you change your phone number, you move, or you change jobs, let your lawyer know right away. If your lawyer does not have this information and they have questions about your case, your defense could suffer.
Working with your lawyer to prepare your defense is important. After you and your lawyer agree on a strategy, make sure you are actively involved in the process. Always attend your court dates and wear professional clothing to court that shows that you respect the judge. If you work with your attorney, you are honest, and you keep an open line of communication, you can increase your chances of having a positive outcome.
If you have any questions, or you would like to schedule a free consultation, contact Wolf Law, LLC today.