When someone is charged with a crime, it can be a very scary and stressful time. The first step in the process should be to hire a criminal defense attorney, but how you interact with that criminal defense attorney is also important. Attorney client communication is important to the process, but it is not something that people commonly understand how to handle. In this blog, we will discuss this topic. Like all our blogs, this is intended for informational purposes only, and not as a substitute for the advice and counsel of a criminal defense attorney.
It is typically not necessary to talk to your criminal defense attorney very often.
When you have a new court date, discovery has been received, or there has been a plea offer extended, your criminal defense attorney will reach out to you. In fact, your criminal defense attorney or someone from his or her staff will reach out to you if there is any update of importance. Because of this, it is not necessary to constantly call your attorney’s office to “ask if there are any updates”. Your criminal defense attorney would not withhold important information from you. The truth is criminal cases often progress very slowly and there can be several months that go by with no real updates.
Leave reasonable amounts of time for a response.
Criminal defense attorneys often have a lot going on. It is common for criminal defense attorneys to be in Court, visiting someone in jail, visiting alleged crime scenes, going through discovery, or doing legal research. It is also common for an attorney to be in a meeting with; a client, with client’s families, private investigators, prosecutors, law enforcement, forensics experts, mental health professionals, witnesses, or any number of others.
Keeping this in mind, it is not reasonable to call the office of a criminal defense attorney and expect to speak to them right away, or even within the same day. Additionally, if you have a court on Monday morning and you have questions, it would be wise to contact your attorney well before Friday afternoon.
You may not speak to the attorney directly and that is not a bad thing.
Attorney client confidentiality extends to the staff and the agents of the attorney. This means it is okay to speak to the assistant or paralegal of the attorney, another attorney in the firm, a private investigator working with the attorney on your case, or any other number of people that the attorney designates. These people are often better equipped to answer your question than the attorney is, because they may be the ones working directly on the matter that you are inquiring about.
Scheduling questions, questions about court dates, and other basic questions can usually be handled by the support staff of the attorney and you would be better off speaking to them directly.
Always keep in mind that your attorney is working zealously to defend the rights of his or her clients, but they almost always have several clients at the same time.