criminal defendant talking to lawyerYour criminal defense lawyer will work hard to help you, but there are things you can also do to help yourself. Legal representation is most effective when you and your attorney work together to protect your future.

Tips for Clients Working With Criminal Defense Attorneys

You and your lawyer share a common goal. You both want to minimize your criminal penalties, including the time you spend in jail and fines you need to pay. Your attorney will thoroughly review all of the evidence and make compelling legal arguments. You can help your lawyer by:

  • Being honest. There may be facts of your case that you aren’t proud of or that you are afraid will hurt your defense. Do not hesitate to share these facts with your lawyer. Your attorney will not judge you, and he needs this information to defend you.
  • Identifying what’s most important to you. If you are considering a plea bargain, you should let your lawyer know what legal consequences are most important for you to avoid.
  • Providing all information to your lawyer. Provide all possible evidence or witness names to your lawyer so that the attorney can review it, include it in your defense as appropriate, and prepare for the prosecution’s arguments.
  • Promptly returning calls and emails. If your attorney tries to get in touch with you, return the call or email as quickly as possible so that there are no avoidable delays in your case.
  • Watching what you say to others. Do not talk to the police, post on social media, talk to any alleged victims, or discuss the case with anyone else. You could say something that hurts your case without even being aware that you said it.
  • Following your lawyer’s advice. Your attorney will help you navigate your criminal defense case so that things go as smoothly as possible.
  • Asking questions of your lawyer. If you are concerned or don’t understand something, please ask your attorney. You should not micromanage the experienced lawyer you hired to represent you, but you should not hesitate to ask questions.
  • Being on your best behavior in court. Your lawyer will let you know where to be, when you need to be there, what to expect, and how to dress. It is critical to follow this advice for all court proceedings.

Together these steps may make a significant difference in your defense.

Contact Our Missouri Criminal Law Attorneys Today

From our Cape Girardeau and Perryville offices, the team at Layton & Southard serves clients throughout Southeast Missouri and Southern Illinois. Please contact us online or call our Cape Girardeau office directly at 573.335.3359 to schedule your initial consultation.

Stephen R. Southard
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