What Can I Do To Help My Lawyer?
When a new client retains me for a criminal case, he or she often wants to know what can be done to help. Many clients are not content to just sit back and let the lawyer do everything. Clients want to be involved. After all, the case affects the client’s life, and involvement in the case provides some measure of control. So here are a couple steps a client can take while the case is pending resolution to help the lawyer.
Stay Out of Trouble!
This might seem like a no-brainer but it is an important no-brainer. While the case is pending resolution, you may be out on bond. Bond means the judge allows you to stay out of jail. There may be bond conditions, such as alcohol or drug testing. Bond conditions give the judge a lot of power.
Getting in trouble could result in the judge hauling you into court to answer for why you got in trouble.
This puts you in an awkward position and makes your lawyer’s job more difficult.
Let’s say the lawyer was angling for a dismissal with the prosecutor. The lawyer has spent two pre-trial conferences explaining to the prosecutor what a great person you are and how they have never been in trouble. The prosecutor be less willing to give that dismissal if you get in trouble while on bond
Or let’s say you fail an alcohol test while awaiting trial for a drinking and driving charge. The judge is already looking at you as if you have a drinking problem. Now, the judge really thinks you have a drinking problem. In addition, the judge will think you’re disrespecting the court by not taking the judge’s order seriously. This could have a negative consequence on your case.
Keep a low profile. Keep your head down and you will make your life easier.
Make A Record of What Happened
Write down the whole story and keep it to yourself until your lawyer asks for it. There is one major reason for this. By the time the case gets to trial maybe on year after the “incident,” you may very well have forgotten the “what happened.” I see this all the time. Unfortunately, I’ve seen clients completely blank out during trial preparation!
There is a reason police officers write police reports – because there’s no way they can remember everything after time passes, and they use the report to refresh their memory. You can and should too.
Keep the report until you lawyer asks for it. Sometimes, for reasons of strategy, it’s best if the lawyer doesn’t hear everything. Other times, your lawyer will need every single excruciating detail. Let your lawyer make the decision for if your report is needed. Every case is different, and the lawyer will have to analyze your case individually.
These are just two ways you can help your lawyer while your case is ongoing. Speak with your lawyer to see how you can help and stay involved.
Attorney Ann Arbor | Sam Bernstein of ArborYpsi Law is a criminal defense attorney in Washtenaw County, Michigan. Call Sam Bernstein at 734.883.9584 or e-mail at [email protected] ArborYpsi Law is located at 206 N. Huron St., Ypsilanti, MI 48197.