A brief summary of ways you can help your lawyer beat your criminal charges
1. Be Honest With Your Lawyer
In order for your lawyer to help you prepare your defense, you need to be completely honest with your Attorney. This does NOT mean you have to come out and say "I did it." Often times the Lawyer does not want to know, as it could put limitations on your ability to testify in court, but you must have an open and honest dialogue with your Attorney. When your lawyer asks you questions, you need to provide honest and thorough answers. Oftentimes, details you may think are irrelevant, or hurtful to your case, could in fact be beneficial to your defense. When you are charged with a crime, you have 1 and only 1 person who is on your side, and that is your lawyer.
2. Do Not Talk to Police
This one speaks for itself. When police want to talk to you, it is not for the purpose of helping you out. Oftentimes, they want to talk to you because they may not have enough evidence to charge you with a crime. They are looking for you to slip up and give them information in order to help them charge YOU. If you think you have information you would like to provide to the police, let you Attorney be the one to provide it to them. That is what you hired him to do for you.
3. Stay off Social Media!
Do not post ANYTHING about your case on Social Media. Ever. Even if your profile is "private" there are still ways for it to be accessed, and the police and prosecution WILL find it. The best thing you can do, is to not use social media at all. Get rid of it. If you must have it, do not post anything on it. Period.
4. Provide your Attorney with Names and Contact Information for ANYONE Who May Have Information Related to Your Case.
Many times a person charged with a crime knows of people who witnessed the event or could provide helpful information in their defense, but they do not tell their Lawyer because they do not want to get them involved, or they think that person will never come to court to testify. If someone does not want to get involved, but could potentially provide information helpful to your case, your Attorney can subpoena (essentially a court order forcing someone to attend a legal hearing or deposition). When you are charged with a crime, the stakes are high. Do not risk your freedom because you do not want to inconvenience another person.
5. Stay in Contact with your Lawyer
Remember, this is YOUR case. You must participate in defending your case by maintaining contact with your lawyer. Make sure your lawyer can reach you at all times. Provide your lawyer with accurate cell phones, emails, and mailing addresses. I recommend reaching out to your lawyer once a week or every couple weeks, just to check in and ask if there is anything you should be doing to help assist your defense. This does not mean you should call your lawyer over and over again leaving multiple messages per day. Your lawyer has other clients too, but a quick phone call to check in should not bother your Attorney. As a criminal Defense Attorney, I would MUCH rather have a client who checks in with me once a week, instead of one I have to try to track down.
6. Show up to Court Appearances and Appointments ON TIME
If your Court Appearance is scheduled for 9:00 AM, and your Lawyer has told you that your appearance is required, then your body needs to be inside the courtroom at 9:00 AM. If you are not sure whether your appearance is required, then err on the side of caution, and be there. And be there on time. Do not get frustrated if your lawyer is not on time. Lawyers usually have multiple cases in multiple jurisdictions each day, and cannot be in more than one place at a time. Judge's typically give Lawyers a little extra time to arrive, but they do NOT afford the same luxury to Defendants. Remember, this is YOUR case. Your Lawyer is representing you, and if you have a lawyer, you will never be asked to proceed in Court without your Lawyer being there, but if YOU are not there when the Judge is ready, that Judge typically will not accept tardiness.
7. Be Respectful and Dress Appropriately
Judges have thousands of people with criminal charges come in front of them. DO NOT BE ONE OF THE PEOPLE THE JUDGE REMEMBERS. You are in a Court of Law. Dress appropriately. Think of it as a job interview. You have a minimal amount of time to make an impression on the Judge. Take advantage of it. Answer all questions with "Yes, Your Honor" or "No, Your Honor." Also, be respectful to the Bailiffs and other Court Personnel. Remember, these people work with the Judge on a daily basis. If they feel disrespected by you, the Judge deciding your case WILL hear about it.
8. Do Not Bring Friends or Family To Meetings With Your Lawyer
If you are meeting with your lawyer regarding information you would like to keep confidential, leave your friends and family at home. The presence of a 3rd party at a meeting between you and your lawyer, can negate the Attorney Client Privilege.
9. Do NOT Talk About Your Case On the Phone With ANYONE If You Are Incarcerated
ALL calls made from the Jail are recorded, and the Prosecutors WILL listen to them all.
10. Do NOT Contact Victims or Witnesses
Do not ever attempt to contact a victim or witness against you when you are charged with a crime. This not only makes you look guilty, but it also could be a separate crime. Tampering with a witness or victim can be even more serious than the original crime you are charged with. If there needs to be any contact, let your attorney know.
11. Take Photos and Videos of Any Events That May Help In Your Defense and Save Text Messages and Emails or Other's Social Media Postings
There is no better evidence than photos or videos. If you have any, save them, and turn them over to your Attorney immediately. Also, if someone is lying to get you in trouble, and you have evidence to prove their lies, save them! This includes all voicemails, text messages, facebook and twitter posts, and emails people may have posted or sent you.
12. TRUST YOUR LAWYER
If you do not trust your Attorney, then you probably do not have the right Attorney for you. Your Attorney may not tell you what you WANT to hear, but it is his job and his duty to look out for YOUR best interests. This does not mean you have to agree with your lawyer, but you should have a lawyer whose opinion you trust and value.
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