How To Help Your Attorney Help You

Working with a criminal attorney can go a long way towards helping you get your sentence reduced or your charges dismissed. But even the best lawyer is not a magician. He or she will need the appropriate input from you in order to do a better job of defending you. Here are a few ways that you can help your lawyer help you.

1. Be Honest

If you did actually commit the crime you are being charged with, you may be embarrassed or ashamed. But regardless of what you are feeling, you need to be honest with your lawyer about what you did and did not do. They will have a much harder time defending you if they do not know the truth. For example, if the prosecution brings up evidence that you were at the scene of the crime and you previously told your lawyer you were not there, your lawyer will not have formulated a defense for this argument. Remember that your lawyer will not punish you or question your actions -- their job is to defend you, whether you are guilty or innocent. You should feel comfortable sharing all details related to your case with them.

2. Write Down Important Points to Raise During Your Meetings

It's not abnormal for you to feel flustered and anxious during your meetings with the attorney. In your anxiousness, however, you do not want to forget to raise certain points or ask certain questions about your case. Get into the habit of carrying a pen and pad with you throughout the day, and write down questions you want to ask and points you want to raise to your attorney. This way, you will have the points on hand during your next meeting.

3. Consider Bringing a Friend Along

If your attorney will allow it and you have a friend who you feel comfortable including, bring them along to your meetings with your attorney. If you struggle to explain something clearly due to nerves, your friend can step in and help, ensuring that your attorney gets a clear picture of the real story. Do be careful about the friend you choose to accompany you. They will need to be able to keep their mouth shut regarding the details of the trial and your charges, and they will also need to be honest.

4. Don't Postpone Meetings

Your lawyer is probably working on several cases at the same time. If you postpone a meeting with the lawyer, this will throw off their work schedule, and they may not have as much time left to do research and preparation for your trial date. So do your very best to keep meetings with your lawyer rather than rescheduling them. Treat them as your top priority right now; only medical emergencies should come first.

5. Ask Questions

If you do not understand something your lawyer is trying to explain, ask questions. The better you understand how they are working your case, the better you'll be able to offer details and feedback that are relevant. If you think of questions after the meeting is over, don't hesitate to call or email your lawyer. Most will respond promptly; that's just professional courtesy.

6. Respond in a Timely Manner

If your lawyer contacts you with questions or information between meetings, be timely in your response. The sooner you get them the answers, the sooner they can move forward with your case. What you don't want is for them to be waiting for your response to move forward, only to get it a day before your trial when they're crunched for time.

A good lawyer can do a lot for you when you've been charged with a crime, but you must also be a good client to allow them to do their best work.