Survival Guide to Criminal Law Cases for Clients
Attorney Client Relationships/ Selection
ATTORNEY- CLIENT RELATIONSHIPSOne of the first and most important things you can do is choose the right attorney to assist you through the criminal law court process. If one has the financial ability to select private defense counsel I would strongly urge you to do so. On the other hand if you are indigent, the court will appoint a public defender to handle your case for you after judicial review of your financial declaration to the court. Some of the finest litigators I know are Public Defenders and they generally very well prepared. In either case, it is your threshold responsibility to meet and discuss the case with your attorney keeping him/her well informed as to facts, witnesses, statements, evidence and the likes. A word of preliminary caution here. It is VITAL to your defense to be 100% brutally honest with your attorney from the beginning as the content of the conversations and all communications fall under the class of protected communications . DO NOT LIE TO YOUR ATTORNEY ABOUT ANYTHING. In order to establish rapport and trust as well as the proper theory/theories of defense it is this advice which will be of most help. If you have a question call and communicate your concerns with your attorney being respectful to time and business hours. If an emergency situation develops have a plan in advance whereby each of you can get ahold of the other to communicate that urgency. The age old adage of Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance is time tested; use it.
COURTROOM PREPARATION/DEMEANOR AND ATTIREThe single most important thing is preparing mentally the night before court. Have address and route location pre-planned so as to ensure you arrive at least one half hour minimum before court begins. This does NOT mean outside standing in line waiting to be processed through the long lines of security screening; this means standing in front of the department assigned waiting for your attorney. He/she can often times, utilize this space of time to review formal motions/reports or answer questions related to your case. Punctuality is MANDATORY. Bring any items your attorney has requested and store them in a file folder. Get yourself prepared mentally in advance for adverse situations which might arise during court such as undesirable people in court that you may not want to see or deal with. You cannot help yourself if you are not calm or prepared for an unexpected verbal attack in public. The courtroom is an open public forum and ANYONE can sit in court. Remain calm do not engage anyone who hurls insults or derogatory glances your way. Disclose the conduct immediately to your attorney and let them handle it, NOT YOU.
Lastly , it is important to remember to dress properly for court. DO NOT SHOW UP IN ANY OF THE FOLLOWING EVER TO ANY COURT :
1. FLIP- FLOPS OR TENNIS SHOES
3. BASEBALL HATS/BANDANAS
4.CHEWING GUM IN YOUR MOUTH
7.TATTERED /WRINKLED CLOTHING
8.CELL PHONES TURNED ON OR LEFT ON
9.TUBE TOPS / SPAGHETTI STRAP TOPS ON WOMEN
11. TANK TOPS
In case you haven't noticed society and the entire community will form opinions about you based upon how one presents him or herself in a public courtroom and it is important to respect the decorum of the judge and staff while inside . You do not help yourself out if you are being warned for courtroom dress code violations.