If you are currently facing criminal charges in the State of Nebraska the best thing you can do for yourself, your family, and your future is to retain the services of an experience criminal lawyer to represent you throughout the prosecution of your case. A criminal defense attorney will certainly prepare and present a defense on your behalf; however, protecting your rights is often the most important function of a criminal lawyer. This is particularly important if this is the first time you have ever been charged with a criminal offense as you may not even know all of your rights, much less how to exercise them when appropriate. Although there is never a guarantee that a criminal lawyer will be able to prevent a conviction, you certainly have better odds of walking away without a conviction with one on your side. Your attorney, however, cannot help you if you don’t help yourself. Worse still, your attorney cannot properly defend you if you are hiding things or holding back important information. On the other hand, there are some things your defense attorney does not need to know – and may actually prefer not to know. How do you know what to divulge and what to keep to yourself? Although every situation is unique, the try using the following list of “5 Things You Need to Tell Your Criminal Lawyer” as a guide.
- Your criminal history. Amazingly, this is something people frequently keep from their defense attorney. Doing so, however, can only hurt you. Previous convictions can aggravate an instant offense, causing the state to charge you with a more serious crime and/or increasing the severity of your potential punishment. Keeping this information from your own attorney can be particularly detrimental if your attorney is trying to negotiate a plea agreement on your behalf because the terms of the agreement could all depend on your lack of criminal history.
- If there are witnesses. If you committed the offense for which you are charged, or participated in any way, and you are aware of a witness that can place you at the scene of the crime you need to let your attorney know so he/she can prepare accordingly.
- What you told the police. Hopefully, you exercised your right to remain silent when arrested and/or when the police spoke to you. If, however, you did speak to the police it is crucial that you tell your defense attorney everything you told the police. As your Miranda warning says “anything you say can, and will, be used against you.” Your defense attorney needs to know what you told the police in order to get started on damage control.
- Any history you have with the victim. If there is a victim involved in the case and you know the victim, your attorney needs to know how you know him/her, for how long you have known him/her, and the nature of your relationship. You can count on the State knowing everything there is to know about your history with the victim. You do not want your attorney in a situation where the State knows more than he/she knows.
- The existence and location of any evidence against you — maybe. If you are aware of any evidence the State may use against you that can be easily found, your attorney needs to know what that evidence is and where it is located because you can bet the State will find it. For example, if he evidence is at your home, in your vehicle, or on property you own, the police. will likely find it during a search and seizure. This one, however, can get tricky if you are aware of evidence that is very unlikely to be found. In that case, you may want to run a “hypothetical” scenario by your attorney and ask him/her if an attorney should know about evidence described in the scenario.
Failing to tell your attorney things that he/she needs to know can sabotage your own defense. If you are ever in doubt, discuss the situation and options with your Nebraska criminal lawyer.
If you are currently facing charges for a criminal offense in Nebraska, it is certainly in your best interest to consult with an experienced Nebraska criminal lawyer right away. In Nebraska contact Petersen Criminal Defense Law 24 hours a day at 402-509-8070 to discuss your case with an experienced criminal lawyer.