Jail visits from your lawyer – Sometimes when someone is charged with a crime, they can get out on bond while their case goes through the criminal justice process. Other times however the defendant is in pre-trail confinement. This largely depends on their previous record, severity of the crime, and unfortunately, the financial position of the defendant. This is because in North Carolina State Court, like many other jurisdictions, the financial bond system is still in use.
When a defendant is in jail, he must communicate with his lawyer regarding the facts and circumstances of his case through the process of jail visits. How does he relay information, how does his lawyer give him information, and how does he get or view his discovery? These are the questions that we hope to answer. In this blog, we will discuss jail visits from your lawyer. Like all 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.
Jail visits from your lawyer – the process
If someone is in jail, their lawyer will be able to visit them any day of the year, with some rare exceptions. The jail is open 7 days a week and is open on all holidays. Every jail has certain visiting hours where a lawyer can see you, the visiting hours vary from county to county. No advanced appointments are usually necessary, and the attorney can come and see you anytime he or she is free if they bring their photo identification and their bar card.
When you get a jail visit from your lawyer, there is a log or record made of that visit and each visit. There are often time limits to the visit since there are times when jail visits are not available. For example, there may be a break in the middle of the day so that the residents of the jail can be fed lunch. During that time in many counties the jail visit must stop.
Jail visits from your lawyer – the limitations
Communication with your lawyer through a jail visit is not always ideal but sometimes is the only real option that is available. Phone calls can be problematic, but we will talk about that later.
There are several limits to jail visits including but not limited to the following:
- There is limited privacy, sometimes people can hear your conversations and you can hear theirs if you are in a booth near each other.
- You lawyer’s time is in high demand so he may not be able to see you as often as you would like.
- There is limited physical contact so certain demonstrations will not be possible.
- There is a limit to what can be given to the client, so sharing discovery and other things can be tricky.
Jail visits from your lawyer and attorney client privilege
Your communication with your attorney regarding jail visits are protected under attorney client privilege. Your phone calls with your attorney while you are in jail are also covered under attorney client privilege unless it is not because of a third pay. If you call your attorney directly, your conversation is privileged. If you call someone and have them call your attorney on some sort of conference call, you are not protected by attorney client privilege.