When a client hires a criminal defense attorney to help with their case, every client should understand what that means. Specifically, if it is your case, an attorney is essentially there to help you navigate all the information and procedures that follow a criminal charge, and you are, in effect, an active member of your own defense team. This means that as a client, you cannot expect to sit back and take a hands-off approach; you must be prepared to commit to some work yourself to ensure that you come to the best result possible under the circumstances in your given case. In this blog we will discuss this topic, similar to all of our blogs, this is intended for general informational purposes only and not intended as a substitute for the advice and counsel of a criminal defense attorney.
There are things that your attorney simply cannot do for you.
Often, there is information that a criminal defense attorney will need to move forward in a case that a client will need to provide to complete the process. This can mean providing simple information including, but not limited to the following:
- Personal information such as a driver’s license number, date of birth, and social security number;
- Names, dates, and times of events that an attorney can only get from the client,
- Basic information about the client’s interaction with law enforcement in relation to the case.
Further, every criminal defense attorney will have some case-specific matters that a client must handle themselves to move their case forward, or conclude the matter to the best possible outcome. Some of these items include, but are not limited to the following:
- In a DWI case, to get the best possible outcome a client may have to complete a substance abuse assessment and the recommended treatment.
- In a case where an attorney worked out a conditional discharge for a client, there may be tasks one will have to perform and be able to prove to the court before the agreement can be executed.
- In a case where the client gets probation, there are terms and conditions of probation that must be completed in order to avoid a probation violation.
When a criminal defense attorney is asking a client to do things, it is not because he or she does not want to, it is because there are things that can only be done by a client for themselves.
The criminal defense process is complicated and it can often take a long time to complete a client’s case. Sometimes the delays cannot be avoided because of the courts and the processes beyond anyone’s control. However, sometimes the delay is caused strictly by the client/defendant delaying, avoiding, or forgetting to do their part—something that is entirely preventable by a client taking responsibility and committing themselves to being a part of their own defense.