Working with Your Criminal Defense Attorney: Dos & Don'ts

When you are accused of or charged for a serious criminal violation like criminal sexual conduct or domestic violence, it can be difficult to know who you can trust. Unfortunately, this natural instinct to put a barrier between yourself and others when accused becomes problematic if you treat your own criminal defense attorney with the same skepticism, as so many criminally accused individuals do. In order to make the most out of your client-attorney relationship and give your criminal defense case the best chance of succeeding, you need to know how to interact with your lawyer.

Working with Your Defense Lawyer: Dos

  • Honesty: You must be honest with your criminal defense lawyer if you want any chance of winning your case. Trying to hide the truth from your lawyer is as haphazard and self-defeating as lying to your own medical provider. They are just there to help you. Plus, you are provided what is called “attorney-client privilege” whenever interacting with your attorney. Basically, anything you admit to your attorney in private is confidential and can’t be accessed by just anyone, including prosecutors.
  • Transparency: Hand-in-hand with honesty is transparency, especially about any potential witnesses to the criminal violation in question. Let your criminal defense attorney know if you have any reason to believe that someone saw the alleged crime occur. The last thing you need is your attorney to be stumped by a surprise witness only because you thought it best not to mention them.
  • Paperwork: You should also be fully prepared with any and all paperwork related to your case. Even the smallest bit of information could prove to be incredibly useful for your defense, so don’t be shy to ask your attorney what they think you should retrieve. For example, do you have receipts that establish an alibi?

Working with your Defense Lawyer: Don’ts

  • Openly communicate: One of the worst things you can do when accused of a serious crime like aggravated assault is talk too much with the police when arrested. They are going to use loaded questions to try to get you to confess, or to say something self-incriminating. They are not there to help you. Use your Miranda rights to stay silent until you have an opportunity to talk with your criminal defense attorney. Invoke these rights clearly by saying something like, “Officer, I intend to use my Miranda rights to stay quiet until I get to talk with my lawyer.”
  • Use social media: While your criminal case is pending, you would do best to stay away from social media platforms. The prosecution is going to crawl your accounts for anything that might be incriminating, like being tagged at the scene of the alleged crime or with persons of suspect. One wrong post could jeopardize your case. Keep in mind that even private accounts are technically public information. As a general rule, your criminal defense attorney will probably tell you to stay away from social media for the time being.
  • Miss court dates: Your criminal defense attorney will be working hard to build and prepare your case. Part of this process will be attending hearings in court as your case progresses. Missing these court dates may land you in legal trouble and will definitely make things more difficult for your attorney. Communicate regularly with your attorney to stay atop of necessary court dates and plan in advance to be there.

Accused of criminal sexual conduct or another serious crime in Michigan? Prain Law, PLLC accepts high stakes criminal defense cases that cause other law firms to shy away. Call (248) 731-4543 to begin your case with a trustworthy criminal defense attorney.

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