Every lawyer has ethical and professional duties to their clients. It’s important to know what those duties are before you hire a lawyer.
How else will you know what questions to ask? How else are you going to know whether those duties are being met?
Here are the three things you should expect from your defense lawyer. At a minimum.
At a minimum this means the lawyer should answer your calls when you pick up the phone. We ask that you stay reasonable about it, but you shouldn’t be kept in the dark, either.
But the lawyer should be calling you, too. He or she needs to notify you of your options and any deadlines you might be facing. He or she also should call in to clarify points, to discuss what is being done on the case, and more.
If your lawyer isn’t willing to respect your time and talk to you then it’s time to find another lawyer. Fast. Well before the trial starts.
Remember, if you’re not sure your attorney is doing a good job of putting the work in you do have a right to obtain a copy of your file so you can figure out what’s going on.
It doesn’t matter if you’re guilty or if you are innocent.
Did the police violate the Constitution with an illegal search and seizure? The attorney must leap all over that to get the evidence thrown out. You can’t expect your attorney will always be successful, but you should expect your attorney to try.
Did the police engage in some other form of misconduct? Your attorney should be there to address that.
Criminal defense attorneys should care about defending the Constitution just as much as they care about defending their clients. For all that the Constitution is a government document, government officials, including law enforcement, often face many temptations. Sometimes it just seems easier to try to maneuver around it.
Sometimes it may even feel like the right thing to do.
And if someone doesn’t call them on these violations, they’re likely to keep making them.
Ideally, the defense lawyer will launch his or her own investigation. This could mean hiring their own investigator, or it could mean getting on the phone or reaching out to witnesses in person to ask questions.
While many public defenders can’t possibly do this, every private attorney should. If you provide your attorney with a list of potential alibi witnesses, for example, you should expect each and every one of those people to at least get a phone call.
You should be able to ask your attorney, at any time, what he or she has done to investigate your case, and what the results have been.
It takes more than a clever court argument to defeat the state’s case. The attorney must actively build a case of his or her own. There are a few other things which must be done as well.
At Greco Neyland we of course work hard to meet and exceed client expectations when it comes to our duty as defense lawyers. We even try to meet and exceed standards clients often don’t expect.
Call us today to ask how we might handle your case. You’ll be happy to know we’ll give it our all.